PORT ORFORD — U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio announced this week in a press release that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will allocate up to $6.5 million in funding to assist in repairs of the Port of Port Orford’s damaged breakwater system.
After learning that the breakwater system was not scheduled to receive funds for its repair in February, DeFazio wrote the agency a letter asking the Corps to reconsider and budget for the much needed maintenance work at the port.
In the letter, DeFazio cited the vital role that the port plays for the city’s economic well-being. He recalled a 2014 study from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which showed that the city of Port Orford landed a little over 1.36 million pounds of commercial fish and shellfish which was valued at $3.4 million.
On June 7, the Corps released its Fiscal Year 2018 Work Plan to Congress outlining the costs of various projects the agency plans on funding for the year. In that outline, no funds were allocated to Port Orford; however, on July 5 the Corps announced funds collected through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, disaster assistance, would be used to help additional projects in need including Port Orford’s breakwater system.
“This is excellent news for Port Orford,” said DeFazio in a press release. “This community relies on the port as its economic engine, and fixing the breakwater is essential to its success.”
The Army Civil Works budget addresses the planning, construction, design, operation and maintenance of numerous water resource projects around the country.
DeFazio outlined the history of the port in his letter to the Corps and included the damaged created in 2014 from a major winter storm that hit the area with large waves up to 40 feet high and 100 mile per hour winds.
“For too long Port Orford has been overlooked by the Corps,” said DeFazio. “Due to years of storms, the breakwater system is in need of serious repair, and without annual dredging continued shoaling creates an extremely dangerous situation. I applaud the Army Corps for including this essential funding in its Work Plan.”
BRUSSELS — Under fire for his warm embrace of Russia's Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump jolted the NATO summit Wednesday by turning a spotlight on Germany's ties to Russia and openly questioning the value of the military alliance that has defined American foreign policy for decades.
Trump declared that a joint natural gas pipeline venture with Moscow has left Angela Merkel's government "totally controlled" and "captive to Russia." So, in a stroke, he shifted attention away from his own ties to the Kremlin just days before he meets one-on-one with Putin.
With scorching language, the president questioned the necessity of the alliance that formed a bulwark against Soviet aggression, tweeting after a day of contentious meetings: "What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?"
German Chancellor Merkel hit back immediately, not only denying Trump's contention but suggesting that his comfortable upbringing in the U.S. gave him no standing to spout off on the world stage about Germany.
Drawing on her own background growing up in communist East Germany behind the Iron Curtain, she said:
"I've experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union, and I'm very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions and that's very good."
Trump demanded by public tweet that members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization "must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025" for their military efforts. He then rattled U.S. allies further by privately suggesting member nations should spend 4 percent of their gross domestic product on the military — more than even the United States currently pays, according to NATO statistics.
It was just the latest in Trump's demands and insults that critics fear will undermine a decades-old alliance launched to counter-balance Soviet aggression after World War II. And it came just days before Trump planned to sit down with Putin in Finland at the conclusion of what has become a contentious European trip.
Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to increase military spending, accusing Europe of freeloading off the U.S. and even raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense as required if they were ever attacked.
Trump's tongue-lashing accelerated during a pre-summit breakfast, when he traded his usual long-distance Twitter attacks for a face-to-face confrontation with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
"We're supposed to protect you against Russia but they're paying billions of dollars to Russia and I think that's very inappropriate," Trump said, repeatedly describing Germany as "captive to Russia" because of the energy deal. He urged NATO to look into the issue.
Trump's harsh words for Merkel, whose country has hosted tens of thousands of U.S. troops that have been key to post-WWII stability in Europe for seven decades, struck at the core of the alliance. West Germany joined NATO in 1955 and was a critical factor in the alliance's success in facing down the Soviet Union until its collapse. Reunified with the East, Germany became the largest European economy in NATO in 1990.
The president's beef was with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russia to Germany's northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russia can send directly to Germany. The vast undersea pipeline is opposed by the U.S. and some other EU members, who warn it could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe. It's expected to be online at the end of 2019.
Environmental-conscious Germany is trying to reduce its reliance on coal and is phasing out nuclear power by 2022, so it hopes to use natural gas to partially fill the gap until the country's electricity grid can cope with fluctuating levels provided by renewable energy.
Hours after the breakfast, Merkel and Trump appeared to play nice as they met along the summit's sidelines. Trump told reporters the two had a "very, very good relationship" and congratulated Merkel on her "tremendous success."
Trump also lobbed fresh complaints about allies' "delinquent" defense spending and suggested at one point that NATO allies commit to spending 4 percent of their GDP on defense — twice the goal they've set for 2024.
"I have great confidence they'll be spending more," he said.
However, a formal summit declaration issued by the NATO leaders Wednesday reaffirmed their "unwavering commitment" to the 2 percent pledge set in 2014 and made no reference to any effort to go higher.
Meanwhile, NATO has invited Macedonia to start membership talks, a step toward adding its 30th member despite Russia's objection and a show of unity at a time of growing discord between the Trump administration and Europe.
Macedonia was given a pathway to membership on condition that it finally iron out its years-long standoff over its name with Greece, which took a big step forward with their deal last month that could rename the country North Macedonia.
Macedonian voters and the Greek parliament still must sign off on that deal, which could also dissipate any Greek objections to the Skopje government's ambition to join the European Union.
SOUTH COAST – A heat wave is passing through Oregon.
Coos County Emergency Manager Mike Murphy issued a National Weather Service alert earlier this week, advising people to stay hydrated and out of the sun.
“This is for inland areas,” Murphy said. “So people who live in inland valleys and people traveling to those areas need to know that it’s going to be hotter than normal.”
In fact, the alert stated that temperatures over the weekend are expected to be 10 to 15 degrees above normal.
According to temperature maps provided by the National Weather Service, the heat wave will possibly reach previous record temperatures. Right now the record is 107 degrees, but Murphy said that number is not expected to be broken.
The heat wave begins Thursday and lasts through next Tuesday. The hottest day is Thursday where Elkton is anticipated to reach 92 degrees and Roseburg a high 98 degrees. Medford may even reach 105 degrees.
On the coast, temperatures will stay between 65 and 80 degrees.
“It’s important that people in those areas or traveling to those areas have plenty of water because if you don’t stay hydrated you will get in trouble real fast with this high heat,” Murphy said. “If you can stay in an air conditioned space, you’re better off. If you’re sensitive to heat, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen if you have to be out.”
The National Weather Service alert stated that the Lower Klamath River Valley may see the highest temps at a possible 110 degrees and that the “near-record high temperatures Thursday through this weekend could cause heat illnesses if overexerting.” The alert advised the public to stay out of the sun, especially in the afternoon.
However, the alert added that “monsoonal moisture from the southwest U.S. may move toward our region later in the week with thunderstorms” starting Friday afternoon.
“If people go inland, be careful,” Murphy said. “Keep your car topped off in case something happens because you don’t want to get caught in the heat.”