DeFazio Gets Approval for North Bend Economic Development Project
July 29, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) today announced the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 2863, legislation that will bring important economic development to North Bend, Oregon. The measure, which was introduced by DeFazio on June 26, 2007, passed the House by unanimous consent.
"I am very pleased that I could help North Bend obtain the clearance it needed to turn an industrial eyesore into a productive economic engine for the community," Rep. DeFazio explained. "This is a win-win for everyone involved."
At issue is the Nonintercourse Act, an antiquated law signed into law by President George Washington in 1790. Well-meaning at the time, the Nonintercourse Act was designed to prevent settlers from taking advantage of tribes in land speculation deals. However, it prevents the Coquille Tribe, which owns the land in North Bend, from leasing land that they purchased (not tribal reservation land) to other parties.
The Coquille Tribe has proposed to develop a 55-acre former Weyerhaeuser mill site in North Bend, with the Home Depot as the anchor tenant for a new waterfront development. In addition to the Home Depot, the project will include mixed-size retail shops, a public gathering area and boardwalk. North Bend is an economically-depressed, former timber-dependent community, and due to its unique geography, has limited options for economic development other than the waterfront area. The project has overwhelming local support.
"The total projected investment for this waterfront revitalization project will exceed $50 million and will bring much-needed jobs and economic development to the south coast," Congressman DeFazio noted. "All that stands in the way of this infusion of revenue is the Nonintercourse Act. I am pleased that the House took prompt action on this measure."
The Senate must now take up the measure.