East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, January 23, 2018, Page Page 8A, Image 8

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    Tuesday, January 23, 2018
EOTEC: $1.1M set aside in 2017 transportation package to improve Ott and Airport
Page 8A
East Oregonian
Continued from 1A
earlier prediction by Venu-
Works of cost overruns in the
first two years. The county
would also pay its $105,000
portion of the final overrun
on EOTEC’s construction
VenuWorks has also
created a list of equipment,
storage and other things
needed to run EOTEC year-
round. Under Murdock’s
proposal, the county would
still pay $595,000 for its half
of that outlay. The Umatilla
County Fair would also agree
to increase its lease payment
from $10,000 per year to
$100,000 per year. The
county plans to make those
payments using the $500,000
it will receive annually from
Lamb Weston’s enterprise
zone tax payment.
The city would be
expected to agree to build a
storage facility, office space
and conference room some-
where on EOTEC property
for use by the fair. There are
not currently enough offices
in EOTEC’s event center for
all VenuWorks and fair staff,
and the fair has been storing
items in shipping containers
on the property.
City manager Byron
Smith said he envisioned an
EOTEC board that would act
as an advisory committee to
the city council, which would
be the governing board.
Drotzmann said that
while transferring ownership
to the city may sound like
the county was giving up
and walking away, he was
thankful that the county was
willing to make investments
that it had already agreed to.
“The county acknowl-
edges their responsibility,
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
The city of Hermiston will take over full ownership and liability of the EOTEC
facilities in spring 2018.
“This agreement
creates budget cer-
tainty for the county
and a location for
the fair and rodeo,
but also relieves the
county of many of
the burdens of day
to day operations.”
— George Murdock,
Umatilla County commissioner
they own up to it,” he said.
“They don’t just want to
drop this on the city of
Murdock said he drafted
the proposal the way he did
because he recognized that
the city wanted more control
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
Umatilla County Commissioner George Murdock reads
a proposal to dissolve the intergovernmental agreement
where Umatilla County and the City of Hermiston would
manage EOTEC on Monday in Hermiston.
of EOTEC’s destiny, but the
county also wanted to see
EOTEC succeed and felt
there was a moral and ethical
obligation to see certain
things through.
“This agreement creates
budget certainty for the
county and a location for
the fair and rodeo, but also
relieves the county of many
of the burdens of day to day
operations,” he said.
Councilor John Kirwan
pointed out that he had ques-
tioned before whether the
city council should take the
EOTEC board’s place and it
seemed like a good time to
make the transition. He said
it was obvious everyone in
the crowded room wanted
EOTEC to succeed, and a lot
of good work had gone into
making the project happen,
but “if we don’t change how
we’re doing it the results
are not going to be good for
anybody in this room.”
The city and county
signed their agreement
creating EOTEC in 2013, but
the two entities were working
on the project long before
that. The city of Hermiston
donated the 90 acres where
the project is located, and
in April 2012 the county
commission voted to sell
the former Umatilla County
fairgrounds to the Herm-
iston School District for $3
million, which was then used
as seed money for EOTEC.
The votes taken by both
governing bodies on Monday
did not dissolve the intergov-
ernmental agreement yet, but
rather directed negotiations
to begin dissolving the agree-
ment by March 1. While
Murdock’s proposal seemed
supported overall, there
were sticking points. The
city council only wants to
take the portions of Ott Road
and Airport Road bordering
EOTEC, for example, while
the county commission
expressed a hope the council
would consider taking all
of it. There is $1.1 million
set aside in the legislature’s
2017 transportation package
to improve Ott and Airport,
but Smith said it would take
more than that to improve
them to the standard needed
to handle traffic during fair
While Drotzmann assured
the audience there would
be more time for public
comment than just Monday’s
meeting, neighbor Chris
Waine said he did not believe
six weeks was enough time
for the proposal to be vetted
by the community. He also
questioned, as a county
taxpayer, whether the county
was walking away from a
huge investment before it
had a chance to get a return
on that investment.
When asked his opinion
on the proposal, former
interim EOTEC general
manager Nate Rivera said
part of the problem with
EOTEC’s lack of longterm
vision has been that so
many people involved in
the project disagree on what
the definition of a successful
EOTEC is — one that hosts
the best fair and rodeo
possible, one that is profit-
able, or something else. He
said they needed to decide on
that definition, and to realize
that their definition might
not match that of donors and
volunteers who had contrib-
EOTEC board member
Larry Givens said it was
“pretty tough” for him to
take the vote after so much
involvement in EOTEC, but
he thought overall it was
“one of the best moves we
can make.”
Contact Jade McDowell
at jmcdowell@eastorego-
nian.com or 541-564-4536.
MARCH: Special children’s story time was held prior to the event
Continued from 1A
Referred to as a peaceful
protest against intolerance
and injustice, a central theme
among those who spoke was
encouraging people to share
their voice, including by
going to the polls.
“Voting is a critical part of
our democracy,” said Karen
Wagner of Pendleton.
Wagner said she’s lived
in and visited other countries
where women can’t vote.
