Hunger, Housing & Health: Congressionally Directed Dollars Invest in Oregon’s Future

I have often said  lasting and positive change doesn’t come from the top down, but from the grass roots up. And that path to success hit home once again during my recent visits around the state with the Oregonians I and Senator Merkley teamed up with to secure congressionally directed investments in their projects. I am proud to report our state was second nationwide for projects funded. The range of investments was both broad and deep.

We invested in cutting-edge research in sustainable lumber, getting $449,000 for Oregon State University’s innovative Tall Wood Design Institute. I saw and heard firsthand in Corvallis how this investment will support students and researchers to lead the way on engineering sustainable wood products like cross-laminated timber that have the potential to change the face of the construction industry for generations to come.

We invested in hope and housing. Salem’s Center for Hope & Safety has received $2 million to build HOPE Plaza – a unique project that will provide permanent low-income housing, employment opportunities, and wraparound supportive services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking in Marion and Polk counties. I was able to tour the site for this shovel ready project that will address the severe housing shortage and increase in demand for services, which has been worsened by the COVID pandemic and wildfire crises.

We invested in Community Health Centers, which are critical in rural areas where preventative health care goes a long way toward saving lives. I’m proud to have teamed up with Congresswoman Bonamici and our colleagues in the delegation to deliver more than $2.8 million to support health centers in Newberg, Port Orford, and Brookings. Virginia Garcia in Newberg is writing the prescription for delivering quality health care to Oregonians in Yamhill and Washington counties. I was glad to support Coast Community Health in Port Orford several years ago and look forward to its expansion into Brookings.

And we invested in hunger prevention. Senator Merkley and I delivered $2 million to help CAPECO in Pendleton provide food and services for isolated Oregonians in Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam and Wheeler counties. 

Along with CAPECO, these shining examples are just a small sampling of how innovative Oregonians at the grass roots can drive crucial community-driven projects that pack a punch in all corners of our state.