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Newport Local Leaders Travel to DC for Big Creek Dam Funding

Last month, representatives from the City of Newport, including Mayor Dean Sawyer, council members, and city administrators traveled to Washington, D.C. to advocate for federal funding to advance the Big Creek Dam Replacement Project. This trip allowed local leaders in Newport to come face-to-face with legislators and ask that the $60 million authorization for the Big Creek Dam replacement project be included in the final negotiated Water Resources Development Act bill.

Replacement costs to the dam were estimated to be at least $80 million before the pandemic, but now costs are rising. The city of Newport has invested $6 million to the project and Rep. Gomberg secured $14 million in lottery bonding from the Oregon Legislature. Combined with the authorization from Congress, these funds could help the Newport community move forward with replacing the failing dam.

After concluding the trip, Mayor Dean Sawyer said, “I was impressed that our congressional delegation had such a depth of knowledge about our dam replacement project in Newport, Oregon. They were very receptive…We appreciate Senators Wyden and Merkley and Congressmen Schrader and Defazio for their work to include our authorization in the final bill.

Rep. Gomberg stated that, “this [trip] was meaningful, well-organized, and critically timed…We met with the committees that are making the decisions…We, and they, are encouraged that there is momentum to bring home much-needed federal funding to replace Newport’s failing dams.”

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