She urged people to recog-
nize that voting is our right
and responsibility and not
something to be taken for
Finding her voice since
attending the 2017 march,
Daphny Chen shared from the
microphone. The 17-year-old
is president of Gay Straight
Alliance, a student-led group
at Pendleton High School
that promotes equality.
“Last year I was in the
crowd and was afraid to
speak out,” she said.
Chen said she was repre-
senting other young people
who were either afraid to
speak up or whose parents
wouldn’t let them attend the
Kids in step
with women’s march
Prior to the event, a
special children’s story
time was held at the library.
Assistant director Jennifer
Costley said during the 2017
march she noticed the crowd
gathering in the parking lot
and she decided it provided a
perfect opportunity to further
include children.
Costley read “Let the
Children March” by Monica
Clark-Robinson and “The
Pink Hat” by Andrew Joyner.
Both newly published books
Staff photo by Kathy Aney
Between 350 and 400 people gathered for the Wom-
en’s March in Pendleton.
Staff photo by Kathy Aney
Between 350 and 400 people gathered Saturday for
the Women’s March in Pendleton.
Staff photo by Kathy Aney
Atlas Garrigues, 5, carries a sign imploring kids and
grown-ups to be nice to each other at the Women’s
March in Pendleton on Saturday.
information and serve as
conversation starters. In
addition, the group partic-
ipated in a craft activity to
make signs for the march.
“I’m glad that they are
doing this at the library,” said
Ailea Villanueva. “It gets the
kids involved. It gets them
involved with the commu-
Chris Garrigues and
Amy Marvin brought their
5-year-old son, Atlas. The
couple said with the current
political and social climate
in the world, it’s even more
important to educate their
“I think part of the solu-
tion is for parents to teach
them about the issues,”
Marvin said.
Villanueva, who attended
a women’s march while
snowshoeing last year on
Trillium Lake at Mount
Hood, brought her son,
Gabriel Rock, 5, and
daughter, Sophia Rock, 10.
After looking at ideas
for signs, Villanueva helped
create one that said “Boys
will be boys.” Only, with the
second “boys” crossed out,
replacing it with the words
“good humans.”
“We wanted something
that would convey that the
saying is not acceptable these
days,” Villanueva said.
Decked out with a pink
hat and shoes with pink laces,
Sophia was set to march on
“Everyone should be
treated the same no matter
what gender they are and no
matter what color they are,”
she said.
Preparing to embark on
her fourth march, 8-year-old
Violet Hall is looking to the
future. With a sign that read
“Future president 2045,” the
youngster said that’s the year
she will be eligible to run
for president based on age
A recent Oregon State
University graduate who
went to school in Pendleton
made it a point to return to
town to participate in the
event. Carrying a rainbow
flag and sandwich board
signs on front and back,
Kayden Purnell carried a
message of inclusiveness
— and was pleased to see
the diversity of people who
turned out for the event.
Purnell said with the
recent government shut-
down, the women’s march is
especially relevant.
“This is a political move-
ment at its core.”
Editor Tammy Malgesini at
com or 541-564-4539
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BRENNE: ‘He really did want to do the right thing for the right reasons’
Continued from 1A
before Houk retired from municipal
politics in 2016.
Houk said Brenne was a “team
player” who was involved in Pendleton
government during times of change
for the city, including the conversion
of the state hospital into a state prison,
the growth of the travel trailer manufac-
turing industry and multiple Main Street
revitalization efforts.
While generally keeping a positive
disposition, Houk said Brenne was
sensitive to criticism of the city.
“He really did want to do the right
thing for the right reasons,” Houk said.
Council President Neil Brown
described Brenne as a man of integrity,
and said though he may have often been
silent at council meetings, he was an
active force for the city. His work on the
Pendleton Development Commission
and writing grants made a real impact,
Brown said, and he always had Pendle-
ton’s best interest at heart.
“He knew where you just spin your
wheels and where you get traction,”
Brown said.
On a personal note, Brown said
Brenne was the councilor who made
him feel comfortable when he first
joined the council.
Steve Bjerke served with Brenne
from 1997 to 2010 and recalled him as
a councilor who could be counted on
to provide good input during debates,
rarely missing meetings.
“He was a person who was virtually
always there,” he said.
In written statement, Mayor John
Turner called Brenne “a warm-hearted
individual who always encouraged
the council to consider the human side
effects of its decisions,” while George
Murdock, the chairman of the Umatilla
County Board of Commissioners,
said he was an “important force in the
world of both social services and public
During the Jan. 16 development
commission meeting, Brenne reported
that he was working with city officials
to secure grants for a boat launch on the
Umatilla River and a team of interns that
would help the city attract more housing.
The task of replacing Brenne now
lies with the city council.
City Recorder Andrea Denton said
the council will declare a vacancy at its
next meeting and begin the process of
appointing a replacement to fill the final
year of Brenne’s term. If the replacement
wishes to serve beyond 2018, they will
have to file for office by March 6 and
run in the May 15 municipal election.
John Cook, a retired member of the
Pendleton Fire Department, filed for the
Ward 1 seat Monday.
Contact Antonio Sierra at asierra@
eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.
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