WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Peter DeFazio and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) urging them to find funds to dredge the Port of Port Orford before it becomes unusable and threatens the local economy. DeFazio, Wyden, and Merkley asked the USACE to add funds to dredge the Port of Port Orford to another shallow water dredging contract on the nearby Chetco River. This would save the USACE $400,000 in the long-term and preserve this vital resource.
“The Port of Port Orford is critical lifeline that fuels the local economy, keeps over a hundred fishermen working, and keeps this community alive. We are urging the Army Corps of Engineers to add this shallow water dredging project to the contract already servicing the Chetco River. It will save the Corps money in the long-term and fulfill its commitment to safeguard our infrastructure in ports both big and small,” said DeFazio.
“Whether it’s maintaining jetties or dredging harbors, keeping coastal ports open for business is a federal obligation and is money well spent,” Wyden said. “Ensuring that ports such as Port Orford remain operational helps drive the local economy, save existing jobs, create new jobs and generate economic development at a time we need it most.”
“Oregonians living in coastal communities depend upon the dredging of their ports so they can support their families,” said Merkley. “Without proper dredging, rural communities like Port Orford see their economies dry up. We cannot allow the Port of Port Orford to become unusable and cost further job loss. We need to continue investing in Oregon’s coastal communities and dredging our small ports is one of the most critical things we can do.”
A group of Port Orford fishermen has organized a petition on change.org. Community members can show support for the project by signing the petition at: http://www.change.org/petitions/army-corps-of-engineers-keep-the-port-in-port-orford
Text of the DeFazio, Wyden, Merkley letter is below: