Portland, OR –Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Congressman David Wu announced that the Vernonia School District will receive $11.2 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The new grant comes in addition to the $150,000 in funding that the school district received through Congressional appropriations in fiscal year 2010.
According to FEMA, the agency will acquire the existing Vernonia K-12 school buildings through its Flood Mitigation Assistance program. The $11.2 million in proceeds from the acquisition will go towards the construction of a new school campus outside the floodplain. Groundbreaking for the project took place last month.
“This grant will do more than just construct a school, it’ll help rebuild a community and create jobs,” Merkley said. “I’m thrilled these unspent disaster funds have found the right home. Congratulations to the community. Not even a 500-year flood can wash away Vernonia’s bright future.”
“This announcement means that the federal government and FEMA are doing the right thing for the families of Vernonia who have worked tirelessly to put their lives and their community back together,” Wyden said. “The schools in Vernonia have always been the heart and soul of the community and this money means that it will stay that way into the future.”
“Money can’t build the spirit of community that the citizens of Vernonia have shown since the flooding,” said Wu, “but $11.2 million can certainly build a top-notch school, create some jobs, and foster new hope for a better future. This is a proud day for a much-deserving community.”
In 2007, devastating flooding washed through Vernonia, completely destroying sections of the Vernonia School District. The district received $150,000 in Congressional appropriations funding in fiscal year 2010 after Senators Merkley and Senator Ron Wyden requested funds to replace equipment damaged by the flood.