Oregon Lawmakers Respond to Newport Air Facility Closing
Oregon lawmakers are urging the Coast Guard to reverse its decision to close the Newport Air Facility. Oregon representatives Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Peter Defazio and Kurt Schrader along with Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley wrote a letter emphasizing the impact the closure would have on Newport. Hank Stern, Wyden’s press secretary, says the senator was surprised by the Coast Guard’s decision.
Stern: “Senator Wyden and other members of the congressional delegation, including Senator Merkley, have been very clear in the letter that they want answers from the Coast Guard, and this decision is coming up in December. We’ll wait and see what the Coast Guard’s response is, but this is an issue that Senator Wyden is going to follow very, very closely because of its importance to Newport.”
Prior to its decision to close the air facility, Stern says the Coast Guard assured lawmakers that it would remain open through 2015. The Port of Newport recently completed a multimillion dollar rebuilding of its international terminal. Newport is home to one of Oregon’s three deep draft ports, Oregon’s largest commercial fishing fleet, NOAA’s Pacific fleet and OSU research vessels.