By Kelsey McGee
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The $1.7 trillion Fiscal Year 2023 federal appropriations bill won Senate passage on Thursday and is expected to be signed into law soon by President Biden. More than $15 million will fund nine projects and programs in Central Oregon alone and help continue their efforts in our community.
Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity is one of the federal funding recipients. (You can see the whole list here.)
“This money will be making an impact in Central Oregon forever,” Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity Director of Grants Management Mellissa Kamanya said Thursday.
“To have the money be something that lasts more than one homeowner, or one generation is really powerful,” Kamanya said.
Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity will be building 16 townhomes with the funding, and will continue to help people like Habitat homeowners Cole Smith and Christian Quim.
“I was leasing in the Bend area, and as everyone knows the Bend market is very challenging at this time,” Smith said.
Quim added, “It’s been a joy to have it. My two kids are loving it. They have their own room and can make their own memories in this household.”
Here’s what OSU-Cascades and Deschutes National Forest said about the funding.
Interim Vice President for OSU- Cascades Andrew Ketsdever said, “OSU-Cascades is partnering with St. Charles Health System, Central Oregon Community College and other regional partners to expand availability of child care in Deschutes county for low-income students, critical health care workers, and other families.”
Deschutes National Forest Bend-Fort Road District Ranger Kevin Larkin said, “Much of the appeal of Central Oregon comes from easy and direct access to recreational opportunities on public lands. This appropriation includes funding to build and maintain that access in popular areas of the Deschutes National Forest.”
Mellissa Kamanya said it was a fairly large pool of applicants that applied for this funding and they were so thrilled to have been selected.
Even before the Senate vote, Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden shared news releases with a full list of the projects, as well as comments from stakeholders, including several Central Oregonians:
“Once again, Senators Merkley and Wyden have stepped up to help the Warm Springs Tribe address its ongoing water crisis. This legislation would allow the Tribe to dramatically improve reliable access to clean, running water to thousands of people living on the Warm Springs Reservation,” said Tribal Council Chairman, Jonathan Smith.
“We are so passionate about the La Pine CHC Wellness Center Project and the impact that we know it will have on south Deschutes County and surrounding areas. What a blessing it is that Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley see the importance of this project as well! Thank you for your support, Senators!” said Erin Trapp, CEO, La Pine Community Health Center.
“City of Redmond proudly prioritizes safe and clean water as well as protecting its natural resources. Being awarded funding in the Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) portion of the Interior Appropriations bill enables us to accelerate needed investments in our water infrastructure and more efficiently meet the demands of our growing community,” said Mayor
George Endicott, City of Redmond. “This federal support, spearheaded by Oregon Senators Wyden and Merkley, ultimately eases the burden shouldered by water utility rate payers, and enhances needed water capacity for our community to grow and thrive well into the future.”
“This bill includes investments to ensure the essential role community colleges can play in the long-term economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Laurie Chesley, president of Central Oregon Community College (COCC). “We are particularly grateful to Senators Merkley and Wyden for prioritizing healthcare workforce training in rural Oregon and for helping us to purchase state-of-the-art equipment in order to meet employers’ demands for highly skilled nurses, CNAs, and medical assistants. With this bill’s support, we will be able to serve a new generation of students from Jefferson County and the Warm Springs Reservation.”
“Critical funding in this bill will allow North Unit Irrigation District and Reclamation to prove more fully the environmental, water resources, and economic benefits of the Crooked River Water Quality and Supply Reliability Project as we work to increase water security for our patrons. As we continue to experience the direct impacts of extreme drought across the
Deschutes Basin, we cannot lose sight of longer-term solutions like this project that will ensure Central Oregon agriculture remains viable and can continue to help feed the world. We greatly appreciate the support of both Senators for this project and the funding included to help move it forward,” said Mike Britton, NUID Executive Manager.
“The McKay Creek Switch Project will allow irrigators who currently divert water directly from McKay Creek to exchange their natural flow rights for more reliable OID water rights from Prineville Reservoir. The project will permanently restore up to 11.2 cfs of streamflow in McKay Creek for the benefit of fish, wildlife and other aquatic resources. New pump stations necessary for delivering this water will replace aging infrastructure in OID, reducing O & M costs, improving efficiency and water delivery reliability,” said Bruce Scanlon, Manager of Ochoco Irrigation District. “OID and its partners are grateful to Senators Merkley and Wyden for recognizing the significant benefits this project provides to fish, wildlife and the farming community.”