Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current, February 15, 2017, Page A3, Image 3

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2017
HERMISTONHERALD.COM • A3
LOCAL NEWS
City approves $6.8 million bonds for
EOTEC, water projects, festival street
By JADE MCDOWELL
Staff writer
The Hermiston city
council approved issuance
of up to $6.8 million in
bonds on Monday night,
but the city won’t create
new taxes to pay for them.
The bonds will pay for
four separate projects, each
with a different revenue
stream to pay them off.
City manager Byron Smith
said that each set of bonds
will be accounted for sep-
arately, but issuing them at
the same time saves tens of
thousands of dollars in at-
torney fees and is expected
to get the city a more favor-
able interest rate.
Between $1.75 million
and $2.15 million will
be directed toward con-
struction at the Eastern
Oregon Trade and Event
Center. Smith said local
hoteliers had agreed to an
additional $1 per room per
night tourism promotion
assessment to be direct-
ed toward paying off the
bonds. He said the origi-
nal plan was $1.75 million
over 15 years, but he is in
talks to see if they were
willing to extend it to 20
years, which would raise
an extra $400,000.
Another $1.5 million
will go toward creation
of a festival street on NE
Second Street next to city
hall. Assistant city manag-
er Mark Morgan said the
festival street committee
hopes to have a final design
to show the council during
an April 10 work session.
Those bonds will be paid
for through the revenue
coming into the Urban Re-
newal District.
Smith said $1.7 million
will go toward “smart” wa-
ter meters that can be read
remotely and alert ratepay-
ers of leaks. $1.5 million
will help pay for new equip-
ment at the recycled water
treatment plant that will
save the city the expense of
draining solid waste from
the lagoons. Bonds for both
of those projects will be
paid for by a series of three
5 percent water and sew-
er rate increases starting
March 1.
On Monday night the
council also approved an
updated joint management
agreement with Umatilla
County for land that is out-
side city limits but inside
the urban growth boundary.
They also approved a
resolution joining other
Oregon cities in requesting
that the legislature create
a new law restoring recre-
ational immunity. The law
protects landowners who
offer up their land for free
recreational use from law-
suits arising from injuries,
but a recent Oregon Su-
preme Court ruling stated
that the injured party can
still sue employees. Since
cities are obligated to pro-
tect their employees, cities
such as Pendleton have
closed some city parks to
protect themselves, while
Hermiston has stopped a
planned skate park.
Mayor David Drotz-
mann said he visited Salem
for Capital Day, and while
he got a wonderful recep-
tion from local senators and
representatives, he did not
leave Salem “overly opti-
mistic” that much move-
ment will be made on the
League of Oregon Cities’
legislative priorities such
as recreational immunity,
property tax reform and
PERS reform.
“It’s an interesting place
we’re in as a state,” he said.
“There doesn’t seem to be a
lot of bipartisan movement
for anything.”
Hermiston asks for fair share
of county transportation funds
By JADE MCDOWELL
Staff Writer
Cities that saw their spe-
cial transportation funds
decrease again this year are
questioning the fairness of
how that money is allocat-
ed.
Oregon’s special trans-
portation fund gives ciga-
rette tax money to counties,
transportation districts and
tribes to provide transpor-
tation for senior and dis-
abled residents. In Uma-
tilla County, that money
is then distributed to cities
and nonprofits by recom-
mendation of the Special
Transportation Advisory
Committee.
Hermiston assistant city
manager Mark Morgan
said during the committee’s
Feb. 6 meeting, where the
committee considered ap-
plications for $397,000 in
funds for the 2017-2019 bi-
ennium, the money was not
divided based on a formula
that takes into consider-
ation factors such as budget
or services offered. Instead,
the committee gave each
applicant the same percent-
age of their request.
Morgan said it felt like
the county’s approach to
STF funds is to “throw a
sack of money on the table”
and tell the committee to
give it to whoever it wants.
“There’s no rhyme or
reason,” he said.
Linda Carter, finance di-
rector for the city of Pend-
leton, expressed the same
frustration with making
cuts based on what an agen-
cy requested instead of the
level of service it provides.
“Those who shot for
the moon got the moon,
and those of us who asked
for our normal request got
STAFF PHOTO BY E.J. HARRIS
The HART (Hermiston Area Regional Transit) bus run by
Kayak Public Transit drives down its route on West Moore
Avenue in January in Hermiston.
less,” she said.
