Oregon Awarded $24M for Port of Portland Improvements

The Port of Portland’s Terminal 6. Photo: Port of Portland.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded Oregon’s Port of Portland $24,360,000 for port infrastructure improvements that would support current and future operations.

The funding is to support current infrastructure by strengthening pavement for flexible cargo storage and upgrading pavement in the container yard. 

The funds also are to support new stormwater treatment infrastructure to reduce pollutants entering the Columbia River, improve energy consumption, reduce light pollution and support a port goal of moving ward zero-emission operations. 

The announcement came with kudos from U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Roy Wyden, both D-Ore. Merkley said the funds will provide crucial support to the port to bolster their efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of their operations. 

Wyden said he’s grateful to see this funding go toward strengthening base structures that keep the port running smoothly and doing more to help the port by doing more to meet the port’s sustainability goals by lowering emissions. 

The funds are coming from the Port Infrastructure Development Program, administered by the U.S. Maritime Administration for projects that improve the safety, efficiency or reliability of movement of goods into, out of, around or within a port. These awards are funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, under the FY22 Consolidated Appropriations Act. 

Port of Portland executive Director Curtis Robinhold said the federal investment would have positive ripple effects throughout the Pacific Northwest. 

“The pavement and electrical improvements made possible through the DOT grant will improve operational conditions and increase the efficiency, productivity, and safety of cargo handling throughout the port’s Terminal 6Oregon’s only marine container terminal,” he said. 

“Perhaps most significantly,” he added, “the grant will allow us to reduce our impact on the environment and ensure that those whose livelihood depends on trade, especially those in rural communities, will continue to have access to national and global markets.” 

In May, the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Connect Oregon grant program—which invests in non-highway modes of transportation to ensure Oregon’s transportation system is strong, diverse, and efficient—awarded the port $7.3 million for Terminal 6 modernization. 

“The funding enables a project to increase efficiency, productivity, and safety of cargo handling at T6,” the port said in a statement. 

“Without these improvements to the terminal, businesses and workers throughout the Pacific Northwest, especially those in rural and disadvantaged communities, would lose their most cost-effective and reliable access to national and global markets,” Port of Portland Chief Operating Officer Dan Pippenger said. 

“T6 has two direct services to Asia that benefit importers and exporters, plus on-dock rail that reaches into the U.S. Midwest, providing unparalleled access for Oregon businesses,” he added. 

Specifically, the two grants are to help pay for: 

  • Replacement of electrical components to reduce energy consumption and enable future zero-emission operations; 
  • Addition of a stormwater system to improve water quality entering the Columbia River; 
  • Installation of two emergency generators to provide backup power during seismic events or other power outages; 
  • Expansion and strengthening of nine acres of pavement for additional container storage; and, 
  • Upgrading of pavement on 30 acres of the existing container yard.