Federal Funding Comes Through For Newport Dam
On December 23, 2022, President Biden signed the James M. Inhofe National
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023. This package of bills included the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022. The authorization sets the stage to secure funding for essential water infrastructure modernization efforts across the nation, including an authorization of $60,000,000 for the City of Newport that can be used to fund the Big Creek Dam replacement project. This project would replace two seismically unstable earthen dams with a single concrete dam designed to survive a major seismic event.
The federal funding authorization for the Big Creek Dam was initially proposed by
former US Representative Kurt Schrader (D-5), and approved by the House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chaired by former US Representative Peter
DeFazio (D-4) in July 2022. The funding provision for the City of Newport was not included
in the Senate version of the bill. A delegation from the city including Mayor Dean Sawyer,
Councilors Ryan Parker and CM Hall, City Manager, Spencer Nebel, and City Engineer,
Aaron Collette, along with State Representative David Gomberg traveled to Washington
D.C. to meet with US Senators Wyden and Merkley, and US Representatives Schrader
and DeFazio, and various committee staff to emphasize the critical nature of this funding
for the central coast of Oregon.
Through the efforts of Senators Merkley and Wyden, an agreement was reached between the leaders of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that included