Carter said she believes
there should be a set for-
mula for calculating allot-
ments of STF funds, based
on things like the number
of clients served and the
service area’s percentage
of senior and disabled res-
idents.
For the 2017-2019 bi-
ennium the committee has
recommended the city of
Pendleton receive $62,500
per year, the city of Herm-
iston $37,500 per year, the
city of Milton-Freewater
$37,500 per year, Good
Shepherd Health Care
System $26,000 per year,
CAPECO $15,000 per
year, Clearview Mediation
$15,000 per year, Hermis-
ton Senior Center $3,000
per year and Foster Grand-
parents $2,000 per year.
In 2015 the committee
recommended Pendleton
receive $90,000, Hermis-
ton $32,000, Milton-Free-
water $50,000, CAPECO
$18,739, Good Shepherd
$28,235, Clearview Me-
diation $20,138, Hermis-
ton Senior Center $3,000
and Foster Grandparents
$6,500.
Carter and Morgan said
that in earlier years some of
the nonprofits used to ask
for — and receive — sig-
nificantly less.
County finance director
Robert Pahl said the county
provides guidelines for the
Special Transportation Ad-
visory Committee to con-
sider in its decision-making
process.
“There is a coordinat-
ed plan that the county put
together with public input
that has some priorities in it
that the committee uses as
guidance,” he said.
Committee chair Darrin
Umbarger said with less
money coming in from the
state, the committee decid-
ed it was only fair to make
everyone share the burden
of cuts by getting less than
they requested.
Carter and Morgan ex-
pressed concern that two of
the three committee mem-
bers who were present on
Monday to vote on how the
money would be distribut-
ed were also affiliated with
organizations asking for
money (Umbarger is CEO
of Clearview Mediation
and Virginia Beebe is on
the Hermiston Senior Cen-
ter board).
Umbarger said that he
and Beebe had someone
else give their organiza-
tion’s presentation to the
committee and recused
themselves when it came
time to vote on their orga-
nization’s application. He
said it was important to
have people on the commit-
tee familiar with programs
for transporting senior and
disabled residents.
Pendleton uses STF
funds for a taxi ticket pro-
gram that subsidizes rides
for senior and disabled res-
idents, van transport to the
senior meal program, the
Care Ride to St. Anthony
Hospital, a dial-a-ride bus
and a taxi ticket program
for the general public.
Hermiston uses the money
for subsidized taxi tick-
ets for senior and disabled
residents, while Hermiston
Senior Center transports
seniors to its meal program
and Good Shepherd’s Care-
Van offers rides to medical
appointments.
Milton-Freewater also
has a taxi ticket program
for senior and disabled
residents. CAPECO offers
a dial-a-ride program for
seniors. Clearview Media-
tion uses wheelchair acces-
sible vans for a dial-a-ride
service for seniors and in-
dividuals with disabilities
in the Pendleton area. And
the Foster Grandparents
program based in Pendle-
ton reimburses volunteer
“grandparents” who mentor
elementary school students
for their travel.
Downtown Stanfield building collapse forces out residents
By JAYATI
RAMAKRISHNAN
Staff Writer
Part of a downtown Stan-
field building collapsed
Friday afternoon, forcing a
restaurant and several rent-
ers out indefinitely.
The building, at 110 N.
Main St., is home to the
Blanquita Restaurant and
Pupuseria, serving Salva-
dorian food, as well as four
apartments upstairs.
Stanfield City Manager
Blair Larsen said Stanfield
police and the Umatilla
County Fire District 1 re-
sponded to the call, and
found the entire back side of
the building had collapsed.
The back area is used for
parties and special events,
but is not occupied full time,
and no one was in that area
at the time of collapse.
Larsen said an inspection
has not been conducted on
the building yet, but the fire
department suspects the col-
lapse was caused by ice and
snow on top of the building
starting to melt, and leaking
into the structure.
“The moisture may have
weakened the beams,” he
said.
Larsen said the city has
attempted to contact the
owners, Antonio and Filber-
to Chavez, but has not yet
heard back from them. The
building has been shut down
and a dangerous building
ordinance has been placed
on the structure barring en-
try. In order to lift that ban,
Larsen said, the building
must be repaired, and has to
pass another safety inspec-
tion.
The restaurant’s oper-
ators, Moises Torres and
Blanca Orellana, could not
be reached for comment by
press time, and the number
of people living in the build-
ing was not known.
