East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, May 04, 2017, Page Page 3A, Image 3

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Thursday, May 4, 2017
East Oregonian
Union Pacific replacing
10,000 railroad ties
Part of $77.1M statewide
infrastructure investment
East Oregonian
Union Pacific is in the
process of replacing roughly
10,000 railroad ties in Herm-
iston as part of a $77.1 million
investment in rail infrastruc-
ture across Oregon.
Spokesman Justin Jacobs
said the project began April
24 and should finish by
mid-May. The goal, Jacobs
said, is to give the tracks in
Hermiston a face lift and
improve safety.
UP has set aside $44.7
million to maintain railroad
tracks and $3.2 million to
maintain bridges statewide.
The railroad has already
invested more than $300
million in Oregon rail infra-
structure between 2012 and
2016, according to company
“Union Pacific’s targeted
investments fund projects that
strengthen our railroad tracks,
increase safety and minimize
delays as trains travel through
communities across Oregon,”
said Wes Lujan, vice presi-
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
A Union Pacific construction vehicle uses a
mechanical arm to place new railroad ties alongside
the railroad spur Wednesday off Umatilla River Road
north of Hermiston.
dent of public affairs for the
railroad’s Western Region in
a previous statement. “Main-
taining a healthy railroad is
the foundation of our ability to
serve customers and commu-
nities across the state.”
Other projects slated for
Oregon tracks include:
• $9.3 million to replace 21
miles of rail between Klamath
Falls and Chemult.
• $12.1 million to replace
87,978 railroad ties between
Huntington, Oregon, and
Caldwell, Idaho.
• $14.3 million to replace
102,683 railroad ties between
Portland and Oakridge.
UP plans to spend $3.1
billion across its entire rail
network in 2017. Since
2000, the railroad has spent
$51 billion and decreased
derailments by 40 percent,
though last year’s high-pro-
file oil train derailment near
Mosier has spurred concerns
about rail safety across the
Mendoza is board’s choice for superintendent
The La Grande Observer
George Mendoza, the
assistant superintendent of
the Morrow County School
District, may soon become
the next superintendent of the
La Grande School District.
The La Grande School
Board reached consensus last
week night to have contract
negotiations begin between
Mendoza and the school
district’s legal counsel. If
a contractual agreement is
reached and Mendoza is
formally named superinten-
dent, he will succeed Larry
Glaze, who will retire at the
end of June.
Mendoza and Mike
Kay, the Hermiston School
District’s executive director
of operations, were the two
finalists for La Grande’s
superintendent position.
The school board came to
a consensus on the selection
of Mendoza while meeting in
executive session. Following
the executive session the
board came into open session
and chair Merle Comfort
announced that Mendoza
was who the board wanted.
Comfort said the board hopes
to formally name Mendoza
as superintendent at its May
10 meeting.
“I think George will be
an outstanding superinten-
dent for La Grande,’’ said
La Grande School Board
member Joe Justice.
Mendoza has been the
Morrow County School
District assistant superinten-
dent since 2011, according
to Mendoza’s LinkedIn
profile. He has 20 years of
experience as an educator, 16
as an administrator. He grad-
uated from Eastern Oregon
University in 1997 and is a
member of EOU’s board of
Page 3A
Hermiston man arrested
on rape charges
HERMISTON — A Hermiston man
was arrested Tuesday on rape charges.
Elias Nava Flores, 24, allegedly had
sexual contact with a child younger than
12 at a residence in
Hermiston in April,
according to a news
release from the
Umatilla County
Sheriff’s Office.
He is charged
with rape in the first
degree, sodomy in
the first degree and
unlawful possession of Flores
According to
the sheriff’s office, Flores was arrested
Tuesday after detectives met with the
victim’s relative about the alleged sexual
contact between Flores and the victim.
Flores was taken into custody after
being interviewed about the allegations,
and according to the sheriff’s office
had a substance suspected to be
methamphetamine in his possession at the
time of arrest.
He was lodged in the Umatilla County
Jail. Additional charges may be pending.
Man remains in critical
condition after ATV rollover
PENDLETON — Chase Ammons
of Pendleton is still in critical condition
at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in
Richland after an all-terrain vehicle crash
almost two weeks ago. Family members
started an online account to raise money
for his medical bills.
Pendleton fire chief Mike Ciraulo said
the department around 12:30 a.m. on April
20 responded to a report of a possible
crash on Highway 11. The ambulance
crew found a 30-year-old man in need of
emergency medical help.
“We had to intubate him all the way
to his lungs,” Ciraulo said. “He was in
serious condition.”
He appeared to be the victim of an ATV
rollover, the fire chief said, and was not
wearing a helmet when the ambulance
The first plan was to fly him in an air
ambulance, but Ciraulo said LifeFlight
was not able to take off. Pendleton rushed
him to Good Shepherd Medical Center,
Hermiston, due to the extent of his
Chase and his wife, Stefanie, married
in 2015, according to East Oregonian
records. A neighbor of the Chase family
on Tuesday alerted the EO to the crash and
a GoFundMe webpage, which has raised
more than $7,200 toward a $15,000 goal.
Lacey Ammons-Slater set up the page
but did not respond to a message before
According to the webpage, the couple
have two boys, one 3 years and the other 8
Council hands city manager
more spending authority
PENDLETON — At a meeting
Tuesday, the Pendleton City Council
unanimously approved an ordinance that
gives city manager Robb Corbett and
department heads more spending authority.
Corbett can now spend up to $50,000
and department heads can spend up to
$5,000 without council authorization.
When he was president of Blue Moun-
tain Community College, Mayor John
Turner said he could spend up to $75,000
without board approval, so the increases
were in line with other government
Councilor Neil Brown said this
ordinance wouldn’t hand city staff a blank
check, but would instead allow them to
move faster on projects already approved
in the budget.
The council also unanimously approved
an ordinance that expands how city staff
sell, donate or dispose of surplus property.
Lastly, the council approved a $126,476
bid to VSS International of West Sacra-
mento, California, for slurry and crack seal
work on city roads.
West Umatilla Mosquito
Control to begin spraying
Spraying for mosquitoes has begun in
west Umatilla County.
The West Umatilla Mosquito Control
District reports large bodies of water will
be sprayed using a helicopter while smaller
areas will be treated by hand. The district
will also use “ultra low volume foggers”
mounted on trucks to spray for adult
mosquitoes in problem areas during early
evening hours just after sunset.
If you do not wish to have your property
sprayed, call the district at 541-567-5201
and ask to be placed on a no-spray list.
The district — which covers about 525
square miles encompassing Hermiston,
Umatilla, Stanfield and Echo — has 12
species of mosquitoes including two that
have been named possible carriers of West
Nile virus.
Property owners can do their part to
cut down on the mosquito population
by eliminating standing water where
mosquitoes breed. They can keep gutters
and ditches clear, remove junk from yards,
change birdbath and pet water frequently,
fill in holes, screen rain barrels, cover trash
containers and stock ornamental ponds
with mosquito-eating fish.
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