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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (July 25, 2019)
Pendleton’s Jennings to throw javelin in Junior Olympic event | SPORTS, A8
143rd year, No. 200
Thursday, July 25, 2019
WINNER OF THE 2019 ONPA GENERAL EXCELLENCE AWARD
Up for grabs
Pendleton business to
go to auction, ending
years of legal disputes
By PHIL WRIGHT
Pendleton City Council
mulls changes to the
way it deals with
ENdlETON — The ham-
ley’s western store, cafe and
steakhouse could have new
hamley’s owners Par-
ley Pearce of Walla Walla
and Blair Woodfield of Lake
Oswego reached a deal after years of
legal disputes to sell the iconic Pend-
leton businesses to the highest bidder.
Woodfield waived the initial bid of $2.5
million from hIPO, a limited-liability
company of Payette, Idaho, that owns
much of the hamley debt, according to
court records, and instead opted to go
to auction under terms he and Pearce
u.s. Bankruptcy Judge Trish Brown
in Portland signed the order Mon-
day allowing the auction to take place
Thursday at 1 p.m. at the law offices of
Black helterline, Portland, for no more
than four hours.
Woodfield said getting to this point
has been long in coming and the auction
could deliver benefits all around.
“I’m hoping whoever gets it will be a
good owner, and I think there are buy-
ers who will be good for hamley’s, and
good for the employees and good for
Pendleton and good for the whole area,”
Beyond that, Woodfield said, he will
be there and see what happens.
Pearce, too, said he will be in the
room and fighting to keep Hamley’s
with the help of a friend and backer
who could be worth $50 million-$100
“We intend to bid as long and as far
as we can go,” he said.
Others with deep pockets also seek
to own the hamley companies, includ-
ing the Confederated Tribes of the
umatilla Indian reservation.
Chuck sams, speaker for the tribes,
said the CTUIR first expressed inter-
est in hamley’s in 2012, but the own-
ers wanted too much money. Woodfield
in 2016 approached the tribes for buy-
ing the businesses, and the tribes were
ready to offer $3.1 million, according to
The tribes and its members have had
relationships with the hamley family
and business dating back to the com-
pany’s inception in 1905, sams said,
and tribal members crafted saddles for
hamley’s. From his understanding, he
said, the tribes will be one of five com-
panies bidding to own hamley’s.
Pearce also said local interests might
not prevail. hamley’s caught the atten-
tion of a seattle bidder, he said, who has
assets in the hundreds of millions and
“If the tribes are going to be success-
ful,” Pearce said, “they better put their
big boy pants on and bring their wallet.”
By ANTONIO SIERRA
PENdlETON — The Pendleton
City Council spent time at a Tuesday
workshop agreeing that homelessness
is an issue, but what to do about it
remained an open question.
Councilor Carole Innes, a member
of a committee on homelessness, said
she’s met with nonprofits that serve
Pendleton’s homeless population.
additionally, she’s begun volunteer-
ing with Neighbor 2 Neighbor, Pend-
leton’s weekly day center program.
See Shelter, Page A7
By JAYSON JACOBY
EO Media Group
Staff photo by Kathy Aney
The Hamley’s steakhouse, western store and cafe will be auctioned to the highest bid-
der on Thursday in Portland.
But the money, Pearce stated, is not
his main concern.
“My only genuine hope here is who-
ever ends up winning cares about ham-
ley’s and Pendleton,” he said. “That’s
all I really care about.”
This is the second time in 13 months
the hamley’s establishments were
going to auction.
Woodfield in 2016 sued Pearce to
break off from the businesses and to
oust Pearce from controlling them.
hIPO came in months later and bought
$1.2 million in hamley debt, and in
June 2018 planned to auction off stocks
of the company to recoup the funds.
Woodfield at the time considered the
auction a setup to allow Pearce and
his cohorts to have hamley’s, so he
declared bankruptcy to block that auc-
tion. The bankruptcy also put a hold on
Thursday’s financial action could
mean Pearce and Woodfield, former
longtime business partners, split for
good, Woodfield gets the payout he
wants and the court fights conclude.
The outcome for hamley’s and its many
employees will be up to whoever comes
out on top.
BaKEr CITy — The Oregon
man who was arrested in Baker City
on July 8 and is accused of murdering
a man in Walla Walla, Washington,
remains in the Baker
County Jail but he is
likely to be extradited
soon to Washington.
Colby James hed-
man, 23, is being held
on $1.1 million bail
— $1 million on the
charges and $100,000 for a variety
of charges in Baker County, district
attorney Matt shirtcliff said.
Both are full bail, shirtcliff said,
meaning hedman, who police said is
a transient whose last known address
was in heppner, would have to post
the full amount to be released.
shirtcliff said the Walla Walla
County District Attorney’s Office
has started the process to extradite
See Jail, Page A7
Committee maintains county needs a manager
umatilla County Charter
believes county should
appoint county manager
By PHIL WRIGHT
PENdlETON — The umatilla
County Charter review Commit-
tee continued to advocate for a man-
ager to oversee county government.
review committee chair Michele
Grable said that move is about rec-
ognizing the needs of the future.
Grable addressed the commit-
tee’s final report with the county
board of commissioners during its
public meeting Wednesday at the
county courthouse in Pendleton.
she said the committee eliminated
its recommendation to change the
board from three full-time commis-
sioners to five part-timers “strictly
based upon the input” from commis-
sioners Bill Elfering and John sha-
fer during a May 29 work session.
“We decided that upon your rec-
ommendation that moving to a
five-member board of commission-
ers would not be advisable,” she
said. “That it would be a very hard
sell to the public. Change is difficult.
and it would not be in the best inter-
est of the county to pursue an elec-
tion that was not likely to succeed.”
she also said she could see how
the board could consider the change
threatening because it took away
power and reduced salaries. still,
See Charter, Page A7
Staff photo by Ben Lonergan
Michele Grable, chair of the Umatilla County Charter Review Committee, ad-
dresses the county board of commissioners Wednesday morning in Pendle-
ton concerning the committee’s recommendation to hire a county manager.