Thank you so much for the many positive responses to my weekly reports from the 2018 legislative session.
I enjoy sending news and information throughout our district on a regular basis. However, legislative rules prohibit newsletters like this sent from our office within 60 days of a primary or general election. I think that is a good policy that makes it clear that public resources are not used or perceived to be used for campaign purposes. But it also means you will not be hearing from me again until May 15 except in response to emails or letters you send to me.
On Wednesday afternoon, I will be delighted to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Marine Studies Initiative in Newport.
Oregon State University’s new marine studies building at the Hatfield Marine Science Center will not only increase the region’s marine science education and research capacity, it will use state-of-the-art architectural and engineering techniques to serve as one of the first “vertical evacuation” tsunami sites in the United States.
The facility aims to increase the region’s capacity for marine-related education, research and outreach, and engagement. OSU plans to have as many as 150 new staff and up to 500 students annually studying and doing research at the Hatfield campus by 2025. The new building will include classroom space and offices for faculty and graduate students.
“The amount of science here is mind boggling,” says Gil Sylvia, a marine resource economist and superintendent of the Coastal Oregon Marine Experimental Station. “It spans everything. Agencies here are studying where fish stocks are located in the ocean, how fish age and how that relates to their migration. We study oceanographic conditions and the relationship to fishery productivity. We are helping map the bottom of the ocean. We study underwater volcanoes and earthquakes.”
Looked at from a different perspective, the MSI will bring more living wage jobs, more customers for local business, and more potential employees from the student population.
In addition to housing Marine Studies Initiative programs, the new building will host the Marine Fisheries Genetics Program and provide headquarters for OSU’s nationally recognized Marine Mammal Institute and its marine genetics and genomics programs.
Speaking of the Marine Mammal Institute, we are now very, very close to selling 3000 vouchers for the new Oregon Coast Whale License Plate.
Every purchase supports the OSU Marine Mammal Institute, meaning the license plates are more than distinctive and stylish — they also help support whale research, graduate student education, and public outreach.
You can be one of the first to own the new plate by purchasing a voucher. As soon as 3,000 vouchers are sold, the plates will go into production, and you will be notified when your plate is available at the DMV. Purchase a voucher online for only $40, of which $35 will directly support the Marine Mammal Institute.
In a final piece of OSU news, a major win for the Coastal Caucus during the recent session was House Bill 5201 – an appropriation package that includes $3 million for the Pacific Marine Energy Center South Energy Test Site.
Senator Roblan and I worked hard to fund this wave energy test site off the Oregon Coast. State funds are being leveraged to help secure an additional $35 million in federal monies for the project. The test facility is being designed and constructed by an OSU team, and is expected to be operational in 2021.
The research site has been approved by the fishing industry at a location where wave energy developers can test utility scale wave energy converters in the ocean, with a connection to the electric utility grid through a subsea cable. It will be operated by Oregon State University’s Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center.
Whether it is new jobs, new and critical ocean research, the study of new energy sources, new architecture that demonstrates how we can prepare for future seismic events, or simply the pride of a new coastal license plate, these developments help strengthen the economy and the communities of the entire central coast and Coast Range.
As always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns about your state government!
Rep. David Gomberg