Wyden, Merkley Announce Millions in Transportation Infrastructure Projects for Oregon in Appropriations Bill

Washington, D.C.
– U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D- Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D- Ore.) announced today that Senate Appropriations Committee has approved projects to improve transportation infrastructure and business prospects throughout Oregon as well as increase the quality of life for residents throughout the state.

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill includes projects in Portland, Sisters, Coos Bay, Madras, Grants Pass, Umatilla, Medford and Bend. Also included in the bill is $300,000 to make improvements to a human trafficking assistance center in Portland. Wyden has introduced legislation to combat human sex trafficking nationwide.

“For Oregon to lure the best businesses and most innovative companies to the state improving the infrastructure that helps them do business is critical,” Wyden said. “The transportation improvements and the funding to foster more homegrown high-tech businesses will go a long way toward helping Oregon attract innovators who bring jobs to our communities.”

“An up-to-date transportation system is critical to the economic success of Oregon communities.  This funding will address transportation and community challenges in cities around our state,” Merkley said.  “Beyond supporting economic development and creating jobs, a significant portion of this funding will provide housing stability for at-risk adults.  These projects make Oregon a better place to live and help our communities prosper.”

The bill is expected to be considered by the full Senate and upon passage will be reconciled with the version passed by the House of Representatives and sent to the President for his signature.

Projects included in the agriculture Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill include:

US-20 Sisters Downtown Improvements – $1,500,000
Funds will be used to reconstruct and widen sidewalks, improve pedestrian crossings by building curb extensions, and add streetscape features such as decorative lighting and landscaping in order to improve prospects for business development in the community.

Columbia River Crossing – $42,750,000 (For Oregon and Washington state)
Funds will be used for preliminary engineering, design and right of way for the Columbia River Crossing project.  The final project will reduce congestion, promote safety, and increase accessibility for drivers, transit, cyclists, and pedestrians.

U.S. Highway 97 and J Street Intersection Project in Madras – $750,000

Funds will be used to ensure a safe and efficient flow of interstate traffic through the intersection.

Sellwood Bridge (Multnomah County) Replacement Project – $500,000

Funds will be used for the final design of a new bridge across the Willamette River in Southeast Portland.

Community Facilities Acquisition and Renovation – $500,000

Funds will allow the City of Grants Pass to acquire and renovate the historic Grants Pass Supervisor’s Warehouse complex.  The City is working to acquire the facility from the United States Forest Service for adaptive reuse as a Community Center. The renovation will primarily focus on the central building and include new electrical and mechanical systems, extensive energy efficiency upgrades, seismic upgrades, the installation of restrooms, and the installation of a commercial kitchen for catered events.

Coos Bay Waterfront Development Initiative – $500,000

Funds will be used for site prep and plaza construction at the future site of the Coos Bay Regional Center (CBRC).  This plaza will serve as the anchor for the Coos Bay Waterfront Development Initiative and serve as a catalyst for urban waterfront redevelopment and economic recovery in the largest metropolitan area on the Oregon coast.

Umatilla Depot Rail Switches Replacement Project – $400,000
Funds will go toward replacing the rail switches at the rail depot in order to transform the former Depot site into an economically redeveloped site to provide new opportunities for community employment and revenue.

Medford Safe Sidewalks – $300,000
Funds will be used for the construction of sidewalks including necessary improvements such as storm drainage, curb and gutters on both partially improved and unimproved streets within a one-mile radius of elementary schools.

Behavioral Healthcare Housing for Court Diversion of Individuals with Mental Illness – $300,000
Funds will be used to construct a 14 bed Behavioral Healthcare Housing Facility for individuals diverted by the Multnomah County Mental Health Court. The proposed project offers medically-monitored, residential treatment and support that facilitates recovery and reintegration into the community.

Portland Human Trafficking Victim Assistance and Support Center – $300,000
The project will improve shelter services to victims of human trafficking by upgrading an existing facility structure and providing necessary equipment.  The YWCA currently owns a facility (formerly utilized as a homeless shelter) that is available for conversion to this population of need.

Bend Applied Research Center – $200,000
Funds will be used to grow small high-tech businesses by providing facilities, research and expertise, along with links to universities, investors and outside funding in order to create permanent, high wage jobs and promoting entrepreneurship.