REDMOND, OR -- Construction of a multi-agency emergency coordination and operations center in Redmond could get a big boost in funding from the federal government. U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) says a proposed Homeland Security bill includes a million dollars for the Central Oregon Ready, Responsive, Resilient project - known as CORE3.
The training and coordination center is planned for near the Redmond Airport. COIC is managing the project, overseeing partnerships with 27 local and state agencies. "With a phase one price tag of just above $34 million, we’re really looking to some of our other supporters to help us with some of this funding," says COIC's Shelby Knight, Project Lead, "And so, this just makes a huge impact."
She tells KBND News CORE3 will benefit more than just the High Desert, especially in the event of a large quake, "This could really serve the state well, in terms of being an emergency coordination center for response - not just for local or regional events, but statewide events or maybe even larger disasters." It could also be used to train local first responders, "You’re not always responding to an emergency. So it makes a lot of sense in the off times to be able to still make use of this facility. And, we’re also seeing an increase in natural disasters, we’re seeing an increase in these conflagration events that require multi-jurisdictional-type training." Among the 27 partner agencies are the Deschutes and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Offices, Bend and Redmond Police and Fire, ODOT and the State Fire Marshal.
She says COIC has secured about half of the necessary funding and hopes to break ground in 2025. "This is really an investment in current and future safety for our communities," says Knight, "During a disaster is really the wrong time to be planning something like this. So, seeing us make actual big strides, I think is a huge win for our community."