WASHINGTON — Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, announced Tuesday, Feb. 11, he has secured an additional $11.7 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for projects in Oregon’s Fourth Congressional District as part of the Fiscal Year 2020 work plan for the Corps’ Civil Works program.
“Our ports and harbors along the Oregon coast are critical lifelines for coastal communities, and support jobs throughout the state,” said Rep. DeFazio. “I am grateful the Corps listened to our requests and increased funding for dredging and maintenance at Oregon ports. The fact is, we still need more funding for jetty work in Coos Bay, but the funding being provided is a step in the right direction and I will continue pushing to ensure the needs of coastal communities in my district are met.”
The new resources announced Wednesday will allow the Corps to conduct routine and necessary maintenance dredging at five ports in southwestern Oregon. Dredging keeps open the ports of call that serve Oregon fishing and ocean tourism industries that contribute hundreds of millions of dollars annually to the state’s economy. The Oregon Employment Department reports that commercial fishing directly employs nearly 500 people in Lane, Coos and Curry counties.
On Dec. 23, 2019, DeFazio, along with Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley, sent a letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works urging an increase in funding for Oregon ports.
“Oregon’s ports are the lynchpin for economic activity in many of the state’s rural areas. These ports are hubs for international trade, recreations, and commercial fishing, and contribute to the local, regional, and national economies,” the members wrote.
"Our harbors along the Oregon coast can be particularly challenging due to unpredictable weather, the increasing intensity of storms, and especially dangerous wave conditions at our entrance channels," the letter continued. "Maintenance dredging and jetty repairs are needed to ensure our ports can serve their most critical purposes as economic engines for coastal communities and harbors of refuge for mariners of both commercial and recreational vessels.
"Maintenance of our navigational channels also plays a critical role in ensuring our U.S. Coast Guard partners can provide life-saving search and rescue activities from these ports."
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Additional funding was awarded to the following projects:
Chetco River (Port of Brookings-Harbor): $274,000. Funds will be used for dredging activities.
Coos Bay (Port of Coos Bay, including River Mile 12-15 and North Jetty): $8,000,000. Funds will be used for dredging activities.
Coquille River (Port of Bandon): $706,000. Funds will be used for dredging activities.
Rogue River (Port of Gold Beach): $247,000. Funds will be used for dredging activities.
Siuslaw River (Port of Siuslaw): $2,449,000. Funds will be used for dredging and environmental activities.