September 19, 2017 12:30 PM, EDT

Oregon Receives $1 Million Emergency Grant

Funds to Be Used for Rebuilding After Wildfires, Rep Peter. DeFazio Says
Peter DeFazioBloomberg News

To assist Oregon with repairing roadways, freight corridors, and infrastructure damaged by wildfires, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the state $1 million, Rep. Peter DeFazio announced recently.

“These funds come at a critical time,” DeFazio said, in a statement Sept. 16. “Wildfires have decimated over 600,000 acres of land in Oregon, including roads and highways, impeding commerce and Oregonians’ ability to move around the state. This federal assistance will help Oregon Department of Transportation begin to repair the damage.”

The grant is part of a federal emergency relief program.

The eastbound portion of Interstate 84 was closed between Troutdale and Hood River, with no date set for its reopening, according to the state’s department of transportation. Crews are removing rock and trees that threaten roadways. Also, a 12-mile stretch of Historic Columbia River Highway is closed between Larch Mountain Road and Ainsworth State Park.

Roadways found to be in poor condition cost Oregon drivers nearly $300 annually, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Statewide, about 6% of bridges require significant repairs, while 77 dams have a high hazard potential, the engineers determined.

“Deteriorating infrastructure impedes Oregon’s ability to compete in an increasingly global marketplace,” ASCE noted in a recent report.