Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today welcomed federal investments totaling more than $60 million for rural economic infrastructure in eastern Oregon.
The Umatilla Electric Co-op Association will receive a $48.8 million loan and the Harney Electric Co-op will receive a $11.7 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Modern electric infrastructure that’s reliable is a must for residents and businesses to create jobs and ensure a good quality of life for rural Oregonians,” Wyden said. “I am gratified that two key Eastern Oregon cooperatives have earned these federal loans and can now contribute even more to those essential objectives.”
“This is a smart investment in our infrastructure and our future,” said Merkley, who is the top Democrat on the Senate subcommittee that funds the Department of Agriculture. “Ensuring rural cooperatives have the resources necessary to maintain modern and reliable electric infrastructure provides economic opportunity that rural communities across Oregon need to thrive.”
The Umatilla Electric Co-op Association loan will go toward building 25 miles of line, improving another 41 miles of line and other improvements including smart grid projects. The Harney Electric Co-op loan will go toward building 53 miles of line and other improvements.