Three rural Oregon towns get federal money for community centers, fire station

Originally published by Oregon Capital Chronicle. For more coverage related to Oregon state government, politics and policy, visit the Oregon Capital Chronicle website.

The rural town of Dayville, population 113, will finally get to finish upgrading its 1920s community hall and get a new fire station to replace one that burned down. 

The funding, for more than $150,000, comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which announced the grants for Dayville and two other Oregon towns Friday.

The Oregon projects are part of $222 million in funding for more than 500 other rural projects nationwide.

The money is from the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program, from the USDA’s Rural Development Office, and is specifically allotted to help rural communities with populations of less than 20,000 people. Applicants can be from non-profit organizations, public offices and federally recognized tribes. The federal funding is meant to match equal funding brought to the projects by the communities themselves.

Dayville, about 120 miles northeast of Bend, is one of three Oregon cities, including Waldport on the state’s Pacific coast, and Winston, off of Interstate 5 between Eugene and Grants Pass, to receive funding.

Waldport, population 2,055, will get $50,000 to support renovating its city hall. Winston, population 5,416, will get $9,500 to upgrade a police station and bring the building’s entrance up to accessibility and safety codes.

Jill Rees, state director of the rural development program in Oregon, said that despite being under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, her office focuses on sustaining rural communities.

“We’ve been around for a long time in different forms, but the reason we’re here is to support investment in rural communities, rural infrastructure and rural people,” she said.

Between 2017 and 2020, Oregon received $2.7 million in community facilities grants from the USDA, according to Rees, and the Rural Development Office offered $19 million in loans for facilities in rural Oregon.

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