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State Sends $5 Million to Oregon Coast Aquarium for Improvements

Published 06/28/21 at 6:35 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

State Sends $5 Million to Oregon Coast Aquarium for Improvements

(Newport, Oregon) – Newport's Oregon Coast Aquarium is about to get a hefty helping hand from the Oregon State Legislature as it is set to approve $5 million from state lottery funds to help improve the buildings and the visitor experience. Senate Bill 5534 puts into action money originally approved for the aquarium in 2019, but that was rescinded during the Coronavirus-19 health crisis due to a lack of lottery bond revenue. (Photos courtesy Oregon Coast Aquarium)

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According to the aquarium's Courtney Pace, it was State Representative David Gomberg who came to bat for the attraction. As a Co-Vice Chair on the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, he acted a strong advocate, citing the facility's role as an economic driver in the state's tourism business.

“I have been working to secure these dollars from the first day the legislature convened, and here we are on the very last day to vote on actually committing these dollars,” stated Gomberg. “The Aquarium has a compelling case to make. It's a critical part of our coastal persona and it's an integral part of Oregon's tourism industry. And it's a darn fun place to visit.”

The aquarium intends to use the appropriation to modify its three indoor galleries. Improvements include modifications to improve traffic flow, exhibit upgrades, new signage and interpretive materials, and an expanded touch pool to provide guests with greater access to hands-on experiences. These funds will also support the installation of new exhibits, including a live coral exhibit and a sea jelly gallery.

Carrie Lewis, President and CEO of Oregon Coast Aquarium, said this will create quite a boon to the visitor's experience.

“We are honored to receive this appropriation from the State of Oregon,” Lewis said. “With this incredible support, we are able to fulfill our dreams of renovating our exhibits to expand our mission of creating a place that highlights our beautiful Oregon coast and inspires ocean conservation.”

The allocated $5 million from the state's lottery bonds provides the Aquarium with half of the funds needed to move forward with Phase II. The Aquarium invites its supporters to help raise the remaining funds by donating via givetoaquarium.org.

Oregon Coast Aquarium is at 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, OR. aquarium.org, 541-867-3474.

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