PENDLETON – The third time was not the charm for the city of Pendleton and the Oregon Department of Transportation. The Interstate 84/Exit 209 at Southgate project was once again ignored by the U.S. Department of Transportation in its quest for a $24.6 million dollar BUILD grant.
Mayor John Turner said the city will not give up on the plan to reconfigure that area of Southgate.
“Sen. (Jeff) Merkley (D-OR) told me that he had called the secretary of transportation and made this his top priority for Oregon,” Turner said. “It is still the top priority for ODOT Region 5.”
Turner said that this year there was only one grant per state. Oregon’s BUILD grant went to replace the Hood River/White Salmon Bridge for a total of $5 million.
“We asked for a much larger number, which is the max that you can get,” Turner said. “We’ll have to talk to the U.S. Department of Transportation to see if that’s too big a number. We don’t know.”
Turner said the city council will be briefed by ODOT officials at the next work session on Sept. 22.