Wyden, Merkley: More than $1.1 Million to Oregon for Emergency Preparedness with Pipelines

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that Oregon will receive a combined more than $1.1 million in Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) funds for crucial emergency preparedness.

“The past few years of raging wildfires, floods, hail storms, power outages and ice have only reinforced the need to prepare our communities for emergencies like a pipeline incident threatening Oregonians and our homes, neighborhoods and small businesses,” Wyden said. “I’m all in to ensure all Oregon communities are better protected and have all the resources they need for recovery from a disaster that could strike at any moment.”

“Disasters can strike at any time, and sometimes there’s not a lot we can do to about them.  But when there is, we need to take the opportunity to protect Oregon communities, homes, and businesses, like by investing in ways to prevent and prepare for pipeline issues,” Merkley said. “This funding will provide critical support to enhance GIS mapping and training, as well as educating the public to help keep everyone safe.” 

These PHMSA funds will be allocated as follows:

  • $99,468 to the City of Irrigon to develop ways to reduce risk of pipeline emergency incidents and the impact of a possible pipeline failure, and advance safety, public health, and environmental sustainability. 
  • $42,640 to the City of Umatilla to help identify and evaluate the safety risks; develop and enforce standards for design, construction, operations, and maintenance near hazardous pipelines.
  • $669,273 to the Oregon Public Utilities Commission to reimburse the State for pipeline safety programs.
  •  $345,858 to the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal to design and implement emergency preparedness planning and training programs.

“Recent emergency events of flooding in 2019 and wildfires in 2020 and 2021 presented real-life experience and an opportunity to review our critical infrastructure and delivery of those services in relation to hazardous pipelines and other safety risks within the City of Umatilla,” said Dave Stockdale, Umatilla City Manager. This Technical Assistance Grant will play a major role in increasing the safety of our residents as we update and create new GIS maps, better training for staff, and an increase of public outreach which includes better publicized emergency and evacuation zones and routes.  We enthusiastically offer our appreciation to Senators Wyden and Merkley for their work to help bring these vital funds to the City of Umatilla.”