Wyden, Merkley Announce Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Headed to Oregon

Washington, D.C. –
U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced a total of
$346,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
headed to three Oregon communities to upgrade facilities so they can
better serve families and increase access to essential medical services.

“No matter your
zip code, every Oregonian should have easy access to the care they need,” Wyden
said. “This money will go a
long way in addressing hunger, keeping mental health care available and making
visits to the pharmacy easier in rural communities across our state.”

“It is essential for
Oregonians in every corner of the state to have access to the resources they
need to be safe and healthy,” said Merkley. “This crucial funding will better equip Clatsop, Lane, and Union Counties
with the tools needed to address hunger and improve health in the community, by
updating existing food distribution facilities, making treatment facility
improvements, and ensuring easy and reliable access to pharmacies for our rural

The projects include:

Clatsop Community Action, Clatsop County — $237,900

This Rural Development investment will be used to purchase
two new food distribution trucks, a new refrigerator and walk-in freezer, and
remodel the existing dry storage area. Clatsop Community Action’s food
distribution facility is located in Warrenton, a small community in Clatsop
County, Oregon and they are organized to operate throughout the county. The
existing facility was built in 2010 and is in good condition, however,
increased demand for services resulting from the impacts of the pandemic have
made it necessary to increase both dry and cold food storage capacity. The
project will ensure that this rural area will have the storage equipment
required to enhance its food distribution capabilities to benefit county residents
for years to come.

South Lane Mental Health, Lane County — $58,200

This Rural Development investment will be used to purchase a
covered gazebo, picnic tables and chairs to facilitate outdoor COVID safe
therapy sessions, HEPA air purifiers for offices to further protect clients and
clinicians and a new key fob system to increase security and the ability to
screen visitors for COVID. South Lane Mental Health has several care facilities
in the community of Cottage Grove. These facilities do not currently have an
air filtration system or outdoor meeting areas. These improvements are needed
to reduce the impact and spread of COVID by allowing for safer meeting spaces,
healthier air quality in offices and the ability to more safely screen for
symptoms upon entry into the facilities. Overall, this project will ensure that
this rural area will have the needed funds to purchase equipment and enhance
its capabilities to respond to COVID for the residents of Cottage Grove and the
surrounding area for years to come.

Elgin Health District, Union County — $49,900

This Rural Development investment will be used to help
purchase equipment to start a tele pharmacy and enhance capabilities to respond
to COVID-19. The residents of Elgin have been without a pharmacy for 15 years
and must drive into La Grande, 20 miles away to get their prescriptions. The
Elgin Health District built the clinic in 2008 and currently offers medical,
dental and limited behavioral health services in rural Elgin, but it has no
pharmacy. The health care clinic will purchase and install tele pharmacy
equipment at the clinic location and at Grande Ronde Hospital in La Grande.
This project will ensure that this rural area will have the needed funds to
purchase tele pharmacy equipment and enhance its capabilities to provide
enhanced medical services to the residents of Elgin and the surrounding area
for years to come.

“Due to the
pandemic, the need for food in Clatsop County has increased drastically, just
as everywhere else. Thanks to the funding we have received from USDA RD, CCA
will be able to have on hand more food for distribution in our community. We
are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped CCA to acquire this funding. It
is so needed and will be well used to reach those in need. Our organization and
our community greatly appreciates the assistance,” said Clatsop
Community Action Executive Director Viviana Matthews.