October 28, 2004

Oregon counties to receive $113 million today in installment of 2004 county payments

Law helps timber communities by providing a stable funding source

Portland, Ore. U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) announced today that Oregon counties will receive more than $113 million through the 2004 county payments funds provided by The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. Wyden and Smith have worked together to ensure continued funding to rural Oregon counties since passage in 2000 of the law, also authored by U.S. Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho), to secure a stable source of funding for rural schools and counties.This money will help many Oregon counties in tough economic times with education, infrastructure and other important community programs, Wyden said. The dollars Oregon is receiving from this bipartisan law are making a real difference in our rural communities.Education, roads, and county services are the building blocks of prosperous and healthy communities, said Smith. As we continue towards economic recovery, these funds will help ensure that Oregonians enjoy a higher standard of living now and for future generations.The county payments law directs $1.5 billion over six years from the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to Oregon counties for education, roads and county services. Todays $113 million is only the BLM portion of the funding and represents a more than 68 percent increase in BLM monies from before the law was enacted; the Forest Service portion of the payments will be released to counties later this year.The law establishes a locked-in dollar amount for rural schools and counties by averaging the three highest receipt producing years between Fiscal Years 1986 and 1999. Under this proposal, 80-85 percent of funding will be reserved for traditional county schools and services supported by federal revenues, and 15-20 percent of monies will be set aside for community-supported forestry projects.Oregon counties receiving funds today include:" Benton $3.16 million" Clackamas $6.23 million" Columbia $2.31 million" Coos $7.43 million" Curry $4.1 million" Douglas $28.29 million" Jackson $17.61 million" Josephine $13.57 million" Klamath $2.63 million" Lane $17.16 million" Lincoln $404,492" Linn $2.96 million" Marion $1.64 million" Multnomah $1.22 million" Polk $2.43 million" Tillamook $629,210" Washington $707,861" Yamhill $808,984The county payments law will provide payments through 2006. Wyden and Smith are committed to reauthorizing the bill and maintaining a steady funding source for counties beyond 2006.