Rep. DeFazio Announces Increase in Critical Funding for Oregon’s Small Ports
Today, Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-4) announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) will allocate nearly $15 million this year towards operations and maintenance projects at small ports along Oregon’s south coast.
“Our ports along the Oregon coast are the lifeblood of coastal communities, and our coastal infrastructure supports communities all throughout the state,” said Rep. DeFazio. “These critical investments will boost safety for our recreational and commercial fishing fleet, as well as create and sustain thousands of jobs tied to cargo, recreation, industrial, commercial and other activity at Oregon’s ports. I applaud the Corps for including this essential funding in their Work Plan.”
In April, DeFazio spearheaded a letter sent to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James urging the Administration to fund critical navigation needs of Oregon’s small coastal ports, above the President’s budget request to Congress. The President’s budget request included only $9.4 million for ports on Oregon’s south coast. An additional $5.6 million was included in the Corps’ Fiscal Year 2018 Work Plan. In total, the Work Plan designated nearly $15 million for the Ports of Coos Bay, Bandon, Brookings Harbor, Gold Beach, Port Orford, Siuslaw, and Umpqua.
The Corps operations and maintenance projects, which include dredging, are critical to local economies and the fishing industry. These ports also support the activities of federal agencies, such as the U.S. Coast Guard. Ports require routine dredging to ensure they are safe and operational, but many have been severely underfunded.
A 2014 State of Oregon study shows that our coastal ports support 15,759 direct/indirect jobs and $904 million to the state gross domestic product. In addition, NOAA’s 2015 Fisheries of the U.S. report ranked the State of Oregon seventh in the nation for 2015 domestic fish landings, with 195 million pounds valued at $115.7 million.
A copy of the letter is included below.
April 10, 2018
The Honorable R.D. James
Assistant Secretary of the Army – Civil Works
Department of the Army
108 Army Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20310-0108
Dear Assistant Secretary James:
We are writing to request that, as you develop the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) work plan for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Civil Works program, you include critical operation and maintenance funding for Corps projects in the State of Oregon. Funding for these projects is absolutely necessary to ensure public safety and to support economic development activities in our State.
On March 23, 2018, the President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141) into law. This bill provides considerable funding for the Corps, including additional funding to carry out projects that did not receive sufficient funding in the President’s budget request, or were not funded at all. Numerous Corps projects in Oregon fit these criteria, and have additional capability, including:
- Chetco River (Port of Brookings Harbor);
- Coos Bay (Port of Coos Bay), which includes the need for critical funding to continue work on the North Jetty;
- Coquille River (Port of Bandon);
- Depoe Bay;
- Port Orford;
- Rogue River (Port of Gold Beach);
- Siuslaw River (Port of Siuslaw);
- Tillamook Bay and Bar (Port of Garibaldi);
- Umpqua River (Port of Umpqua); and
- Yaquina Bay and Harbor (Port of Newport).
Nearly all of Oregon’s ports are located in rural counties, where port activities provide an important employment base and are often primary drivers of local prosperity. These small ports are hubs for international trade, recreation, and commercial fishing. Funding is not only important for economic development, but maintaining our jetties and dredging our navigation channels also contributes to public safety. The build-up of sediment and deterioration of jetties along the Oregon Coast creates a very dangerous situation for commercial ships, commercial and sport fisherman, and recreational boaters. Lack of funding for these projects not only puts mariners in harm’s way, it impedes the U.S. Coast Guard’s ability to carry out search and rescue missions.
It is critically important that funding is provided in the FY18 work plan to maintain Corps projects in Oregon. We appreciate your consideration of this request.
PETER DeFAZIO RON WYDEN
Member of Congress United States Senator
JEFF MERKLEY EARL BLUMENAUER
United States Senator Member of Congress
KURT SCHRADER SUZANNE BONAMICI
Member of Congress Member of Congress