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Dishing Out Dollars

Pete Springer/OPB

It’s only been about two months since Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also known as the stimulus package), but states are already seeing an influx of federal dollars. Oregon expects to get about $2.4 billion (pdf) in stimulus money over the next three years. While they wait for federal money to flow in, many state agencies are already allocating dollars from the state’s stimulus package. The Department of Corrections will spend $475,000 replacing lighting fixtures at their Central Distribution Center and the Department of Fish and Wildlife will put $100,000 towards a new elevator in their Enterprise district office. The money will go towards large-scale projects as well.

Small communities fought hard in the competitive process — some more successfully than others.

City and county representatives each had three minutes to pitch their top project ideas to the Oregon Department of Transportation in March. Scappoose got approval for $4.7 million towards road and sidewalk improvement projects. Columbia County wasn’t as lucky. The county’s director of public works and parks says he was denied his request of $8 million to overhall Hermo Road, which would provide greater acess to the Port of St Helens.

Transportation projects are perhaps the best “shovel ready” examples, but federal dollars are moving through almost every state agency. A clinic in Klamath Falls got funding to hire a dentist and two doctors through the Department of Health and Human Services.

Is the stimulus reaching you and your community? Is your company bidding for government contracts? Are you hoping to receive food or housing assistance? Or job re-training? Or perhaps money for home weatherization? Where do you see the gaps in stimulus funding?

Now that money is coming into Oregon, is the stimulus working?


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