Wyden, Merkley: More than $8.2 Million to Oregon for Rural Development Projects

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that Oregon will receive more than $8.2 million in grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development program.

These investments lay critical foundations in our rural communities so Oregonians can continue to live, work, and raise families in all corners of our state,” Wyden said. “Broadband and municipal water infrastructure are non-negotiables for quality of life, and I will continue to fight to ensure every Oregon family can benefit from infrastructure, regardless of zip code.”

“The grants and loans allocated to Oregon will help support both broadband and water infrastructure – two critical needs that I’ve heard about time and time again from Oregon’s rural communities,” said Merkley, a member of the subcommittee that funds USDA. “These funds from USDA will help ensure families in rural Oregon have equal access to high-quality broadband and clean, safe water, boosting equity and opportunity for all Oregonians.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)  is investing $5.2 billion to build and improve critical rural infrastructure in 46 states and Puerto Rico. The investments reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to Building a Better America by investing in rural communities and will help expand access to high-speed internet, clean water and reliable electricity in people’s homes and businesses across rural America. Oregon’s share of these investments is as follows:

·       $3 million for 40 miles of broadband expansion to benefit 670 residents in rural Lane County, including a community center with free internet access.

·       $1.2 million for municipal water system in Biggs Junction, including a pump station to provide well controls and water treatment, and a 400,000-gallon reservoir.

·       $4 million for a wastewater treatment system in the city of Dufur.

·       $30,000 for a Preliminary Engineering Report to evaluate repairs needed to the aging wastewater system in Falls City.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, schools, public safety, health care, and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. 

“It is great to get this project moving forward.  USDA investments in this project help make it happen,” Sherman County Judge Joe Dabulskis said. “Clean water in Biggs Junction will not only affect the lives of the locals but the 1000’s of travelers that stop there every day.”

“We’re thrilled to be expanding our Fiber-to-the-Home network with the help of this grant, and it’s an exciting time for rural communities,” said Jim Rennard, General Manager of Pioneer Connect. “The Cooperative has applied for additional funding in the Triangle Lake/Deadwood/Horton/Blachly area to provide even more expansion of our fiber network to ensure areas outside of this project will also have 1 GIG speeds.”

“This Fiber-to-the-Home announcement is a game-changer for our community,” said Adam Watkins, Blachly School District Superintendent. “We’re excited to be partnering with the team at Pioneer to enhance broadband speeds to our community and families. Not only will this project change the way our community stays connected, but it will also shape our growth as a district for years to come.”

A web version of this release is here.