New interactive tool looks at critical repairs needed at National Parks in Oregon

National Park Service (NPS) sites are challenged by $11.6 billion in backlogged repairs.

A new deferred maintenance interactive tool put out by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows the overdue repairs needed state by state and park by park, using NPS data. Pew acquired the information through a Freedom of Information Act request to NPS.

“Identifying repairs needed at national park sites in Oregon, brings home that we must make it a priority to secure reliable funding to preserve these national treasures in our own backyard,” said Willy Myers, executive secretary of the Columbia Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council.

The interactive tool shows that park sites in Oregon had $116.5 million in deferred maintenance in 2017, with about a quarter of that needed for historic structures and nearly 65 percent for transportation assets, which could include roads, parking lots, and bridges and possibly impact access.

“Our community and businesses count on the tourism dollars generated by visitors to NPS sites in Oregon,” said Myers. “Last year alone, Oregon’s national park visitors spent $91.6 million in communities near these sites, having a positive economic impact and supporting jobs.”

This information comes on the heels of an analysis commissioned by Pew that found that if $11.3 billion were invested to fix deferred maintenance across NPS’ 400-plus sites, more than 110,000 jobs could be created or supported, including more than 1,000 jobs in Oregon.

Almost 3,000 groups nationwide, including the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, have called on Congress to dedicate funding to fix repairs at NPS sites.

There is currently bipartisan legislation moving through Congress, with the support of the Trump Administration, to provide funding for priority repairs over five years. In Oregon, Sen. Ron Wyden and U.S. Representatives Greg Walden, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, and Kurt Schrader are all sponsors of the legislation.

See the deferred maintenance interactive tool here.

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