The USDA announced Thursday it is investing $8.2 million to improve rural Oregon infrastructure. The Department said these investments will help expand access to clean water and high-speed internet in rural communities across the state. Here is a breakdown of hose the funds will be used:
Pioneer Telephone Cooperative will use a $3 million grant to construct an approximately 40-mile Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) system in rural Lane County, Oregon. This development will serve approximately 125 residents through expanded access to the economic, educational, health care, and public safety opportunities afforded through high-speed internet. In addition, as part of this project, the community will enjoy at least two years of internet access free of charge at a local community center.
Biggs Service District in Sherman County will use a $898,000 loan and $290,000 grant to complete significant water system improvements. This project will allow the service district to install a main water line which will serve all district users and provide the necessary fire flow for community growth. In addition, the service district will purchase two formerly private wells and upgrade them to provide a backup water source.
The City of Dufur in Wasco County is receiving a $2,442,000 loan and $1,625,000 grant to make wastewater system improvements for their community of about 600 people. This project includes multiple components which will expand storage, improve treatment, and make significant upgrades which will not only have a positive impact on water conservation, but also support the city’s planning efforts.
City of Falls City in Polk County will use a $30,000 SEARCH grant to conduct a Preliminary Engineering Report for the city’s wastewater system. The existing system is in need of improvement and the completed report will inform the city engineer on necessary future upgrades.
“When we invest in rural infrastructure, we invest in the livelihoods and health of people in rural America,” said Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is committed to Building a Better America by investing in America’s rural infrastructure, expanding access to broadband, clean drinking water and resilient power infrastructure. The investments we are announcing today will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come.”
“Many Oregon communities enjoy benefits from being remote or small in character,” said Jill Rees, Acting State Director for USDA Rural Development in Oregon. “Rurality often affords privacy and independence. The investments we’re announcing today are supporting and building on those benefits so that our rural neighbors may experience the same safety and connectivity provided through modern water and broadband infrastructure as larger communities do.”
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