Coalition kicks off channel deepening

U.S. Senator Patty Murray was joined by Washington Congressman Brian Baird, Oregon Senator Gordon Smith. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Agricultural Services, JB Penn and former and current Columbia River port directors to celebrate the deepening of the federal navigation channel from 40 to 43 feet.

Much was made of the bi-partisan, bi-state effort realized to achieve success on the project, and of its role in the push for infrastructure dollars made by the two states.

“To protect this important investment, we have to protect the rest of our infrastructure,” said Murray.

Colonel Thomas O’Donovan, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ District Commander, several hundred supporters, and Columbia River Coalition Channel members met at Frenchman’s Bar Park on Aug. 4 to listen to speakers and pick up tiny bottles of sand from the bottom of the river.

More than 100 miles of river will be dredged this summer, with work starting in Clark County in October. For each of five years, federal appropriations have been made for the project. The president’s budget proposal this year included $15 million for FY 2006. The Columbia River Channel Coalition is requesting $40 million for FY 2006 and $40 million for FY 2007. The two states have each appropriated $27.7 million. The total Columbia River construction cost is estimated at $150.5 million.

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