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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 10, 2018)
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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2018
142nd Year, No. 60
WINNER OF THE 2017 ONPA GENERAL EXCELLENCE AWARD
Council to form committee
to look at funding sources
By ANTONIO SIERRA
EOTEC board chair as well as
the Hermiston city manger, said
VenuWorks’ original estimate
that EOTEC could break even
by 2020 is only true if the city
and Umatilla County purchase
the equipment (instead of adding
rental costs to the operations
budget), and if the RV park is
completed so that it could become
a source of revenue.
At a previous meeting, the
One year ago, the Pendleton Down-
town Association left the Pendleton City
Council chambers with one year of salary
for their executive director and a stern
warning to spend that year looking for
alternative sources of funding.
On Tuesday, Molly Turner, the associ-
ation’s executive director, returned to the
council and asked that the city help fund
her position permanently.
Not including city staff members,
about 25 people packed the council
annex room to support the association for
a council workshop, a monthly meeting
that usually attracts two or three members
of the public.
In front of the council once again,
Turner made her pitch.
Under Turner’s stewardship, she said
the association’s membership rose to 90
members and is expanding its executive
board from seven members to nine.
The association has also spent the
past year creating and sustaining events
like the Pendleton Holiday Stroll and
Pendleton Comes Alive. More events
are planned for 2018, including a pub
crawl and a three-on-three basketball
Turner also highlighted the initiatives
the association has either implemented
or is in the process of developing, like
a downtown tree replacement program,
a shopper’s survey and a secret shopper
Through grants the association has
obtained for projects like the Rivoli
Theater restoration or fencing near the
railroad tracks, Turner calculated that the
association has generated $5.74 for each
dollar the city has spent on her salary.
While the association has looked
toward other sources of funding, Turner
said grants that cover operational costs
are hard to come by.
“We’re constantly seeking new and
alternative grant source for funding, but
there just aren’t many out there,” she said.
Turner proposed the city contribute
$55,000 annually to the downtown asso-
ciation’s operations for the next two years,
then giving $40,000 for every year after
that. She added that the city’s funding
would eventually be supplemented by an
estimated $35,000 from other sources,
including membership dues, corporate
sponsorships and fundraising events.
Turner said other downtown orga-
nizations receive funding from their
local government, including groups in
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
Hermiston Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter says his department will be taking inventory and reevaluating the
capabilities of the Hermiston Community Center.
New focus on ‘community’
Council changes name, policies
at former conference center
council meeting parks and
recreation director Larry
Fetter said the goal of the
policies adopted by the city
is to “retain the original intent
of the community center as
a gathering space and home
for diverse cultural and recre-
ational programming.” The
city hopes now that the Eastern
Oregon Trade and Event
Center plus the new Maxwell
Siding Event Center can take
over some of the weddings
and quinceañeras previously
By JADE MCDOWELL
The Hermiston Conference
Center will now be known as
the Hermiston Community
Center after the city council
approved a series of changes
in policy and pricing at the
The city of Hermiston’s
parks and recreation depart-
ment took over management
of the center from the Greater
Hermiston Area Chamber of
Commerce on Jan. 1.
During Monday’s city
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
Participants in an agricultural safety seminar ﬁ le out of the
Hermiston Conference Center.
Councilors blast EOTEC for lack of planning
By JADE MCDOWELL
The Hermiston City Council
vented frustration with the Eastern
Oregon Trade and Event Center
on Monday after hearing the
center needs $1.2 million and that
the board has not yet adopted an
ofﬁ cial vision or longterm plan.
“Something has got to change,”
Mayor David Drotzmann said.
“These knee-jerk reactions and
decisions don’t solve problems,
“Something has got to change.
These knee-jerk reactions and decisions
don’t solve problems, they create them.”
— Mayor David Drotzmann
they create them.”
The EOTEC board hired the
VenuWorks to operate the project
starting Jan. 1, and one of the ﬁ rst
things the company did was put
together a list of everything they
needed to run EOTEC. The list
ran the gamut from lawnmowers
to storage sheds to completion of
the RV park. The cost of fulﬁ lling
those needs was estimated at $1.2
Byron Smith, who is the
Megaﬁ res a growing concern for Climate Change Coalition
Jeff Blackwood receives
climate champion award
By KATHY ANEY
Staff photo by Kathy Aney
Pendleton Fire Chief Mike Ciraulo speaks Saturday about how
ﬁ re seasons are getting longer and more intense at Blue Moun-
tain Community College.
Jeff Blackwood sat back and listened,
his brown eyes trained on the keynote
speaker at the annual meeting (the ﬁ rst
annual meeting) of the Eastern Oregon
Climate Change Coalition.
Blackwood would soon be announced
as the group’s choice as 2018 Climate
Champion, given to an Eastern Oregonian
who raises local public awareness about
But Blackwood didn’t know that yet.
In front of the Blue Mountain Commu-
nity College meeting room, Pendleton
Fire Chief Mike Ciraulo talked about
mammoth wildﬁ res resulting from years
of intense ﬁ re suppression coupled with
climate change. Ciraulo, who came to
Oregon from California, has fought ﬁ re
for 35 years. The job is getting harder.
“I’ve seen change,” he said.
California has always had plenty of
ﬁ re on the landscape. Ciraulo spoke of
the frustration of working to save neigh-
borhoods nestled into brushy and forested
areas. He remembered packing up ﬁ re
equipment afterwards and knowing they
would someday return.
“We knew we would be back in 20
years,” he said. “They will rebuild and
it’ll burn again.”
Fast-forward to today and the rise of
the megaﬁ res — infernos that exceed
100,000 acres. Hotter temperatures mean
busier ﬁ re seasons.
Fireﬁ ghters from all around the nation,