Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current | View Entire Issue (July 24, 2019)
WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2019
HERMISTONHERALD.COM • A9
Public divided on ‘road diet’ in Stanﬁ eld
By JADE MCDOWELL
Department of Transportation
employees worked hard on Thurs-
day to convince Stanﬁ eld resi-
dents they would beneﬁ t from hav-
ing fewer lanes on Highway 395
through town, but there were still
skeptics in the crowd.
One man argued with engineers
for several minutes in the middle
of the presentation before storm-
ing out of the meeting.
“If nothing’s broken why are
you trying to ﬁ x it?” he asked
During 2021 ODOT plans to
grind the top 2 inches off of High-
way 395 from Hermiston through
Stanﬁ eld and replace it with new
pavement. As part of the project,
funded through ODOT’s general
fund, they will be adding bulb-
outs at crosswalks, ADA-compli-
ant wheelchair ramps and other
improvements through Stanﬁ eld.
The department has proposed
a “road diet” through downtown
Stanﬁ eld as well, taking Highway
395 down from ﬁ ve lanes to three.
The curb-to-curb width of the
highway would remain the same,
but the road would be re-striped to
include a center turn lane and one
travel lane in each direction instead
of two. The extra space would turn
into bike lanes and wider parking.
Project manager Bryan Strasser
said ultimately the decision was
up to the city — ODOT wouldn’t
force it on the community if the
city council voted no. But he said
Conceptual drawing by ODOT
This conceptual drawing on display at a Stanﬁ eld community meeting shows how three lanes in downtown
Stanﬁ eld might look.
they felt a responsibility to share
what the engineering and research
showed was the best option.
“If we lived here we would
want it done,” he said.
He and engineer Kevin Haas
described beneﬁ ts ODOT had seen
in other road diets, including Mil-
ton-Freewater, Cave Junction, Port
Orford and Ashland.
Haas said there had been a 19%
to 47% reduction in crashes where
the number of lanes had been
reduced. People weren’t trying to
make lefthand turns over so many
lanes, they weren’t sideswiping
each other and pedestrians weren’t
in as much danger of being hit
when one vehicle stopped for them
but another tried to pass because
they didn’t see the pedestrian.
He said other cities had been
skeptical too, but found trafﬁ c
actually ﬂ owed better with the sin-
gle lane in each direction and now
people were thanking ODOT for
A couple of attendees voiced
their support of the proposal, refer-
encing the safety of their children
walking to school and the oppor-
tunities for drivers to notice local
businesses if they slow down.
Others, including city council-
ors and the mayor, asked detailed
questions during the two-hour
meeting and expressed concerns
that the proposed change would
create a bottleneck and make it
more difﬁ cult for residents pull-
ing out onto the highway. Coun-
cilor Scott Challis asked whether
the other communities has as short
of city blocks on their highway as
Stanﬁ eld, or as much truck trafﬁ c.
“With the short blocks and
heavy trucks we’re going to have
some backup. ... Not trying to
bring you down, but I think we
have a different scenario here,” he
Others said much of the traf-
ﬁ c through Stanﬁ eld was com-
muter trafﬁ c, and they didn’t want
to unnecessarily delay people on
the way to their jobs. Mayor Tom
McCaan also said he wasn’t sure
two lanes would actually slow
people down, and referenced his
days on the police force decades
ago when Highway 395 was only
“We’d catch people going
through at 70 miles per hour in the
middle of the day,” he said.
Haas said the brief road diet
through the center of Stanﬁ eld
would be a much different scenario
than the old two-lane days. The
center turn lane would keep peo-
ple from getting backed up behind
someone trying to turn, and he said
people should get less impatient
when the three-lane conﬁ guration
was only for about a mile instead
of “making people wait 20 miles
to pass a truck.”
ODOT is leaving the choice of
a road diet up to the city of Stan-
ﬁ eld — a decision city council-
ors have yet to make. Challis said
he was asking so many questions
because he was trying to make an
“I want to commend you guys
— the council, staff and general
public — because you’re asking
the right questions,” Haas said.
