U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden visited Newport’s Big Creek dams Tuesday and assured city leaders they had the support of their U.S. Senate delegation for funding the structure’s replacement via federal legislation.

The city of Newport has been eying replacement of its two earthen dams at Big Creek, which impound the municipality’s sole water supply, since 2011, when work performed to build a new water treatment plant revealed the seismic vulnerability of the site. The city has since invested more than $5 million in studies, design and lobbying for funding for a replacement, and it’s on the cusp of a long-sought windfall in federal assistance.

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