State Rep. Suzanne Weber has recommended several local projects, including two in Clatsop County, to be considered for funding through the American Rescue Plan.
State lawmakers divided up $240 million of the federal pandemic relief money among their districts. While each senator got to suggest how they would want to spend $4 million, each representative got $2 million.
The requests are under consideration in Salem as the Legislature moves toward the end of session. While not set in stone, they do speak to the lawmakers’ priorities.
Weber requested four capital projects, meaning they had to do with building, repairing or renovating. She asked for $360,000 for Cannon Beach to use on resiliency projects, $420,000 for Astoria to use on the Astoria Library renovation, $400,000 for the Anderson Creek raw water transmission main for Nehalem and $820,000 for well and wastewater treatment resiliency for Bay City.
Weber said the projects align with her priorities of buoying water, sewer and earthquake and tsunami resilience.
The Tillamook Republican said $2 million spread across House District 32 is not a lot of money, but she worked with Sen. Betsy Johnson and Rep. Brad Witt to look through all the projects submitted and to make sure most of the regions in their districts were covered.
“Some smaller areas were chosen because they don’t have a lot of opportunities to be able to leverage any kind of dollars at the present time,” Weber said. “I asked all the municipalities and different organizations in my area what was extremely important to them.”
Astoria City Manager Brett Estes said if the federal funding comes through, he hopes it would enable the city to accomplish more of its goals for the library remodel in the first phase of the project.
“We’ve been working with the project architect to look at what sort of items specifically we’d be able to do with this funding,” Estes said.
At the top of the priority list is renovating the reading room to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act access guidelines. The proposed library project also includes updating the children’s area, redesigning the circulation desk and putting in new windows on the north wall.
Weber said resilience after earthquakes and tsunamis will be especially important because many North Coast communities are right by the ocean.
“Communities up and down the coast have taken the initiative to build that resiliency into their plans, but they need to have funds to finance that to make it a reality,” she said.
Cannon Beach has proposed multiple small projects that fit into the earthquake and tsunami resilience category. One is providing reliable power to survival cache sites — places to keep emergency stockpiles of supplies.
“We have made significant upgrades to our cache sites but will require maintenance,” Cannon Beach City Manager Bruce St. Dennis said. “This will be much easier to accomplish with electric power to the sites.”
Other projects in Cannon Beach include replacing the main pump station generator, as the existing one is an old military surplus model that has become unreliable; replacing the Haystack pump station main line and mechanical systems to upgrade the control panel that triggers tsunami warnings; and replacing the generator at the Ecola pump station.
“The money I hope is allocated to that area is going to be divided into those smaller projects so they can be accomplished,” Weber said.
The allocated funds may or may not cover all the project costs.
Weber said she is still waiting to hear the federal guidelines for what can be funded through the American Rescue Plan, and she cannot guarantee that her requests will be granted by the Legislature.