Business Oregon: Timber, levees and affordable housing top delegation priorities

Timber, levees and affordable housing top Oregon delegation priorities

By Katy Sword, published on March 9, 2017

Sen. Wyden is leading the call for a full investigation on Trump’s Russia ties. But Oregon’s senior senator and the rest of delegation aren’t neglecting their home state. 

Here’s a short overview of key bills co-sponsored by the Oregon delegation. 

Levee system

Oregon’s congressional leaders are urging support of a feasibility study work plan for the Portland Metropolitan Flood Protection Project in the form of a letter sent March 6 to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Doug Lamont, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. The project concerns five levee districts spanning 27-miles along the Columbia River. These levees are the first line of defense in case of a flood.

The letter – signed by Wyden, Sen. Merkley, Rep. Blumenauer, Rep. Bonamici, Rep. DeFazio and Rep. Schrader — says the leaders recognize the timing of the work plan is unknown and entirely dependent on further congressional action.

“However, this is a critical project for our region and any final FY17 work plan would be incomplete without including this project as one of the limited number of new start feasibility studies,” the letter says. “This study will assess the appropriate level of flood risk reduction for the Portland metropolitan levee system as a whole, an area that suffered staggering losses when the levees breached in 1948, resulting in at least 15 deaths and permanently displacing the entire Vanport community.”

The Oregon delegation continued to suggest social and economic changes near the levee demand federal investigation.

“The Corps itself has concluded, ‘The changes in land use this area has experienced, coupled with evolving knowledge about levee performance, have caused a substantial increase in the system’s risk profile and potential consequences from a major flood event. Therefore, this requires a federal investment to reduce risk and ensure a consistent level of protection across the entire system.’ We could not agree more,” the letter continues.

Read the remainder of the Oregon Business Magazine article here.

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