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OR Coast Could Get Boost After 'Missed Opportunity' in 2008

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020   

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Congress could fund restoration projects on the Oregon coast - and focus on rural communities that were left behind in the wake of the 2008 recession.

Mark Trenholm, coast program director with the Wild Salmon Center, said the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2008 included funding for coastal restoration, but only three projects in Oregon were chosen - and they were mostly near urban areas. He said it was a missed opportunity.

"The Oregon coast got hit particularly hard, and stimulus funds really didn't hit the coast," Trernholm said. "So we'd like to make sure, as much as possible, we can get those federal funds directed to these small rural communities."

The House has passed an infrastructure bill called the Moving Forward Act that includes a $3 billion grant program for coastal restoration projects. Trenholm said the Wild Salmon Center has identified about 50 potential projects that could use these funds.

He said coastal-restoration projects also would boost the economy for communities that are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There is recognition that restoration jobs put food on the table, and restoration jobs support communities," Trenholm said.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study found every $1 million spent on coastal restoration projects generates 15-30 jobs.

Trenholm said restoring habitats for fish also has a greater value for people on the coast.

"Certainly the fishing community is an integral part of the Oregon coast and is really in the DNA of the Oregon coast," he said.



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