USDA grant will support better rural internet access in Lane County’s Triangle Lake area

The Triangle Lake area and Triangle Lake Charter School will benefit from Lane County’s slice of the $5.2 billion the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced will be spent on rural infrastructure.

The USDA will send $8.2 million for rural infrastructure to Oregon to be disbursed in Lane, Polk, Sherman and Wasco counties, according to the announcement. The money will be spent in Lane County on expanding broadband access for rural area residents.

Lane County will receive $3 million, the second-largest chunk from Oregon’s share of USDA funding, to be spent on 40 miles of broadband internet expansion.

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Pioneer Telephone Cooperative will use the grant to build a 40-mile fiber-to-the premises system in part of the Triangle Lake area. The grant also funds at least two years of free Internet access at a local community center.

Pioneer will contribute more than $700,000 to the project, according to the announcement.

“We’re thrilled to be expanding our fiber-to-the-home network with the help of this grant, and it’s an exciting time for rural communities,” Pioneer Telephone Cooperative General Manager Jim Rennard said in a news release.

The new fiber network will allow the Triangle Lake Charter School to move forward with its goal to eventually bring to the community direct services, such as mental health counseling, career counseling and additional distance learning opportunities.

“Not only will this project change the way our community stays connected, but it will also shape our growth as a district for years to come,” Blachly School District Superintendent Adam Watkins said in a news release.

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The USDA funding will support rural infrastructure projects in 46 states and Puerto Rico focused on providing access to high-speed internet, clean water and reliable electricity.

“Broadband and municipal water infrastructure are non-negotiables for quality of life, and I will continue to fight to ensure every Oregon family can benefit from infrastructure, regardless of ZIP code,” Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden said in a news release.

The remaining USDA funding for Oregon will go to:

  • $1.2 million for water system in Biggs Junction in Sherman County, including a pump station for well controls and water treatment, and a 400,000-gallon reservoir.

  • $4 million for a wastewater treatment system in the city of Dufur in Wasco County.

  • $30,000 for a preliminary engineering report to evaluate repairs needed for the aging wastewater system in Falls City in Polk County.

Contact reporter Adam Duvernay at Follow on Twitter @DuvernayOR.

This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: USDA grant will support better rural internet access in Lane County’s Triangle Lake area


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