Wyden, Merkley Secure Funding for Eastern Oregon

Washington, D.C. – Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced today that the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 includes nearly $250 million for Oregon projects including more than $460,000 for improvements to the Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Facilities, $380,000 for renewable energy studies and funding for a telemedicine project. These funds are part of the annual funding for Fiscal Year 2009, and will complement the funding provided through the economic recovery legislation last month.

“Modern healthcare and high-end education programs are the building blocks of a prosperous future,” Wyden said. “This bill will bring funding for these crucial projects to eastern Oregon, improving education and access to quality healthcare while investing in our infrastructure and renewable energy.”

“This bill lays the foundation for economic growth in eastern Oregon,” Merkley said. “We’re upgrading infrastructure, investing in renewable energy and ensuring that rural Oregonians have access to quality schools and first rate medical care.”

With the approval of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the bill will now be sent to the President for his signature.

Some of the projects for eastern Oregon included in the Omnibus Appropriations Act are:

·         Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Facilities Improvements- $463,125 for the reconstruction and construction needs of both facilities.

·         Milton-Freewater Storm Water Treatment System- $300,000 to construct a holding pond facility on a six-acre site to provide silt settlement.  After partial treatment, the captured waters would then be pumped at controlled volumes to existing irrigation systems providing beneficial agricultural uses.  The project will reduce the impact on the shallow wells in the area, improving wells for agriculture, and providing safe drinking water to valley citizens who have been affected by storm water for over a century.

·         Eastern Oregon Telemedicine Project- $95,000 to create, as part of the Blue Mountain Diagnostic Imaging, Inc. project, a tele-radiology system to serve eight rural Eastern Oregon communities in Umatilla, Grant, Morrow, Gilliam, and Wheeler counties to allow residents to access specialized diagnostic services without having to travel hundreds of miles.

·         Curriculum Development, Purchase Equipment Blue Mountain Community College- $285,000 for the development of curriculum for college classes in the greater Hermiston area.

·         Powder Basin Water & Stream Health Project- $145,000 for the Powder Basin Water & Stream Health Committee to produce a long-term water management plan to enhance water quality and quantity in the Powder Basin.

·         I-84 Three Mile Hill Truck Climbing Lane- $475,000- to add a truck climbing lane on eastbound I-84 in the Three Mile Hill area.  By providing a separate lane for trucks to climb the steep grade, the project will improve vehicle safety and mobility by reducing conflicts between cars and trucks.

·         Christmas Valley Renewable Energy Development- $380,600 to investigate the possibility of using the site of the Air Combat Command Radar Transmitter in Christmas Valley, which has massive electrical transmission 115 kV lines and support infrastructure, to develop significant solar, wind, and possibly geothermal-generated power.

For more information on appropriation projects in the Omnibus bill please visit www.wyden.senate.gov.