Oregon Members of Congress Urge Army Corps to Support Dredging and Maintenance for Oregon’s Small Ports
Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, joined by Representatives Peter DeFazio (OR-4), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), and Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), today urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) to support essential dredging and maintenance of Oregon’s small ports in its 2017 work plan.
“Oregon’s ports and harbors are the lifeblood of the coastal communities they serve, enhancing regional and local economic development and supporting local job growth,” they wrote in a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Douglas Lamont. “These ports support the activities of Federal agencies, such as the U.S. Coast Guard, and they are critical to maintaining and creating jobs, as the home to fishing fleets, marinas and recreational facilities. Unfortunately, these federal commercial navigation projects are routinely overlooked and, year-after-year, remain critically underfunded in the Administration’s budget.”
Members of the Oregon delegation have pushed hard to ensure that small ports’ needs are met in funding bills. Congress recently included additional support for small port projects in the new funding bill that passed at the end of April. These funds could ensure the completion of critical work at the ports of Bandon, Depoe Bay, Gold Beach, Reedsport, and Newport if the Army Corps agrees to include those projects in its 2017 work plan.
“Without additional funding for these projects, coastal communities will be unable to conduct the annual maintenance dredging and infrastructure improvements that are necessary to maritime safety and support local economies… In rural counties, where most of Oregon’s ports are located, port activities provide an important employment base and are often primary drivers of local prosperity. The international trade, recreational boating and commercial fishing that takes place at these small ports is not only vital to the economic health of our coastal port communities, but has impacts on our entire state, region, and nation. That is why it is so important that funding for these projects is included in the 2017 work plan,” the Senators and Representatives concluded.
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