East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, November 21, 2017, Page Page 8A, Image 8

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    Page 8A
East Oregonian
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
BECK: Funeral service is
Nov. 25 at New Hope Church
Continued from 1A
Courtesy Photo
The Rivoli Theater before (left) and after (right) façade improvements assisted by the Pendleton Development
Courtesy Photo
The Medernach Building on Main Street before (left) and after (right) façade improvements assisted by the
Pendleton Development Commission.
PENDLETON: City manager wants to move
the railroad switch yard out of the downtown area
Continued from 1A
way to the red-brick frontages
that more closely resemble
their historical character.
The façade program was
a point of pride for many
participants, especially the
St. George Plaza project,
which brightened a formerly
derelict building. Denight
said the façade grant
program was still providing
assistance to projects like
the Oregon Grain Growers
Brand Distillery, Sisters Cafe
and Dairy Queen.
A few audience members
also lauded the second-story
program and the commis-
sion’s efforts to catalog the
vacant historic spaces and
work with building owners
to develop them. Jordan
McDonald, a member of
the commission’s advisory
committee, said the program
needs to remain a priority,
and could bring some prop-
erties back onto the tax rolls.
“If they’re not assessed,
it’s like they’re invisible,”
he said. “Putting them back
in use is like building a new
building. To me, that’s the
most important thing we can
But not every program has
bore fruit. A few commission
and committee members
mentioned the river quarter,
a stretch of Court Avenue
land by the Umatilla River
between Southwest First
Street and Southwest 10th
Street that was supposed to
use incentives to spur river-
front development. To date,
no private developer has
used the incentive or started
any development.
Chuck Wood, a former
city councilor and commis-
sion chairman, said the river
quarter was a “jewel” that
was being “totally underuti-
Brown compared the area to
the Pearl District in Portland,
saying it was too expensive
to develop.
Other meeting attendees
said the commission needed
to focus more on blight. Paul
Chalmers, a councilor and
commission chairman, called
it the “elephant in the room.”
Mayor John Turner said
combating blight was easier
said than done.
“It’s easy to talk about
(blight),” he said. “It’s easy
to come up with plans to try
to improve it. But to actually
implement those plans, it’s
very frustrating.”
Rather than propose
broad, overarching ideas,
some attendees favored
targeting specific areas for
Denight liked the idea of
improving the urban renewal
district on a block-by-block
basis. More specifically,
Denight wanted to target
the LaDow Block at the 200
block of Court Avenue, as
well as Zimmerman & Co.
True Value Hardware for
façade grants.
City Manager Robb
Corbett also had a specific
list of projects he wants the
commission to accomplish,
including more festive
lighting in the downtown area
during Christmas, moving
the Union Pacific Railroad
switch yard out of the
downtown area and finding a
sustainable source of funding
for the Pendleton Downtown
Association. The merchant
organization currently relies
on the commission for oper-
ational costs.
seemed open to the idea
of the commission buying
blighted properties and
working with a private devel-
oper to develop them.
without a consensus on
whether the district should
continue beyond 2023.
Councilor Scott Fairley
suggested more public input
and work would need to be
done before that decision
was made.
“Let’s identify what we
want to accomplish and let’s
see if that merits extending
the district,” he said.
Contact Antonio Sierra at
or 541-966-0836.
“Foul play is not
suspected at this time,”
Kilian said. “We are
chasing down some leads
as to where she could have
gone before her death.”
Kilian said he hopes to
receive the report by this
Smith said they don’t
know much about the
events that preceded his
mother’s death, but they
know she visited a bar that
evening. He said someone
did see her at the bar, but
he’s not sure who.
Smith said his father,
Darrell Smith, found his
mother. He said Darrell
arrived after his sister
alerted him that Beck was
“He met up with the
police, had dinner, and
then they went back to the
hotel,” Smith said. “He told
my stepbrother to pack, and
then he said he went down
to the canal, looked and saw
her backside and legs.”
Smith said his father
called the police, and it
took them five or six hours
to remove Beck from the
canal. The area was treated
as a crime scene.
Smith said his mother
had lived in Hermiston
until June, when she moved
to Gresham. While in
Hermiston, Beck became
known for her work as an
autism advocate. Jacob has
autism and Beck founded
a nonprofit organization
called Unlocking Autism.
Last December, she donated
Christmas gifts and a visit
from Santa for autistic
students at West Park
Elementary, raising money
through her membership
with the Hermiston board
of Realtors.
She was also active
in helping Jacob go to
a national zookeeper’s
conference by making and
selling jambalaya in the
Smith said he spoke
to his mother a few hours
before she went missing.
“The one thing I can say
walking away from this is
that I’m just happy she got
to spend time with Jacob
before it was all over,” said
Smith, who is Jacob’s twin
A family friend has set
up a GoFundMe page to
raise money for funeral
expenses, and to help
support Beck’s four chil-
There is a funeral service
for Beck on Saturday, Nov.
25 at 1 p.m., at New Hope
Church, 1350 S. Hwy 395,
Smith said they are
looking for answers, but
they also hope to be able to
find peace of mind.
“I think all of us are
taking it one day, one hour
at a time,” he said. “We just
want everyone to come and
show respect at the funeral.”
Ramakrishnan at 541-564-
4534 or jramakrishnan@
Evening Celebration | 6:00 PM
Family Day | 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
FREE ADMISSION (thanks to Wildhorse Resort & Casino)
• Prime rib & seafood dinner
• Lunch with Santa & his elves
• Live and silent auctions
• Make ornaments & playdough
• Live jazz band & entertainment
• Write letters to Santa
Pendleton Convention Center
For more information or to purchase tickets, contact
St. Anthony Hospital Foundation at (541) 966-0528.
All proceeds benefit the Children’s Museum of Eastern Oregon,
Pioneer Relief Nursery, and St. Anthony Hospital Foundation.