May 08, 2018

Wyden, Merkley Announce Secure Rural Schools Payments for Rural Oregon Counties

Senators Secured Two-year Extension of Lifeline Funding

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that 33 rural counties in Oregon will begin receiving Secure Rural Schools (SRS) payments this week, following the Oregon lawmakers’ successful work in Congress to extend the lifeline funding program for schools, roads and law enforcement.

“As the author of the law that created the SRS program, I fought to extend SRS payments so rural counties in Oregon can keep their schools and libraries open, make sure law enforcement can protect our communities and ensure road repairs can get done,” Wyden said. “SRS payments are a critical part of what’s needed to ensure our rural communities can thrive. That’s why I’m also pushing for ways to support sustainable forest restoration and create more jobs in the woods and in the mills.”

“SRS payments are crucial to keeping schools and libraries open, maintaining roads, ensuring there are police officers to keep communities safe, and providing mental health resources in rural counties,” Merkley said. “After hearing from Oregonians, I also secured a fix that will allow SRS funds to be used for counties’ preparations for emergency response, as well as for emergency response activities themselves. This important funding now provides the flexibility counties need to spend emergency response dollars where they will do the most good.”

Twenty-nine counties in Oregon will receive $55 million in SRS payments from the Forest Service for fiscal year (FY) 2017. 

Additionally, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will pay $14 million to Oregon’s 18 O&C counties. They are Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill counties.

In total from the Forest Service and BLM funding streams, 33 Oregon counties will receive SRS payments totaling more than $69 million.

That more than $69 million in combined funding comes in addition to the $18 million O&C counties received in revenue sharing receipts for FY 2017 and the $7.8 million from  revenue sharing receipts for Forest Service counties. Those payments went to counties earlier this year before Congress reauthorized SRS in March.  

Since Wyden co-wrote the original SRS program in 2000 with then-Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, Oregon counties have received more than $3 billion.

Find a county-by-county breakdown of the $55 million in Forest Service funds here.