Saturday marked the final day of the 2021 Legislative Session - a session unlike any other in the past. COVID-19 restrictions resulted in session work being held virtually, which posed many challenges for everyone involved.
Not only were things difficult at the state level, but also nationally. Our National Special Districts Coalition government affairs team worked hard to urge Congress to include Oregon’s special districts in the American Recovery Plan Act (APRA). These efforts were on behalf of all special districts in the United States.
After news of direct relief for special districts being left out of the ARPA, SDAO government affairs staff found themselves advocating heavily on behalf of our members for a portion of the $6.4 billion allocation to the State of Oregon, cities, and counties. On several occasions, SDAO asked you, our members, to reach out to your local legislators to further advocate and make our collective voices louder.
To the countless members that responded to our many calls to action, we cannot thank you enough. While our efforts to obtain an overall budget allocation for all special districts were not successful, many special districts were able to obtain funds for their specific projects by contacting their legislators. We are grateful to the legislators who recognized the needs of their special districts and requested budget funds to assist them. Some of the projects funded included:
- Arch Cape Domestic Water Supply District forest project - $2 million
- Canby Fire District for COVID response supplies - $228,300
- Clackamas County Fire District #1 for firefighter apprentices - $2 million
- Crescent Sanitary District - $835,000
- Drakes Crossing RFPD for matching funds - $5,000
- Drakes Crossing RFPD for broadband expansion - $1 million
- East Lincoln County Fire and Rescue for Eddyville Fire Hall - $4,056,571
- East Umatilla Fire & Rescue for new fire station - $4.9 million
- Estacada Rural Fire District #69 for wildfire fire and emergency medical response equipment – $280,900
- Greater Toledo Pool Recreation District for their aquatic and community center - $3,048,464
- Greensprings Fire District for fire protection engines - $100,000
- Idahna-Detroit RFPD for fire station - $2.4 million
- Jackson County Fire District for firefighter apprentices - $2 million
- Lane County Fire Authority for western Lane County fire response - $750,000
- Lyons-Mehama Water District - $5,260,000
- Mapleton Water District for infrastructure project - $1,140,000
- McKenzie Fire and Rescue for disaster relief logistics center - $903,520
- Molalla RFPD for wildland fire protection - $385,000
- Panther Creek water district water reservoir replacement $1.8 million
- Port of Bandon for marina redevelopment - $2.8 million
- Port of Cascade Locks for business park expansion - $2,445,033
- Port of Coos Bay for purchase of former GP site - $2 million
- Port of Morrow for workforce center - $4,359,110
- Port of Toledo for sewer extension to Hwy 20 - $2,425,798
- Sauvie Island RFPD for improvements - $930,000
- Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District for Fanno Creek Trail improvements - $2,145,358
- Upper McKenzie RFPD for facility equipment and replacement - $2.1 million
- Wallowa Lake Irrigation District for rehab of dam - $14 million
- Wasco SWCD - $900,000
- Washington County/Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District for park restroom improvements - $1.9 million
- Special Districts in Representative Cedric Hayden’s District - $800,000
Our work is not done. There will be additional funds available to the State from the ARPA in the future and SDAO will continue to advocate that special districts receive a share of the funds. We will also be working to educate our legislators and communities about special districts to make them aware of the work and impact our districts have on the individuals that utilize their services.
Alongside these endeavors, our government affairs team worked tirelessly to monitor bills that impacted special districts and collaborated with legislators, associations, and other individuals to adjust the language in these bills, or prevent them from passing, to offer the best possible outcomes for districts. Our annual legislative summary will further detail the results of this legislative session and will be published later this year. A copy will be mailed to each district’s key contact.