Senators Announce Health, Education and Energy Funding for Southern Oregon

Washington, D.C. – Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced today that the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 includes nearly $250 million for Oregon projects including $1.5 million to construct a geothermal power plant and $700, 000 for improvements to 9-1-1 services. These funds are part of the annual funding for Fiscal Year 2009, and will complement the funding provided through the economic recovery legislation last month.

“It is essential that Oregon remain on the cutting edge of renewable energy technology infrastructure and the funds in this bill will do that,” Wyden said. “The Oregon Institute of Technology will be the first campus in the country completely powered by a geothermal energy source, a standard of energy responsibility that could serve as a model for the country.”


“Investing in renewable energy and transportation infrastructure equals job creation for southern Oregon,” Merkley said. “By funding the Oregon Institute of Technology’s plans for a pioneering geothermal plant, upgrading highways and funding critical southern Oregon services, we will create jobs and help power Oregon’s green collar revolution.”


With the approval of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the bill will now be sent to the President for his signature.

Some of the Oregon projects included in the Omnibus Appropriations bill are:

Geothermal Power Generation Plant  $1,522,400- for the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) to construct a geothermal power plant on its campus that, once completed, will make OIT the only campus in the world to satisfy all of its energy needs from a geothermal energy source.

Jackson County Consolidated 911 Dispatch Center- $700,000 to the City of Medford for Jackson County’s 9-1-1 Dispatch Center. Funds will be used to consolidate two existing centers to improve public safety and reduce costs.

Southern Oregon University/Rogue Community College Higher Education Center – $285,000 to provide the technical infrastructure for student record systems, smart classrooms for course distance delivery, and create a business and community forum resource for testing and research in Medford.

Disease Reduction in Klamath River Salmon- $840,000 to research management actions to reduce disease (ceratomyxosis) in natural juvenile salmon of the Klamath River.  The Ceratomyxa shasta parasite has, in large part, been responsible for the declining numbers of juvenile Klamath River fall Chinook and Coho salmon and subsequent impacts on later adult returns.

US-199 Safety Improvements- $475,000 to build a passing lane for northbound traffic to Grants Pass.  The passing lane will be approximately one mile long and located several miles southwest of Grants Pass. 

Highway 140 Freight Improvements- $95,000 to create an extension of Highway 140 along existing roads to provide an improved freight route for trucks and other vehicles traveling between Highway 62 near White City and Interstate 5.  Funds will be spent for preliminary engineering and purchase of right of way.

Terminal Air Traffic Facilities- $60,000 for Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport Terminal facilities.

Savage Rapids Dam- $3,000,000 for the Bureau of Reclamation to continue installation of electric pumps to assist with the removal of the Savage Rapids Dam on the Rogue River.

For more information on appropriation projects in the Omnibus bill please visit