12/9/2009

Congressman Kurt Schrader and U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced today that they have secured $12.1 million for the Polk County Armory in the Omnibus Appropriations Act that has been agreed by a House and Senate Conference Committee. Schrader, who requested the funding for this project and secured funding in the House version earlier this year, announced that it will fund the replacement of the Oregon National Guard’s Polk County Readiness Center.
 
“This is a great victory for our Oregon warriors, their families and our region,” said Schrader. “Not only does this funding mean critical constructions jobs in the region but it also is a significant part of our promise to take care of our brave soldiers and their families. This was a great lift for our state, for our Guard, and could not have happened without the strong support of the community.”
 
“I want to recognize Congressman Schrader’s efforts in securing this appropriation,” Wyden said. “A new armory in Polk County would be a fitting acknowledgement of the enormous contribution of Oregon’s National Guard at a time when the nation is relying more than ever on its citizen soldiers to be well trained and well led. This new armory will do that.”
 
“These funds give Oregon National Guard members the support they need, creates jobs and establishes a community cornerstone,”Merkley said.  “This is a textbook example of how we invest in families, communities and our soldiers.”
 
The Dallas Armory was originally built in 1911. Over the last 98 years it has become structurally unsound due to age and recent winter storm damages, such that it is no longer safe to occupy. Unit personnel are conducting training assemblies at an alternate location in Salem. The unit readiness center is the local projection platform and center of gravity for Army National Guard Mobilizations and Deployments; the readiness center is the face of the National Guard to the community. It is where soldiers meet and train as well as store operational equipment. It is the center of support for communities during natural and man-made disasters and the center for administration and maintenance as well as being a community center during times of peace.
 
The Oregon National Guard had been pushing for the funding for years, and was quick to praise the funding announcement. 
 
"This is a tremendous demonstration of a united Congressional delegation working cooperatively to further the needs and interests of the citizens of Oregon.  We appreciate the efforts of each and every member of our delegation led by senior Senator Ron Wyden.  We have seen the concerted effort of Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley working with Representative Kurt Schrader to obtain critical funding for the Polk County Readiness Center, and Representatives David Wu and Earl Blumenauer for  funding in Clatsop and Washington counties at Camp Rilea and Camp Withycombe and design funding for the Hillsboro Readiness Center.  These projects will serve the men and women of the Oregon National Guard and our communities for years to come,” explained Major General Raymond Rees, Adjutant General, Oregon.
 
This project is ready to execute and will put money directly into the local and state economy providing jobs in construction and maintenance during the period of construction and supporting the local economy post-construction. Additionally, this facility will be available for use by citizens and groups throughout the area through the Oregon Military Department rental program to hold functions and events further supporting the local economy.
 
The House is expected to pass the Conference Report this week.  The Senate will need to pass the Conference Report as well before Congress can send it to President Barack Obama for his signature.