Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current, April 12, 2017, Page A4, Image 4

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Potential projects
reduce bite of bond
We have a choice in a
little over a month to sup-
port a bond measure that
will give our community
one of the most up-to-date
school facilities in Oregon,
while eliminating most of
the overcrowding in our
One of the items that has
not been discussed is the
increased tax base that is
coming to our property tax
district. Currently, there is
over $1 billion of new proj-
ects slated for West Uma-
tilla County. This potential
increased assessed value
will actually lower our tax-
es when it comes on line
within the next 10 years.
This growth in assessed
valuation, with the current
low interest rates, makes
this the perfect time to in-
crease our schools capacity.
The cost of the improve-
ments will never be lower
than now.
The community is grow-
ing and we need to be pre-
pared to educate the chil-
dren of our area. So please
understand that we may
have a short term tax in-
crease, but the future con-
tinues to look bright for our
community and its proper-
ty tax situation because of
these projects. We urge you
to support the bond mea-
School conditions
hamper learning
Education is one of the
most powerful investments
you can make and I am urg-
ing you to make that invest-
ment here in Hermiston.
Research shows that educa-
tion paves the way for bet-
ter health and employment,
benefiting individuals and
Once of my largest con-
cerns is that some of our
local school facilities are
not the most conducive to
learning. Imagine trying to
work in an office that is by
turns blazing hot or freezing
cold. I know from experi-
ence that adults will not tol-
erate this in the office envi-
ronment, yet we expect our
children to stay on task and
learn in these conditions. I
have had the opportunity
to be in overheated class-
rooms at Rocky Heights
on several occasions. Due
to the outdated system at
Rocky, there is no way to
control for this. Each time I
was relieved to leave after a
short stay; the students and
teachers are not so lucky.
Let’s talk a little more about
the Rocky Heights facility.
I have observed garbage
cans placed at strategic
locations in various class-
rooms to catch water drip-
ping from the ceiling. The
“quads” at Rocky feature
partial walls and are con-
figured in a way that makes
it necessary for students,
staff and visitors to traipse
through one classroom to
get to another. Most of the
other classrooms at Rocky
have outside entrances such
that visitors, while they
are requested to do so, do
not have to actually pass
through a main area be-
fore accessing classrooms.
This compromises student
safety as does the fact that
students are left exposed as
they travel from their class-
rooms to the cafeteria/gym,
library or office. Class-
room doors remain locked
during the day, and students
and visitors must knock to
enter. This is meant to in-
crease safety, but the reality
is that for most of the class-
rooms, it is hard to see who
is knocking until you open
the door.
Because the cafeteria
and gym are one and the
same at Rocky Heights,
indoor physical activity
opportunities are limited
when recess is canceled
due to inclement weather.
The large student popula-
tion also necessitates that
one PE class per day take
place in a small, carpeted
classroom. The importance
of physical activity in the
school setting should not
be overlooked. Evidence
shows that physical activity
facilitates academic perfor-
mance through enhanced
student concentration and
improved classroom behav-
Today’s students are our
community leaders and de-
cision makers of the future.
I am willing to make an
investment in our schools
so that students have the
opportunity to learn in en-
vironments that support
them in reaching their full
academic potential while
keeping them healthy and
safe. Please join me in vot-
ing “YES” for our students
on May 16th.
Schools too costly
to repair
During my tenure on the
Hermiston School District
Board of Education from
2011 to 2015, we were
given multiple updates on
district facilities regarding
how to handle expected
growth and the condition
of the infrastructure. The
facilities that were the big-
gest surprise were Highland
Elementary and Sandstone
Middle School.
Loveland honored at
dance championships
Senior dancer Aristea Loveland was honored at
the Oregon Dance And Drill Championships by be-
ing selected to the 2017 All State Dance Team.
Aristea was quoted as saying “all my hard work
has been rewarded and a dream come true.”
It’s pretty exciting too because Aristea is the
“first” in about 25 years to be a Hermiston dancer
selected for the all-state team.
Great job, Aristea, we are so proud of you.
The board was given a
very detailed third-party
report in 2014 on the con-
dition of all the facilities. It
was not a surprise for any
board member to see Rocky
Heights receive a low score
given it is the oldest of the
elementary schools and
was on the list for future
replacement should anoth-
er bond campaign go forth.
