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State Radio Project moves forward in replacing aging public safety communications systems
After a four-month period of rescoping and reassessment and an extensive legislative process, the State Radio Project is moving forward under ODOT's leadership. Efforts on the part of many to define and establish the parameters of this initiative, formerly known as OWIN, the Oregon Wireless Interoperability Network, have come to fruition: in June, legislative funding was finalized and a clear scope established.

Funding for the radio project does not involve any new money. The project is proceeding with funds reduced from those previously authorized, with a revision and reprioritization of its goals and objectives. For the next four years, the total project budget is $146 million. When added to OWIN funds spent ($45 million) and remaining OWIN obligations ($18.4 million), this comes to a total of $209 million.

Over the past few months, the project has been "right-sized." It has been reengineered, assigned a new schedule with the scaled-back budget, and staffed to better fit Oregon’s current fiscal constraints and public safety emergency services requirements. With an emphasis on repairing and modernizing rather than building new systems, the project is upgrading the existing radio systems for ODOT and the Oregon State Police to create an integrated statewide network. The Oregon departments of Corrections and Forestry are participating in an oversight group to help identify opportunities for efficiency and for using funds strategically.
The project is advancing with radio purchases and microwave equipment orders. ODOT has purchased base stations and base radios that are dual-mode (analog and digital), and installation on mountaintops began in August. By year’s end, the project will replace 109 of 223 mountaintop base stations, keeping the project on track to meet the federal narrowbanding deadline of January 1, 2013. The initial purchase of 3100 digital Harris Unity multiband mobile radios and 1850 digital Harris Unity multiband portable radios sets in motion deployment of installation and training for all mobile and portable radios used by ODOT and OSP.

The project is also set to replace the aging analog microwave system, upgrading to digital. Additionally, the project will build a trunked, two-way radio system in a "horseshoe" area that includes the Willamette Valley, north to the Columbia River Gorge, east to The Dalles and south to Bend. Trunking will significantly improve channel access and efficiency in these high radio traffic areas.  
The radio project has a limited budget for interoperability equipment. The project is working through the Statewide Interoperability Executive Council to lay the foundation for future statewide interoperability. The radio project recently coordinated completion of draft Tactical Interoperability Communication Plans for all 36 Oregon counties and the satisfaction of Goal 2 of the National Emergency Communications Plan.
More information is available in the project’s monthly update and on the project’s website