Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current, April 26, 2017, Page A16, Image 16

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Members of Altrusa International of Hermiston have fun
while enjoying lunch on the way to a 2012 conference event.
To Learn more
continued from Page A1
ed in more than a dozen
nations. In 1946, Altrusa
sent its fi rst representative
to the United Nations.
In the beginning, club
membership was limited
to no more than 10 per-
cent of its members in the
same occupations, said
Pam Cooper. The current
District Twelve secretary,
Cooper said the Hermis-
ton club would sometimes
stretch those limits.
“We were pretty gen-
erous with the classifi -
cations,” she said. “We
would get creative how we
classifi ed people.”
In recent years, Coo-
per has been delighted to
have her daughter, Teresa
Walchli, alongside her as
a member of the Hermis-
ton club. And her grand-
daughter, Dru Walchli,
just recently joined the
Eugene group. Another
daughter, Cheri Hanson,
is working with the Herm-
iston to sponsor a club in
the Tri-Cities, Cooper
Helping with Altrusa
often spills over into their
families, Cooper said. Dru,
who is a freshman at Uni-
versity of Oregon, and her
cousin, Caitlin Hanson,
a sophomore at Richland
High School, grew up run-
ning auction items during
the annual Altrusa Auction
in Hermiston.
Connie Ferranti, pub-
licity chairwoman, agreed
— saying that often the
husbands of members are
For more information, contact
com, visit www.districtt-
welve.altrusa.org or search
called upon to assist.
“We call our husbands
the “Al-trousers” because
sometimes we need help
moving something,” she
said with a laugh.
Hermiston club presi-
dent LuAnn Davison at-
tributes the organization’s
longevity to the support
of members, who give
of their time, talents and
fi nancial resources. In
addition, they receive tre-
mendous support from the
Individuals and busi-
nesses support Altrusa’s
fundraisers. The Altrusans,
in turn, pour that money
back into the community
through a variety of proj-
Altrusa’s main focuses
include literacy, education
and environmental con-
cerns. Also, each club takes
on projects and support
programs, both in their in-
dividual communities and
beyond. From ensuring
school children have food
during the weekend and
providing scholarships for
higher education to giving
away books and provid-
ing grants for community
projects, Altrusa is com-
mitted to giving back.
“How we explain it is,
you’re not a member of
Altrusa, you become an
Altrusan,” Davison said.
Old time musicians
fi ddle around
irrigonchamber.com or 541-
For more information, call
Dawn at 541-567-9696.
For some toe-tappin’ fun,
you won’t want to miss a
performance of the Blue
Mountain Old Time Fid-
The group will play Sat-
urday, April 29, at 6 p.m. at
Stokes Landing Senior Cen-
ter, 195 N.W. Opal Place,
Irrigon. The cost is $5 and
free for ages 12-and-under.
People are invited to come
early, as food will be avail-
able for purchase at 5 p.m.
For more information,
contact irrigonchamber@
Hermiston businesses
off er tire clean-up
Tai Chi class assists
with balance
Harley Swain Subaru and
Commercial Tire are assisting
people in getting rid of old tires.
The Community Amnes-
ty Clean-up Day is Saturday
from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Harley
Swain Subaru, 1915 N. First
St., Hermiston. Each person
can dispose of up to four tires
each, free of charge. Farm im-
plement and semi-tractor tires
will not be accepted.
Older adults are invited to
have fun while reducing the
risk and fear of falling with
Tai Chi: Moving for Better
A new 24-class series starts
Monday, May 1 at 9 a.m. It will
meet Monday and Wednes-
days in the Good Shepherd
Wellness Center, 610 N.W.
11th St., Hermiston. There is
no charge to participate.
continued from Page A1
during the City Council
meeting last week, how-
ever, that they weren’t im-
pressed with the city’s of-
“I don’t believe you’ll
fi nd a progressive com-
munity in Oregon or in
the Northwest that you
will fi nd their chamber of
commerce in a windowless
basement,” retired fi re chief
Pat Hart said.
City staff and city coun-
cilors have said that the
change in operator for the
conference center is not
due to any concerns with
the job that the chamber
has done running the cen-
ter. Instead, they say, it just
makes more fi nancial sense
for the city’s growing parks
and recreation department
to move into the center and
take over operations.
Assistant city council-
or Mark Morgan said that
revenue at the conference
center is down 35 percent
during the current fi scal
year, which began shortly
after the event center at the
Eastern Oregon Trade and
Event Center opened for
According to the pre-
sentation Morgan gave
city councilors before their
6-0 vote, in 2015-2016
the center had gross reve-
nues of $216,900, split be-
tween event revenues and
The Hermiston City Council listens to the testimony of former fi re
chief Pat Hart during a special session council meeting on the fate
of the Hermiston Conference Center on April 18 in Hermiston.
$91,100 of transient room
tax revenue contributed by
the city. The gross expenses
for running the center were
$198,700. The $18,200
profi t was split three ways
between the chamber, cap-
ital improvements and the
Morgan said if the city
is in charge of scheduling
the conference center it
can work the “synergy” be-
tween EOTEC and the cen-
ter to the best advantage.
The plan would also allow
the parks and recreation de-
partment to use the confer-
ence center more often for
recreational classes, chil-
dren’s theater performances
and other “community cen-
ter” uses.
ers present at the stand-
ing-room-only meeting last
Tuesday voiced concerns
that the move was merely a
precursor to the city closing
the conference center and
selling the building to a pri-
vate party or re-purposing it
as a youth center. They also
said there were many event
organizers who preferred
keeping events at the small-
er conference center but
were afraid the city would
force them to move up to
EOTEC to make room for
parks and recreation events.
“EOTEC was never en-
visioned to replace the con-
ference center and was not
promoted that way,” cham-
ber board member Bob
Green said.
The conference center
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came about in 1994, when
the city purchased a former,
empty Safeway building
and the community raised
an additional $600,000 in
donations to renovate the
In 2015 the city council,
expressing concerns that
the city would not be able
to afford to continue put-
ting Transient Room Tax
dollars toward operation of
the conference center while
also supporting EOTEC,
convened the Community
Livability Asset Oversight
Committee (later shortened
to “Livable Hermiston”) to
examine what livability as-
sets the city should focus
on and where the confer-
ence center should fi t into
that vision.
The 26-member com-
mittee, which included
chamber director Deb-
bie Pedro and the cham-
ber board president at the
time, recommended that
the city’s focus for the next
three to fi ve years should
be ensuring the completion
and success of EOTEC,
and recommended the city
hold off on a decision about
the conference center until
2017 so that it could get an
idea of how EOTEC would
affect the center.
Contact Jade McDowell
at jmcdowell@eastorego-
nian.com or 541-564-4536.
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