What was surprising, how-
ever, was Rocky Heights,
build in 1962, unexpectedly
received a better score than
Highland Hill, which was
built in 1980.
Highland Hills received
the lowest score of all the
facilities due to infrastruc-
ture degrading and safety.
Like Rocky Heights, it too
needs replacement with a
larger, more modern and
safer facility that can be
used for children for many
years to come.
School also showed its age
with the report suggesting
ments to mechanical sys-
tems, the roof and exterior
doors and windows that are
showing significant rust
and corrosion.
What we were presented
in these reports was enough
to convince me that Rocky
Heights and Highland
Hills were both in need of
replacement with larger,
safer and higher capacity
schools. Especially when
considering the amount of
money it would take to re-
pair them and still be short
classrooms space.
Please join me in voting
yes for our children in May
on the Hermiston School
District bond.
Good schools are
An independent study
by EcoNorthwest quanti-
fied the economic impacts
our community receives
from the use of school dis-
trict facilities by either dis-
trict-hosted or outside-host-
ed events. In 2013-14, it
was $7.3 million and is
expect to be more in the
subsequent years. That
alone creates 78 jobs within
our community while also
supporting numerous small
Also, an independent
analysis performed by Ele-
sco Limited, found the May
2017 bond election would
return a whopping $184
million over the next ten
years. Where else in gov-
ernment can you see a net
positive return of almost
2:1 on your tax investment?
The last bond measure
cost $1.40 per $1,000 of
assessed value for $69 mil-
lion; today’s bond is $.90
per $1,000 of assessed
value for $104 million.
Because our community
continues to grow and add
businesses and homeown-
ers, we are sharing that cost
over a larger taxing base.
There is a direct connection
between our investment in
schools and our increased
tax base.
Schools are the very
definition of community
and a primary source of
Hermiston’s economic vi-
tality. Join me in voting
YES for the May 16 Herm-
iston School District Bond
Historically, Hermiston
has strongly supported its
schools. Looking purely at
the dollars and cents; we
can see that our communi-
ty as a whole significantly
benefits from these fantas-
tic facilities.
Hermiston School Dis-
trict has become a vital part
of our community’s eco-
nomic development. When
you moved here, what was
the first thing you searched
out beside a job? For my
family and me, it was the
Vote yes for school
On May 16, 2017, vot-
ers will have a chance to
vote on the approval of the
Hermiston School District
bond of $104 million dol-
lars. I am writing to encour-
age the voters to vote yes
for the bond.
Our community is grow-
ing at an exceptionally fast
rate and in seven years, ac-
cording to Portland State
University, it is expected
for the district’s population
to grow 24 percent. That is
approximately 800-1,100
students. To give you an
idea of how large that num-
ber is, the high school can
only accommodate 1,600
students at the maximum.
Hermiston High School is
very close to that maximum
number currently. So if the
high school were to have
a closed campus lunch, it
would be extremely chal-
lenging to hold that many
students in just for lunch.
Not only is the high school
dealing with capacity is-
sues, but many elementary
schools have similar situa-
tions. Without the needed
expansions, there will be
many problems in the fu-
Adding modules will
not solve this problem.
We would need a total of
56 new modules in order
for the predicted students
to fit in the school district.
The schools do not have
enough space to have that
many modules rented and
put on site. As a student at
Hermiston High School,
I’ve learned that modules
can cause some problems,
including having to walk
across campus just to use
the bathroom or having
to walk across campus to
return a book. The school
district needs a long-term
solution to the enrollment
growth and the bond will
give the district that solu-
If you vote yes on the
bond, you won’t just be
saying yes to expand the
district, but you will also
be saying yes to creating
a better education for the
students now and for the
students in the future. Make
sure to vote yes for the
Hermiston School District
bond to improve the future
of the district and future
education of your commu-
nity’s students. These are
your kids or your neigh-
bor’s kids, they need to be
educated happily and safe-
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Hermiston Conference Center
5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Our Annual Meeting theme
“Reaching New Heights” is a recognition of
the milestones reached over the last 80 years
and what we expect in 2017.
As always, attendance is free to UEC members.
We hope you will join us!
Featured Speaker
Bob Welch, of Eugene
a celebrated author,
will highlight Umatilla
Electric’s 2017
Annual Meeting!
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