Kilmer Secures More Than $9.7 Million in New Federal Funding for Community Projects in Clallam County
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted to pass the Consolidated Appropriations Act, government funding legislation that includes new federal funding for local priorities in Clallam County. Specifically, the government funding package includes:
- $1,911,875 for the Lower Elwha Tribal Community for facilities and equipment
- $4.853 million for the Makah Indian Tribe for facilities and equipment
- $2,965,800 for the Clallam County and City of Port Angeles Joint Emergency Services and Public Safety Facility
The funding for the Makah Indian Tribe aims to help the tribe expand and relocate the critical medical services of the Sophie Trettevick Indian Health Center out of the Tsunami Inundation Zone and meet the needs of its growing population. The funding for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe aims to help the tribe advance the planning and development phases of the Lower Elwha Klallam Health and Wellness Complex, which will provide access to a wide range of high-quality, culturally sensitive services for tribal members, and additional health and social services to the broader community. And the funding for Clallam County will support the construction of a Joint Emergency and Public Safety Facility.
With regard to the funding to improve healthcare for Tribes on the North Olympic Peninsula, Kilmer said, “Native communities in our region and across our country have consistently struggled to deliver essential health services and programs to support reservation residents. The federal government has an obligation to fulfill its trust and treaty responsibilities and to make sure that people have the resources they need to live healthy lives. That’s why I’m proud to have secured more than $6.7 million to advance projects that will make a big difference for tribes on the Olympic Peninsula.”
“The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe has been awarded $1.9 million for site planning, design preparation, and initial construction stages of the Lower Elwha Klallam Health and Wellness Complex. The Health and Wellness Complex will be constructed on the 40-acre campus that houses the current Lower Elwha Health Department buildings. This funding will be the catalyst for enhancing prevention-focused care and optimizing long-term health outcomes for the tribe, the surrounding tribes that utilize healthcare services at the Lower Elwha Tribe, and the Port Angeles community. Most importantly, it will provide renewed energy and opportunity for young tribal people to mitigate chronic disease that has historically plagued Native communities. The Lower Elwha Health and Wellness Complex has been a dream of many tribal members and employees for quite some time. Planning was started 15+ years ago by a group of committed tribal members who have continued to advocate for this project over the years. With the support of tribal leadership, the work of key employees, and the voices of community members, this dream can now begin to be realized by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal People,” said Frances Charles, Tribal Chairwoman for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.
“This funding will support the relocation of our only healthcare facility out of the Tsunami Inundation Zone and a connectivity shadow, which is a long-term priority of the Makah Tribe. The pandemic has underscored the importance of the resilience of our local healthcare systems and infrastructure,” said Chairman Timothy J. Greene, Sr., Makah Tribal Council. “This is not only an investment in the health of the Makah people, but an investment in community and climate resilience, disaster preparedness, and continuity of care. The relocation of the Clinic will also include a much-needed expansion in services to meet the healthcare needs of our growing tribe and will create several new jobs.”
Studies show that greater access to high-quality preventive, curative, and rehabilitative health and wellness services is the key to healthier individuals and healthier communities. This is especially true for rural, historically-underserved populations, including Native American communities — which historically experience significant health disparities, disproportionate disease burden, and lower life expectancies.
The development project for the Lower Elwha Klallam Health and Wellness Complex is in its initial stages. The site for the Health and Wellness Complex will be on the 40-acre campus on Highway 101, just west of the City of Port Angeles, where it will be co-located with the existing facilities of the Lower Elwha Family Health Clinic and Klallam Counseling Services for Chemical Dependency. The Lower Elwha Health and Wellness Complex aims to provide easier access to a wider range of high-quality, culturally sensitive services and provide the same proven short- and long-term benefits for the current and future members of the communities they serve.
The new federal funding aims to help the tribe advance the long-term priority of the Makah Tribal Council to expand and relocate STIHC outside of the Tsunami Inundation Zone and better meet the needs of the community. Investments in the Makah Tribe’s healthcare infrastructure are both essential from an equity and public health standpoint, as well as consistent with the federal trust obligations under the 1855 Treaty of Neah Bay. This project aims to provide much-needed expansion of healthcare services, build community resilience by incorporating climate change and disaster preparedness into core infrastructure, and create new permanent jobs in an area of high unemployment.
