Small Willamette Valley city is fixing its streets
Does Kenna West like the Small City Allotment program? Yes. And that’s a serious understatement.
“We are so thankful for these funds!” says West. “Without them, we would be unable to complete much-needed repairs to our streets.”
West is city manager for Willamina, a town of just over 2,000 residents in the northwestern part of the Willamette Valley. Willamina has received several rounds of funding from the state’s Small City Allotment program, a new set-aside which is managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation and came out of Keep Oregon Moving legislation (HB 2017).
“Small cities, and particularly small rural cities like Willamina, simply do not have the tax base to provide the funds for these necessary projects,” West said.
The city, a timber town situated in both Yamhill and Polk counties, has upgraded several streets in recent years, thanks to the Small City Allotment program: 4th & D streets, Lamson Street and others. In 2021, the city received $100,000 for its Walnut St. Overlay project, but that project is postponed due to supply chain issues. West said the team will repackage the project, combining it with another one to hopefully help bring the costs down so it can proceed.
Small cities: apply!
West encourages other municipalities that qualify to apply for the funds (one requirement is population under 5,000). The SCA’s accomplishments across Oregon contribute to ODOT’s Strategic Action Plan priority of building and maintaining a modern transportation system – no matter the size of the city or town.
“The ODOT SCA funds are so very important to small cities!” she said. And there’s an important note: there are no funding match requirements in this program.
“You’ll want to make sure that the project that is the subject of your grant application fits the parameters of the grant; make sure that your engineers and public works folks have plenty of time to provide their input on the project; and don’t wait until the last minute to apply!”
West received assistance from ODOT staff and said applicants shouldn’t be afraid to call on them.
“They have an amazing amount of knowledge and they are extraordinarily helpful.”
Applications for the next round of funding will be accepted June 1 – July 31, with awards announced in late October. There will be plenty of notice and offers of assistance from SCA Program Manager Deanna Edgar and the SCA team.
“We’ll let eligible cities know about the process at least eight weeks prior to the application period,” Edgar said.
In the meantime, West is anxious to get Willamina’s next Small City Allotment project going.
“The SCA funds make these projects possible and we feel blessed to be the recipient of these grant funds!”