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Port awards $156,500 in grants to partner agencies

Eight agencies in Columbia County will get a boost to fund projects with grant money from the Port of St. Helens.

In its second round of a recently unveiled Intergovernmental Partnership Program, the port awarded $156,500 in funds to eight agencies.

In all, 10 projects were awarded funding, ranging from $1,500 to $30,000.

The port set aside $300,000 for the partnership program. Some agencies were notified about the program with a letter from the port, while others responded to a notice on the port’s website.

The port received $231,653 worth of funding requests, which were then evaluated by a review committee and the Port of St. Helens Board of Commissioners.

Scappoose Drainage Improvement Company will receive $30,000 from the port, the largest award from this round of the IPP.

The money will be used to help the independent district get its levee federally certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Since [Hurricane] Katrina, FEMA has put an emphasis on getting all levees in the country certified,” Doug Birdsall, manager of the drainage district. “They have to analyze our pump and ditch capacities.”

Birdsall estimates the certification will cost about $330,000, paid for with grants and low- or no-interest loans.

SCAPPOOSE FIRE DISTRICT PHOTO - Firefighters with the Scappoose Fire District put out a blaze in 2015. The district will use grant money from the Port of St. Helens to help buy new emergency responder radios.Scappoose Fire District and the St. Helens Police Department will each get small grants to help purchase emergency responder radios. SHPD was awarded $10,500 and Scappoose Fire was awarded $10,000 for the radios. The agencies requested $24,000 and $30,000 for the projects, respectively.

Pat Trapp, executive director of the port, called the program an “excellent opportunity to work with our neighboring municipalities and Special Districts within the Port Jurisdiction.”

Scappoose City Manager Michael Sykes announced the port’s $18,000 award to the city to use toward developing a new website, saying the port originally wanted to grant the city $6,500, but Commissioner Larry Ericksen lobbied for the city to get an amount closer to the $22,710 requested.

Here’s a rundown of the money awarded by the Port of St. Helens:

? City of Clatskanie: $28,500 to maintain city storage

? Columbia City: $25,000 for pump station improvements and another $15,000 for community hall improvements

? City of Rainier: $10,000 for speed indicators and improvements on Highway 30

? Scappoose Drainage Improvement Company: $30,000 for engineering services for FEMA levee certification

?Scappoose Fire District: $10,000 for radios and $8,000 for consulting services to create emergency response plan

?City of Scappoose: $18,000 for consulting services for website

?City of St. Helens: $10,500 for police radios