WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley today sought federal help for the Ports of Hood River and Cascade Locks, which suffered a combined $228,000 in lost toll revenue from the Eagle Creek wildfire.
“The lost toll revenue for these communities means that many important economic development initiatives will go unmet,” Wyden and Merkley said in their letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
“Given that both port authorities function as economic development engines for the respective rural communities,” the senators wrote, “we urge you to give careful consideration to the Port of Cascade Locks and the Port of Hood River to help them recover these wildfire-related economic losses.”
The Eagle Creek wildfire starting Sept. 2 in the Columbia Gorge forced an extended closure of the Bridge of the Gods owned by the Port of Cascade Locks. That closure, in turn, forced first responders, public safety vehicles and other traffic to detour across the Hood River/White Salmon Interstate Toll Bridge owned by the Port of Hood River. To facilitate the movement of emergency safety vehicles and traffic detoured across the Hood River/White Salmon Interstate Toll Bridge, the Port of Hood River lifted tolls on its bridge.
Toll revenue lost by the Port of Cascade Locks totaled $158,000. Toll revenue lost by the Port of Hood River totaled $70,000.
A copy of the entire letter is here.