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City, ODOT back to the drawing board for BUILD grant

Bob Patterson

PENDLETON, Oregon – The city of Pendleton and the Oregon Department of Transportation were left out of the 2018 U.S. Department of Transportation grant process. They had applied for a BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) grant to redesign the Exit 209 Interchange off of Interstate 84 at Southgate.

Officials were not daunted by that failure, noting that few projects receive a BUILD grant the first time they apply. The application period for the 2019 grants begins next month, and it’s back to the drawing board.

“We’re starting conversations with ODOT, actually kicking that off this Friday,” Pendleton Public Works Director Bob Patterson said. “We’re going to refocus on that application process; and where we were weak, we want to strengthen it.”

He said the city is looking to ODOT for a more detailed model of what the changes the redesign will bring for both residential and commercial areas. He says they also want to see more details in the benefit-cost analysis.

“We’re trying to push ODOT Salem to get more information, and strengthen that package,” Patterson said. “I’m looking forward to this Friday’s kick-off discussion to see what ODOT’s done to date.”

In addition to ODOT in Salem, Patterson said the regional office in La Grande is also involved in the grant application. The project is an attempt to ease the bottleneck created by Southwest Hailey Avenue, Tutuilla Road, and exits from Interstate 84 in both directions in the Southgate area.

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