He encouraged them to speak
with Milton-Freewater city ofﬁ -
cials about how they liked their
new road diet, and also reminded
the council that the striping would
be relatively easy to undo if the
new conﬁ guration didn’t work out.
Greater Hermiston Community Foundation looks forward to giving
By JADE MCDOWELL
hen the Greater
tion started a little more
than a year ago, its found-
ers weren’t sure how long
it would take before they
could start the fun part: giv-
ing away money.
That part is almost here.
The foundation plans to
take applications this fall
and award its ﬁ rst grants in
early 2020 after hitting the
$200,000 mark earlier this
“That was a huge mile-
stone,” vice-chair Nate
Rivera said. “We were
thrilled to reach that goal in
The Greater Hermiston
Community Foundation is
a 501©3 charity started by
Hermiston residents who
wanted to help people give
back to the community in
a lasting way. The founda-
tion’s main component is
an endowment fund, where
money will be held in trust
and the interest earned from
the fund will perpetually
generate money for commu-
The GHCF will also
be able to open separate
accounts to collect direct
donations for speciﬁ c proj-
ects. For example, once the
city of Hermiston is ready to
actively solicit donations for
the rebuild of Funland Play-
ground, the foundation will
collect tax-exempt dona-
tions and pass 100% of the
money on to the city. The
account will be an option
for large corporations and
others that have policies
against giving directly to
cities to avoid a conﬂ ict of
Board treasurer Dennis
Barnett said those involved
in the foundation made the
commitment to donate time,
website costs, printing and
all other overhead costs
in-kind instead of using
money from donations.
“There’s not a dollar of
administration in this,” he
said. “No overhead.”
Barnett said in addition
to donations the foundation
has in hand, a few of Herm-
iston’s more well-off current
and former residents have
also written the foundation
into their will. He said the
time for a bequeathment
opportunity like the GHCF
is ripe, given the timeline of
how the city has grown.
“We will have a lot of
wealth that will be transi-
tioning for the ﬁ rst time in
Hermiston,” he said.
While there are local
foundations that focus on
speciﬁ c areas, such as health
or education, the Greater
Hermiston Foundation will
be more broad in scope.
Rivera said they will be
looking more toward brick-
and-mortar projects than
events to make the most
impact in the greater Herm-
“We have a lot of ﬂ exi-
bility in what we can fund,”
The board will come up
with an application form
and list of criteria this fall,
then award its ﬁ rst grant
in early 2020. Their next
fundraising goal is to take
the endowment fund up to
Thank you to the following businesses for supporting
Newspapers in Education
Their generous support of the Hermiston Herald NIE program helps provide copies
of the newspaper and unlimited access to HermistonHerald.com and the e-Edition
1090 W. Hermiston Ave.
1739 N. First St.
1150 W. Hartley Ave. #D
Hermiston, OR 97838
Our patients are the very
heart of our practice
2411 NW Carden Ave.
Pendleton, OR 97801
Call Today & Donate!
Salvage & Towing
620 E. Main St.
Umatilla Electric Cooperative
750 W. Elm Ave. Hermiston, OR 97838
541-567-6414 • UmatillaElectric.com
2212 SE 9th St. Hermiston, OR 07838
30775 Baggett Ln.
Hermiston, OR 97838
Call Today & Donate!
1705 E. Airport Rd.
Hermiston, OR 97838
For more information on the NIE Program, visit HermistonHerald.com/hh/nie.
make a a donation,
Bulls. Broncs. Music. Drinks. Dancing.
$5 tickets for kids 12 &
under. Rodeo tickets
include admission into
the Umatilla County Fair.
A night designed
FFA & our youth.
Rodeo action &
Music, drinks, and
dancing at Chute 8
after the rodeo.
Aug. 7-10, 2019
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
Admission to Umatilla County Fair
included with purchase.
1705 E Airport Rd, Hermiston, OR
Handicapped Companion Seating