The omnibus spending bill passed by Congress Thursday night includes appropriations for projects around the Lower Columbia River Region.

Some $1.53 million will help the Port of Astoria continue improvements to the breakwater at the East Mooring Basin, however it falls short of the $3 million the Port needed to finish the project.

"We're very pleased that we were able to garner this much at this critical time in the budget," said Bill Cook, Port deputy director.

The breakwater at the East Boat Basin was built in 1949, with a life expectancy of about 50 years, Cook said. The Port began working on a $19 million restoration project in the 1980s. The breakwater protects fishing boats moored in the basin, which could hold between 850 and 1,000 vessels, Cook said.

Cook and Port Commissioner Larry Pfund will travel to Washington, D.C. later this month to talk with Oregon's representatives and federal agencies.

Also, Clatsop Community College received $50,000 for new equipment and technology, according to a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. David Wu, D-Ore.

It was unclear this morning whether other local projects, including the Benson Beach nourishment project in Fort Canby State Park, would be fully funded this fiscal year. Money for that project, which would take dredge spoils slated for ocean disposal and place them on an eroding Washington beach, could be buried somewhere within the 3,000-plus pages of the bill. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman said the agency probably won't know for sure until next week.


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