The John Day City Council on Sept. 22

John Day City Councilor Shannon Adair, left, City Manager Nick Green, center, and Mayor Lundbom during the city council meeting Sept. 22. Holly Fowler from Northbound Ventures and Meryl Harrell from Meryl Harrell Consulting presented to the council online.

John Day again failed to secure a large federal transportation grant.

The city’s second BUILD Grant submission was not funded this year, and only one project in Oregon receiving funds from the Grant.

John Day City Manager Nick Green said he felt the application submitted this year was stronger than last year’s application after making adjustments from the feedback received in 2019.

“We’re going to have to re-evaluate and apply again in 12 months,” Green said. “I don’t know how to do better than what we’re doing. We put everything we got into these applications.”

The Oregon project receiving funding was a bridge on Interstate 84.

“We cannot compete with an interstate bridge between two states along I-84,” Green said.

Green said what he took from this is that the United States is drastically underfunding infrastructure and systematically failed to reach a bipartisan agreement on investing in it.

There aren’t many alternative funding sources the city could use to fund street improvements without the city funding it through tax increases, according to Green.

Councillor Elliot Sky said when he was thinking about strengthening the BUILD grant application, collaboration with the county or more partnerships could help.

Green said the city has preliminary engineering plans, the transportation system plan, and has done all the environmental work and land acquisition, but lacks the finances for the road projects.

The BUILD grant is the Department of Transportation’s opportunity to invest in infrastructure to help road, rail, transit and port projects around the nation. President Donald Trump’s administration approved $1 billion for the grant program this year.

The BUILD grant would have helped fund projects for the Seventh Street Extension, Charolais Heights and Third Street Extension bridge.

The city will receive feedback on their application in one or two months, and John Day Mayor Ron Lundbom said the city will have to just keep trying.

In other city news:

• The city council reached a consensus to credit up to $5,000 in water for the splash pad to the John Day/Canyon City Parks and Recreation with the balance going to them.

• The city council passed a resolution to authorize expenditures of the Multimodal Transportation Enhance Program Grant. This authorizes the city to amend this fiscal year’s budget to increase grant proceeds by $40,000 and expenditures for the water lines relocations for the Highway 395 South Sidewalk Enhancement Project.


Rudy Diaz is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at or 541-575-0710.

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