What is the Opal Creek Promise Grant?
Since the Upper North Santiam Canyon was designated as the Opal Creek Wilderness and Scenic Recreation Area in 1996, the community has worked tirelessly to get economic support for local communities. After nearly three decades, Congress, in partnership with the United States Forest Service, is now delivering on its promise to give Marion County $15 million to invest in economic growth and prosperity in the Santiam Canyon.
The Opal Creek Promise was made on November 12, 1996 in the last paragraphs of Section 1023 of the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996.
On September 21, 2023, Oregon's U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley announced in a press release that Oregon Business Development Department and the US Forest Service had signed an agreement to fund the full $15 million to fulfill the Opal Creek Promise.
Marion County is now working to pass this promised economic development funding down from the state and implement it into the community.
How can I share my ideas?
The Opal Creek Promise Grant includes $12 million which has not yet been allocated, including $8.4 million for construction projects and $3.6 million for programs and services. The Opal Creek Promise Implementation Plan is now seeking to hear from the community about prioritizing how to use these funds to advance projects and build greater prosperity in the Canyon.
Learn more about the history of the Opal Creek Promise and take the Opal Creek Promise Implementation Plan Survey to share your opinions about potential investments in projects and programs in the Canyon.