East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, December 13, 2017, Image 1

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    TASERED
TROOPER
GETS SWEET
APOLOGY
Frozen fog collects on the
edges of a road sign off
Highway 206 on Tuesday
west of Heppner. The freezing
fog will persist in the area
until Friday, according to the
National Weather service.
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
REGION/3A
JONES
WINS IN
ALABAMA
UPSET
BENGALS
BEAT BUCKS
NATION/6A
SPORTS/1B
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2017
142nd Year, No. 40
WINNER OF THE 2017 ONPA GENERAL EXCELLENCE AWARD
Teenager overcomes blindness and autism through music
One dollar
HERMISTON
City claims
different
approach
to tourism
Embraces trade shows, sports
tournaments to draw visitors
By JADE MCDOWELL
East Oregonian
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
Internet sensation Christopher Duffl ey sings an original number called “Keep On” during the annual Christmas party for
Community Counseling Solutions on Tuesday in Heppner.
The power of song
Duffl ey learned to sing before he could carry on a conversation
By KATHY ANEY
East Oregonian
More online
One day last December,
Kimberly Lindsay mindlessly
browsed her Facebook feed
before clicking on a YouTube
video. She sat back and watched.
A 10-year-old boy named
Christopher Duffl ey sang “Open
the Eyes of My Heart.” As the
Heppner woman watched, she
felt intensely moved by the
boy’s sweet voice.
“Open the eyes of my heart,
Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see you
I want to see you”
Lindsay learned Christopher’s
story. At birth, he weighed
less than two pounds and had
cocaine in his system. He was
For video of the
performance visit
eastoregonian.com
blind and autistic. His aunt
and uncle, Christine and Steve
Duffl ey, adopted the baby from
foster care after a lot of prayer.
He learned to sing before he
could carry on a conversation. A
music therapist used music as a
way to help him communicate,
discovering the fi rst day that
Christopher had perfect pitch.
A video of Christopher
singing “Open the Eyes of My
Heart” at the Capitol Center for
the Performing Arts in Concord,
New Hampshire, got more
See DUFFLEY/8A
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
Kimberly Lindsay introduces Christopher Duffl ey at the
annual Christmas party for Community Counseling Solutions
on Tuesday in Heppner. Lindsay saw a viral video of Duffl ey
while on Facebook and worked for nine months to get him to
perform for the party.
A proposed Umatilla County tourism
tax was killed last week after Pendletonians
expressed the sentiment that Hermiston
doesn’t care about tourism, but the city of
Hermiston is pushing back on that notion.
“The proof’s in the pudding that we
are investing in
tourism assets and
“The proof’s
infrastructure, but
you don’t start
in the
marketing the car
pudding that
before you build
the car,” assistant
we are
city manager Mark
Morgan said.
investing
Residents from
in tourism
both ends of the
county expressed
assets and
opposition to the
proposed 2 percent infrastructure,
tax, added to
but you
hotel customers’
room bill, which
don’t start
would have been
earmarked
to marketing the
promote tourism
car before
in Umatilla County
via grants, product
you build
development
the car.”
and
marketing.
But their reasons — Mark Morgan,
for
opposition
highlighted
two assistant city manager
very
different
approaches to tourism.
In Hermiston, the city has invested
heavily in the Eastern Oregon Trade and
Event Center on the southeast edge of
town, including a $1 per room per night
tourism promotion assessment on hotel
rooms that goes directly to marketing
EOTEC (a second dollar per night, added
last year, is being used to pay off bonds
used to complete EOTEC’s construction).
The project started out the 2017-2018
fi scal year with more than $350,000 in TPA
funds in the bank. Now that construction
is complete and venue-management
company VenuWorks is set to take over
management on Jan. 1, the EOTEC board
See TOURISM/8A
HERMISTON
Chamber to move temporarily into Cornerstone Plaza
Offi ce will open in
new location on Jan. 2
By JADE MCDOWELL
East Oregonian
Staff photo by Jade McDowell
The Greater Hermiston Area Chamber of Commerce is
moving its offi ces to the Cornerstone Plaza, two doors down
from Kobe Hibachi Sushi.
After a months-long search for a
new home, the Greater Hermiston Area
Chamber of Commerce will be moving
into the Cornerstone Plaza in early 2018.
The chamber offi ces will be closed the
week of Christmas, re-opening in the new
location at 1055 S. Highway 395, Suite
111, on Jan. 2.
Board chair Josh Burns said the plaza
will not be the chamber’s permanent home,
but will allow them to continue providing
services for chamber members and the
community as they look for the best fi t.
“We’re excited to continue to do what
we’re doing for members,” he said.
The chamber’s offi ces have been
located at the Hermiston Conference
Center as the organization managed the
building under a contract with the city
of Hermiston. In April, however, the city
council voted to end the contract with the
chamber on Dec. 31 and transfer manage-
ment of the conference center to the city’s
parks and recreation department.
According to reasoning given by the
city at the time, the change was spurred by
a 35 percent decrease in revenues for the
conference center, likely due to competi-
tion from the Eastern Oregon Trade and
Event Center. By taking over management
of the conference center the city hopes to
better leverage both resources, directing
See CHAMBER/8A