Interested in a Medical career?
Need funds to complete
your training?
Good Shepherd Com munity Health
Foundation medical scholarship
applications are now being accepted
from qualified local students
through February 28th.
The Foundation is again p leased
to partner with Tualatin Imaging
to offer an additional $4,000 in
scholarships for students who have
expressed interest in pursuing a
diagnostic imaging career.
Please call 541-667-3419 for
requirements and application form.
HH FILE PHOTO
The EOTEC board of directors met Friday to discuss the
staffing and operational needs of the new facility.
EOTEC OKs contract
for maintenance, talks
event center revenue
By JADE MCDOWELL
Staff Writer
The Eastern Oregon
Trade and Event Center
board approved a contract
Friday for maintenance
and janitorial services.
The contract is with
Mabel
Largaespada
Dean’s Services, which
will provide janitorial ser-
vices for $22 per hour per
person, and maintenance/
lawn care for $40 per hour
per person. The board
previously voted to seek
out a contractor to handle
those services after con-
cerns that business man-
ager Heather Cannell was
devoting time to cleaning
bathrooms and setting up
tables that she should be
spending on marketing the
event center.
As members of the
EOTEC board continue
to work on a marketing
and operations plan for
the project, Cannell and
city of Hermiston finance
director Amy Palmer have
been working on financial
reports that give the board
a clearer picture of the
costs and revenues associ-
ated with each event.
A report presented
Friday of event revenue
and direct expenses for
those events was not a full
picture because it only
showed revenue that has
actually been received,
Palmer said. However, the
report showed $26,444 in
event revenue since July 1
and $6,779 in direct costs
for those events. It did not
include general overhead
costs for running the event
center or personnel costs.
Money for marketing
EOTEC comes from a $1
per room per night tour-
ism promotion assessment
on hotels and RV parks
in west Umatilla Coun-
ty, and the hoteliers last
year added a second dol-
lar that will be used to pay
off construction bonds the
city of Hermiston agreed
to issue on their behalf.
Board chair and city man-
ager Byron Smith said the
city council will be asked
to approve multiple con-
struction bonds, including
$1.75 million for EOTEC,
on Monday.
Board member Vijay
Patel noted that TPA reve-
nue is down slightly from
the year before. He said
hotel revenue in Hermis-
ton has taken a hit in part
because an increase in ho-
tel rooms in the Tri-Cities
has decreased the amount
of overflow to Hermiston
hotels.
On the construction
side, John Eckhardt of
Knerr Construction pre-
dicted they will start
breaking ground on the
barns on Tuesday, al-
though he cautioned that
estimate was somewhat
dependent on weath-
er since there are some
surveying activities they
can’t do with snow on
the ground. In December
Eckhardt said they hoped
to begin construction by
the end of January.
Carl Hendon from Hen-
don Construction reported
that work is going well on
the rodeo arena, and he
anticipated concrete work
would be finished by the
end of March so that they
can start working on in-
stalling things like bleach-
ers and pens.
In January he reported
that weather delays had
pushed the project’s ex-
pected completion date
from June 1 to June 14,
but said Friday that since
then “we’ve probably ac-
tually picked up time.”
ihen they say “No More Snow!”
and you say “Th e iind
iin iill Blow?”
541-567-4063
405 N. 1st St., Suite #107,
Hermiston
Verna Taylor,
HAS
Ric Jones,
BC-HIS
Forrest Cahill,
HAS
541-215-1888
246 SW Dorion, Pendleton
S T U D EN T
O F TH E
W EEK
Isabelle C hapm an
Pendleton High School
Isabelle Chapman is a member of National Honor
Society as well as FFA (she is an officer) and has
participated in Cross Country and Tennis for 4 years
at PHS. Isabelle is also a member of the PHS Jazz
Band and Symphonic Band. She volunteers a lot of
hours with other member of the National Honor
Society. 
She is looked at in FFA and band as a leader and a
mentor to the younger students. She leads by
example in all her classes and has continued to push
herself academically each and every year. Her
current academic classes include AP Government,
AP Literature, Honors Biology 2 and Spanish 4. All of
these are Dual Credit Courses. Isabelle is also
planning to attend Linfield College next year.
Proudly Sponsored by
2801 St. Anthony Way, Pendleton, OR • 541-276-5121