Oregon Senators Celebrate Schools Funding, Almost $1M to Benton County

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley last week announced that Oregon counties will receive more than $82 million in payments under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) for school and road maintenance, youth job training, wildfire prevention, watershed restoration and habitat conservation. 

“For the better part of two decades, SRS payments have maintained an economic lifeline for Oregonians counting on quality schools, dependable infrastructure, forest maintenance and more,” said Wyden, who co-authored the original SRS law in 2000 and secured three additional years of funding for the SRS program in the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. “I am gratified to see these dollars go to help Oregon communities tackle the ongoing threat of wildfire and support crucial community services like education, public safety and environmental conservation.” 

“Secure Rural Schools payments are a crucial investment into our rural communities and help to provide vital services, ranging from schools to infrastructure and public safety,” said Merkley. “We must continue to support our rural communities—and it’s great news that these funds are heading to Oregon counties and rural communities to help tackle the ongoing threat of wildfires and promote economic growth in every corner of the state.” 

The SRS program provides critical funding for schools, roads, and other municipal services to more than 700 counties across the nation. A portion of United State Forest Service funds generated through multi-use activities, such as grazing, timber production, and special use permits support rural counties impacted by federal forestland to improve the health of communities, and can include improving schools and roads, preventing wildfire, stream and watershed restoration, improvement of fish and wildlife habitat, and opportunities for youth training and employment.  

Benton County will receive $132, 547 in Forest Service (FS) SRS money and $776,096 in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) SRS funding, for a total of $908,642 in SRS funding. 

Neighboring counties will receive the following: 

Lane – FS SRS $9,444,633  

BLM SRS $4,332,448 

Total $13,777,081 

Lincoln – FS SRS $1,577,259  

BLM SRS $114,720  

Total $1,691,979 

Linn – FS SRS $3,348,4  

BLM SRS $825,257  

Total $4,173,669 

Marion – FS SRS $1,276,136  

BLM SRS $435,387 

Total $1,711,523 

Polk – FS SRS $4,110 

BLM SRS $723,692 

Total $727,802 

Yamhill – FS SRS $199,879 

BLM SRS $206,539 

Total $406,418 

A full list of counties can be found here.