Column: Critical funding for local projects | Opinion

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American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds are now available for projects that I have championed and that have been approved for House District 31. These infrastructure projects will benefit our communities for years to come. As a representative of your state, I am honored to work with our local leaders to bring funding back to our district.

My working together with Senator Betsy Johnson on the ARPA projects has paid huge dividends for HD 31. By splitting the projects, we have been able to more than triple the amount of investment for our communities. I am pleased that the funding is going towards much needed infrastructure improvements for the water supply and wastewater treatment facilities in the Town of Scapoose. In the town of Vernonia, there will be improvements to the transportation network to connect a new developing section of the community to schools and other community assets.

In addition, as part of the Ways and Means process, $ 20 million in ARPA funding specifically earmarked for critical drinking water, storm water and sanitary sewer projects were awarded to HD 31 municipalities. These awards include $ 10 million for wastewater treatment in the city of Clatskanie and an additional $ 10 million for water supply infrastructure in the city of Scapoose.

The Town of Rainier will obtain the technical assistance it needs for the Fox Creek Culvert. The Fox Creek Ponceau project involves many stakeholders, including private and public landowners, and improvements are needed to address persistent issues related to flood risk mitigation and fish passage. City officials will work with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to find solutions to the myriad of problems with the Fox Creek Culvert.

Important public health and safety projects will benefit residents and visitors of Île Sauvie through improvements to the Île Sauvie Fire District. I was able to direct the ARPA grants to provide the necessary funding for the acquisition and improvement of facilities and equipment. There is money for a new primary fire truck, the construction of a new satellite fire station in the northern part of the island, and an airboat, trailer and van to intervene in water rescues.

In the community of Linnton, community access to the shoreline will be expanded, with the construction of a new ADA trail to provide more local outdoor recreation opportunities. This project extends the newly completed footpath to a river viewpoint and builds a path to the sandy beach at the water’s edge. ARPA funding is also intended for earthquake-resistant renovations to the Linnton Neighborhood Association Community Center.

The Linnton Community Center serves as a central gathering place and includes space for preschool and after-school child care, a gymnasium, food bank, and community meeting space. It has been a community asset for nearly a century, and by making it earthquake resistant, this community treasure can serve local residents into the next century.

The Skyline Grange will also benefit from a much needed renovation, which includes an ADA approved and accessible washroom. There will also be an additional entry / exit which will be necessary to carry out possible emergency evacuations in the building. This critical infrastructure funding will be used to transform Skyline Grange to achieve the goal of being more accessible, safe and welcoming for all.

Currently, I am working with the community leaders of these organizations to work on the application process, so that we can get the funding and the realization of these projects as soon as possible. The benefits of these many interesting projects will be felt and appreciated for many years to come.

Even when I’m not in Salem, I still work with constituents, community leaders and other elected officials on issues that impact our lives. We check our posts daily, so if you have a concern, comment, or need help with a state or agency issue, please contact my office. I am honored to represent you in the Oregon House of Representatives and look forward to hearing from you.

Representative Brad Witt serves the 31 house district. He can be reached at:


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