Rep. Kilmer led the effort to secure funding for the project through the House Appropriations Committee’s Community Project Funding process. The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s project was supported by the City of Port Angeles and Clallam County Health and Human Services.
With regard to the Clallam County and City of Port Angeles Joint Emergency Services and Public Safety Facility, Kilmer said, “This investment is about protecting public safety. It’s about supporting law enforcement and emergency responders by ensuring they have a modern, resilient, and capable facility to meet the needs of the people of Clallam County. This facility will ensure local public safety authorities have the tools and resources they need to serve four tribal governments, three municipalities, a county, an international airport, a state prison, and a National Park.”
“The Clallam County Commissioners are extremely pleased that the joint project with the City of Port Angeles for the Emergency Operations Center and 911 Police Dispatch facility have the potential to secure approximately $3 million in funding,” said Randy Johnson, Commissioner Clallam County Board of Commissioners. “We are especially pleased that the Congressman took time to look at our outdated and seismically and electronically deficient facilities. We all recognize that in an event of a major disaster, the citizens of Clallam County absolutely need to have new facilities that are structurally secure at the Airport. This project has been in the planning stage for many years, and with Federal, State, City and County funding combined and all working together, the project completion is becoming a reality.
“The Clallam County Sheriff’s office would like to express our thanks for Congressman Kilmer’s interest and support for a joint Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Police Dispatch facility. He succeeded in getting almost $3 million in funding to make the project move forward. This new facility will replace a seismically compromised EOC that is 44 years old. Congressman Kilmer and his staff have been with us for the past eight years as we have researched and planned this facility,” said Bill Benedict, Sheriff, Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.
“The City of Port Angeles is so grateful for Rep. Kilmer’s support of this joint project with Clallam County,” said Kate Dexter, Mayor of Port Angeles. “The co-location of these operations in a new facility is critical for our community. This appropriation will help get this project to the finish line for the benefit of our entire county.”
“The City and the Port Angeles Police Department are very grateful to see our long-term project receive significant attention from our elected officials,” said Port Angeles Chief of Police Brian Smith. “This funding will help us move forward with a modern and survivable 9-1-1 center that serves the entire county and will be fully interoperable with the new emergency operations center”.
Clallam County is home to four tribal governments, three city municipalities, an international airport, a large senior citizen population, a state prison, a National Park, commercial and recreational boating harbors, and a burgeoning tourism industry. A contemporary, combined, and right-sized Joint Public Safety Facility aims to help ensure regional emergency services can help save lives, protect property, and assist every member of the public in their time of need.
At all times – and particularly during disaster situations – Emergency Management and 911 Dispatch are critical operations. According to the City of Port Angeles, current EOC and 911 dispatch facilities are not suitable for sustained emergency operations. The current communications room, located at the Fire Department, houses EOC communications equipment, emergency phone system communications, and data servers. With the planned addition of significant hardware and software assets, controlled heating/cooling and fire suppression capabilities are required. Additional emergency power and battery backup capabilities are also needed. The current 911 operation, located in the Police Department, is inadequately sized to meet future demands. Additionally, the location of the current facility is not seismically suitable and is not expected to survive a significant earthquake.
A Joint Public Safety Facility (JPSF) would allow for EOC and PenCom facilities to be co-located. According to the City, at a JPSF, the two entities would be able to more easily and quickly communicate in the event of an emergency. The JPSF would be located nearby the airport runway, where aid and relief would be brought into Clallam County in disaster situations. This modern facility would also allow for innovative technologies, such as solar power and satellite communications. In the future, the JPSF may also house a westside fire station.
Rep. Kilmer led the effort to secure funding for the project through the House Appropriations Committee’s Community Project Funding process.
The JPSF project was supported by: Ten Fire Districts/ambulance agencies, five law enforcement agencies, the Elwha Tribe, The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, The Makah Tribe, The Quileute Tribe, The Department of Corrections, The Olympic National Park, The City of Forks, The City of Port Angeles, The City of Sequim, Clallam County, The Port of Port Angeles, Washington State Patrol, Washington State Representatives Tharinger and Chapman, Washington State Senator Van De Wege, and United States Coast Guard – USGC Air Station, Port Angeles.
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