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Oregon State Parks to build more campsites, improve facilities

Oregon lawmakers approved $50 million to fund a series of improvement projects

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon State Parks will be getting some major upgrades thanks to a $50 million bond announced earlier this month

Half of the money will come in May 2022, and the other half will come a year later in March 2023. 

"As our facilities continue to age, that is a huge, huge help with that," said Matt Rippee, park services manager. 

The funding will address a maintenance backlog but also expand campsites and provide a wide range of other facilities, he said.

Improvements on tap for the Willamette Valley include major expansions at Silver Falls and Champoeg parks, according to a release from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission. 

At Champoeg, builders will construct a new camping loop, riverside cabins, and a restroom and shower building. The Silver Falls development will include a campground with restrooms and showers, a North Gateway Visitor Center, and a new North Canyon trailhead and parking lot. 

Also thanks to the bond, the Portland Women’s Forum viewpoint on the Historic Columbia River Highway will get new restrooms and more parking.

"We want to give Oregonians that live in the most populous part of the state an opportunity to experience what Oregon State Parks is all about and do that a little bit closer to home," said Rippee.

Money will also go to building a new visitor center at the site of the historic Kam Wah Chung general store in John Day. 

Visitor centers, restrooms, parking lots and other upgrades are on the list for other Oregon state parks as well, from Fort Stevens to Smith Rock.

Oregon State Parks will have up to three years after the funds are received to spend the money.

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