Tourism Funds Protected

Remaining funds present unique opportunities to invest in tourism initiatives

By Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association

Wilsonville, OR – Salem’s Budget Committee approved a stop-gap solution to fund the library through a Cultural and Tourism Fund, finding access to American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars outside of any restricted lodging tax revenues. The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) confirmed with the City Attorney the ARPA funds will be used as a one-time resource to backfill their library shortfall, a legal move within the rules for those federal dollars.

Coming out of the pandemic, Oregon received $4.262 billion in ARPA funding, with approximately $2.76 billion going to the state and $1.5 billion distributed to Oregon cities and counties. After Salem uses $1.2 million of their ARPA funds to preserve staff and services for the library for a year, it’s anticipated there will still be close to $2 million remaining in the Cultural and Tourism Fund.

“Having such a robust beginning balance in this fund is a great opportunity for us to assist Salem’s hospitality industry in their ongoing recovery efforts post pandemic while potentially driving new lodging tax revenue for the City in support of future fiscal years,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “This is a strategic moment for the region and city collaborations with Travel Salem, the Salem Area Lodging Association, and the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce should be put in motion to invest in creative tourism programs or initiatives local stakeholders feel can drive new tourism traffic.”

ORLA continues to support and protect tourism funding across the state, ensuring appropriate, strategic investments are made to drive tourism year-round and help build stronger economies. When tourism investments are driven through collaborative efforts involving all stakeholders, everyone benefits. New tourists result in more dollars through visitor spending and lodging taxes, bringing more revenue to local economies.

For more information on the importance of protecting transient lodging tax revenues, visit the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association’s website at Read more on ORLA’s public policy proposals for how ARPA funds could best be leveraged for Oregon’s tourism and hospitality industries.


The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which is comprised of over 10,220 foodservice locations and 2,000 lodging establishments. As of December 2023, the Oregon Employment Department reports the Leisure and Hospitality workforce totals 208,700 with a total economic impact of over $13.8 billion in annual sales for Oregon.

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