July 14, 2022

Merkley, Wyden: $30 Million Headed to Astoria to Expand Coast Guard Facilities

East Tongue Point Coast Guard Facility to Be Expanded

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced that the United States Coast Guard awarded a $30 million federal contract to expand Coast Guard shore-side facilities at East Tongue Point in Astoria. This enable the facility to accommodate the home porting of Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). 

Fast Response Cutters are the newest class of ships currently being produced for the United States Coast Guard. The $30 million contract will ensure that East Tongue Point can welcome the FRCs, including a fixed pier, two floating docks, gangways between the docks and pier, and utility work. The contract also includes dredging 96.5 thousand cubic yards of sediment and an additional 18 thousand cubic yards of clean sand fill.  

“Coast Guard men and women put their lives on the line every day to keep Oregonians and others in our region safe,” said Merkley. “Making sure they have the latest equipment and technology to continue providing crucial, sometimes life-saving services, is critical to the safety of the surrounding communities, especially those whose livelihoods depend on being out on the water. Awarding this contract is a critical step forward to seeing how the facility in Astoria grows and continues to provide important services for the Pacific Northwest.” 

“Modernizing and expanding Coast Guard operations in Astoria is essential to support the heroes who work there to protect lives year-round,” said Wyden. “I’m gratified the North Coast has secured this significant $30 million investment that will build an even stronger Coast Guard presence in Oregon. And I’ll keep fighting to ensure this longstanding and proven Coast Guard resource has all that it needs to continue safeguarding the Oregon Coast for generations to come.”

The FRC project will replace aging Island-class 110-foot patrol boats, and delivers vital capability to the Coast Guard, helping to meet the service’s need in the coastal zone and adjacent waters. The FRCs feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; over-the-horizon cutter boat deployment to reach vessels of interest; and improved habitability and seakeeping.  The ships are designed for multiple uses including drug interdiction; ports, waterways and coastal security; fisheries law enforcement; search and rescue; and national defense. Forty-five FRCs are currently in service throughout the nation and abroad. 

“The expansion of the facilities at Tongue Point is the first, critical step in bringing the newest class of cutters to the Oregon Coast. The Fast Response Cutters that will be stationed in Astoria will ensure that future generations of Coast Guard men and women continue to provide expert service to the people of the Pacific Northwest for many years to come,” said Scott Jackson, Sector Commander and Air Station Commanding Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard.  

Merkley and Wyden have long championed Coast Guard resources for the Oregon Coast. In 2015, they teamed up with members of the House delegation to save a critical Coast Guard helicopter at the Newport Coast Guard station after the local community raised the alarm that cutting Coast Guard resources could lead to more lives being lost in the notoriously treacherous waters off the Oregon Coast. In 2020, Merkley, Wyden along with Representative Bonamici urged for two more cutters to be stationed locally. Because of the rough seas and cold water off the Oregon Coast, timeliness is particularly critical to successful rescues in the Pacific Northwest, and Coast Guard resources are crucial to making these life-saving rescues possible.