Sen. Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay) is championing an effort in the Oregon Legislature to persuade Congress to continue support of an important United States Coast Guard station on the Oregon Coast. Senate Joint Memorial 7 – which passed the Senate today on a 29-0 vote – urges Congress to permanently and adequately fund and maintain the Coast Guard air facility in Newport.
“This is an important public safety issue on the coast,” Roblan said. “Newport is a hub of commercial, scientific and recreational activity on the coast. We know well that an earthquake and resulting tsunami is a strong likelihood off the coast and so it’s especially important to protect this air rescue resource – the only one located outside the tsunami inundation zone. Its centralized location also supports the station’s importance to public safety up and down the entire Oregon Coast.”
Newport is home to one of Oregon’s three deep-draft ports, the state’s largest-grossing commercial fishing fleet, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Marine Operations Center, Oregon State University research personnel and vessels and robust recreational and sport fishing industries. Lincoln County attracts a substantial share of the state’s tourists and recreational visitors each year.
The Coast Guard maintains search and rescue and law enforcement operations out of the local port at Yaquina Bay, and air support functions from the Newport Municipal Airport. The station responds to hundreds of calls for assistance annually. Newport has the only air facility on the Oregon Coast located outside of the tsunami inundation zone.
Since 2014, the Coast Guard’s air operations in Newport have been threatened with closure. A broad coalition of federal, state and local public officials, citizens, commercial industries and community groups have sustained and continued efforts to preserve the Coast Guard’s air facility in Newport. Senate Joint Memorial 7 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.