U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released a statement on Tuesday after the Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $3 million grant to the city of Pendleton to support the expansion of the airport’s Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) sites.
The airport’s UAS Range is one of the leading ranges in the world and updating it is essential for the airport to remain a driving force for the region’s economy.
“The Eastern Oregon Regional Airport plays a critical role in the region’s economy, especially for Pendleton,” said Walden. “The EDA’s decision to award a $3 million grant to the City of Pendleton to support the expansion of the airport’s UAS Range is welcomed news. The UAS Range is one of the leading ranges in the world, and I was happy to work with local officials on securing this grant in an effort to further support development of the range. I look forward to seeing it pay off for the city of Pendleton and all of Eastern Oregon.”
Walden has met with local officials, sent letters of support, and placed multiple phone calls in an effort to land this grant for the city. He said the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport plays an essential role for the economy of both the city of Pendleton and Eastern Oregon. It not only helps the flow of goods and people but is also a local job supplier, said Walden.
“This grant from the EDA will be used to provide much needed new hangar space and improved infrastructure for UAS Test Range,” said Pendleton Mayor John Turner. “In the process it will bring in new well-paying jobs and it will expand Pendleton’s economy.”
“President Trump is working diligently to improve our nation’s infrastructure and create jobs around the country,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This project will help develop a new UAS test range in Oregon that will bring cutting edge technology to the region and create new jobs in an innovative industry.”
The grant from EDA comes about one month after the Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded the City of Pendleton a grant to help modernize the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport.