by News Director Jennifer Colton
541.567.6500 or 541.289.NEWS or KOHUnews@gmail.com
Hazmat cleans up spill on 395 Jan. 20, 2018
Hazmat cleanup redirecting traffic on Highway 395 yesterday afternoon after a crash
between a chevy pickup and a semi truck spilled diesel onto the highway.
Law enforcement redirect traffic during clean up of a diesel spill Monday
Hermiston Police saying the crash happened at about 2 in the afternoon when a Chevy pickup
traveling northbound on Highway 395 near the water tower drifted into the southbound lanes
and struck a Peterbilt tractor trailer, rupturing the drivers side fuel tank of the
semi and spilling a large amount of diesel. Umatilla County Fire District 1 Hazardous
materials personnel arrived on scene for containment. The driver of the semi was
uninjured, and the driver of the pickup 68-year-old James Zimmerman, of Hermiston
was taken by ambulance to Good Shepherd Medical Center with minor injuries. HPD
saying there were no signs of impairment from any of the parties involved. The cleanup
taking about two hours yesterday afternoon.
Stanfield Council meets tonight Jan. 20, 2018
Stanfield Council meets tonight at 7 in the council chambers at 10 W. Coe Avenue. On the
agenda, adoption of the water system master plan, a resolution bringing a student
representative to the city council and a decision changing how often the council meets.
Currently, the city council meets the first Tuesday of every month with an optional third
Tuesday meeting if needed. If approved, the new schedule would make the third Tuesday
meeting a regular meeting, so the council would meet twice a month, every month.
Power outage hits Hermiston Jan. 19, 2018
More than 12-thousand homes and businesses lost power on Saturday after a wind gusts of up
to 50 miles per hour blew a tree into a transmission line northeast of Hermiston just
after 3 in the afternoon on Saturday. Umatilla Electric Cooperative saying the outage
affecting eight substations in the Hermiston, Stanfield, and Umatilla areas. The first
substation at Juniper Canyon - was back on line at 5:38 p.m., followed by the
Feedville Substation 10 minutes later. Most of the power was restored by 6:30 p.m.
HHS launches "We Care" campaign Jan. 19, 2018
We Care. You are loved. You are not alone. Those are three of the signs up at Hermiston
High School this month as the school moves forward with its "We Care Project," a
movement that began with students and is now reaching out to the community.
Student government advisor Dave Rohrman says the program began with the 37 students in ASB
leadership. Facing student losses over the past year, students started a discussion of
what they could do. to make a difference, especially for people feeling isolated, like
they have no where to turn or no options.
Posters have been put up in the high school, and theyre now turning a focus to a
community campaign as well. Rohrman says the next step is to bring yard signs into the
community and in other schools. They'll continue the random acts of kindness throughout
the spring and see where the program goes.
District officials saying the We Care program began before the school shooting last week
in Florida. but that has underscored the need to provide statements of support for fellow
students and the greater community because a simple step can change someone's day, make a
connection, and make a difference. You can contact Hermiston high school for more
Food for Fines at local libraries Jan. 19, 2018
A program starts today at libraries in Eastern Oregon. Its food for fines where you
trade in food donations for those library late fees. Hermiston Librarian Mark Rose says
the food will go to Agape House. Every library in Umatilla County is participating, so if
you owe fines to the Stanfield library or Umatilla or even Pendleton or Milton-Freewater,
you can take in nonperishable foods and have those fines forgiven.
County still looking for charter committee members Feb. 16, 2018
Umatilla County looking for volunteers to help revise the countys charter. Although
some volunteers have stepped up and applied for the committee, commissioner Larry Givens
says theyre still looking for a few more members.
"We'd like to have 7 to 9 people on that committee, but we're having kind of a slow
time getting folks to do that," he said.
The county charter establishes the three-member board of commissioners and grants powers
to the board to make decisions for the county.
[This is a process of putting together information and data and comparing what this county
- Umatilla County - does compared to other counties," said Givens.
The committee will also make recommendations based on that information. Anyone interested
can contact county counsel Doug Olson for more information and an application.
Commissioners had hoped to select committee members before March 1m, but Givens says that
may be pushed back to March 15. Find the application here.
HSD speaking about school shootings Feb. 16, 2018
Hermiston School District releasing advise for how to talk with students about gun
violence after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida this week.
The district releasing saying students may want to know what adults are doing to keep them
safe at school, in their community, and at home. District officials encourage families to
have conversations, creating a safe place for children to share
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) recommends the following
Reassure children that they are safe.
Make time to talk.
Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
Review safety procedures.
Observe childrens emotional state.
Limit television viewing of these events.
Maintain a normal routine.
Parents, staff, students and community members are also encouraged to report any safety
using SafeOregon, an anonymous tip line operated in cooperation with Oregon State Police.
Information can be shared by calling or texting 844-472-3367, e-mailing
email@example.com, or via the website safeoregon.com.
Outdoor School planning, changes Feb. 12, 2018
While the county looks at its state, schools across Umatilla and Morrow counties turning
attention toward outdoor school, an experience where fifth or sixth graders
depending on the district take the classroom outside for an overnight experience.
Intermountain ESD Superintendent Mark Mulvihill says theyre amping up the program
this year. The ESD leases Buck Creek site in the blue mountains and offers free use to the
districts. Mulvihill says nine districts plan to use the site this year, and with funding
from measure 99, theyve now theyve hired a part-time coordinator Bob
McMillian to help coordinate.
Mulvihill says outdoor school sessions will primarily run from April through June with
some even in September. Some districts are now in their third generation offering the
program while others will mark the first year for the program this year thanks to the
state funding from measure 99.
Spokane man dies in rollover Feb. 12, 2018
On Friday, a crash killing a Spokane man in a commercial motor vehicle rollover crash on
the I 82 onramp from I 84 westbound at milepost 180.
According to a press release from the Oregon State Police, a 2004 Freightliner, towing an
unloaded flatbed trailer, failed to negotiate the curve on the onramp to I 82, left the
roadway on the west shoulder and rolled several times in the median. The operator, a 50
year old male from Spokane Washington was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced deceased
at the scene by medical personnel.
Troopers from the Pendleton Area Command are conducting the investigation into the cause
of the crash with the assistance of a collision reconstructionist.
The roadway was partially closed for approximately 5 hours to allow for scene
investigation and vehicle recovery.
The Oregon State Police was assisted at the scene by the Oregon Department of
Transportation and Umatilla County Fire District 1.
Good Shepherd wins service awards Feb. 12, 2018
Good Shepherd Health Care System last week announcing employees receiving awards at the
Health Care Service Excellence Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
For the awards, Employees nominate their coworkers. Those recommendations are pooled with
other nominees, then a selection committee pick four winners in each category.
Hospital spokesman Nick Bejarano says four Good Shepherd employees received awards.
Amber Davis recognized as an exceptional nurse, Lucas Bradshaw as an empowering manager,
Devin Goldman as Customer Experience and Quality Coordinator Program Director and Good
Shepherd CEO Dennis Burke honored as an inspiring administrator.
Bejarano says in addition, the hospital received 39 awards for improvements in customer
experience and customer satisfaction. That information is tracked through through a survey
patients receive after being discharged from the hospital.
"We were blown away by the improvement from 2016 to 2017," Bejarano said.
The hospital's improvement awards are based on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey
that hospitals participate in to evaluate their quality of care and customer satisfaction
against their peers.
Givens reflects on state of the county Feb. 9, 2018
It may feel like spring outside, but its still the month of February. This week,
Oregon Governor Kate Brown spoke about the state of the state, and now, Umatilla County
Commissioner Larry Givens talking about the state of the county.
[givens good start]
Givens saying the county is in good fiscal shape, so they will not need to make program or
staffing cuts. They will also start management training for county employees and continue
working with the transfer of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center to the city of
Hermiston as well as dealing with more delays in the transfer of the Umatilla
[givens county good]
Givens says the budget process will last until the end of the fiscal year. Theyre
also still waiting for funding from the state thats been allocated for
road projects around EOTEC.
Rhoades sentenced to 34 months Feb. 9, 2018
A Hermiston man sentenced to 34 months after pleading guilty to first-degree theft,
fleeing/attempting to elude a police officer, unlawful commercial manufacturing of
marijuana extract, unlawful commercial delivery of marijuana and two counts of endangering
the welfare of a minor.
27-year-old William Richard Rhoades arrested in December after a police chase ended with a
car crashed into a house after hitting an electrical supply box. The driver had already
fled the scene, but identification in the vehicle led police to Rhoades, who had more than
75 pounds of marijuana in his apartment as well as handguns that had been reported stolen.
Boardman preps for pipe work Feb. 9, 2018
Digging will soon begin on upgrades to Boardmans water and sewer systems. New pipe
has been stacked along roadways in preparation for the project. Water and sewer upgrades
have been in the planning stages since 2014 and will include new water and sewer lines in
several areas throughout
Boardman. The upgrades to improve fire flow and reliability in the water systems. In
December the city awarded the contract to do the upgrades to Premier Excavation of
Pasco, Washington, who presented the apparent lowest bid of $2,266,119.10. The citys
engineers, Anderson Perry and Associates, has
worked with Premier in the past and is pleased to be working with them on this project.
The water and
sewer upgrades are expected to be completed in October of 2018.
Firefighters ready for stairclimb Feb. 8, 2018
Seven firefighters from Umatilla County Fire District one are taking extra time getting in
shape, praciticng stamina and endurance and fundraising for an annual event next month.
It's the Scotts Seattle Firefighter Stairclimb, and it's a grueling challenge to raise
funding for the leukemia and lymphoma research. The firefighters will put on full turn-out
gear, including air tanks and breathing apparatus and then climb 1,356 steps - 69 stories
- up a high rise building.
"It's a great experience," Team Member Destry Stewart says. "We're putting
on gear between 50 and 75 pounds, and when we're doing the climb, we're thinking of the
people we're doing the climb for."
Stewart says one of the best parts of the event is seeing the survivors and those battling
against cancer cheering them on. It's a sentiment echoed by fellow competitiotr Mike
Bozeman. For Bozeman, the first climb was a challenge and something he undertook because
it sounded fun.
"As firefighters, we like to be challenged," Bozeman said. "Once I did the
first climb and got to see what it's all about, I became more passionate about fundraising
for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society."
The team from Umatilla County Fire District 1 is now fundraising for the event. Their goal
is $25,000. You can find the link to their fundraising page on the facebook page for
Umatilla County Fire District 1. You can also head straight to the Leukemia and Lymphoma
Society - click
here for Umatilla County Fire District 1's team page - and search for the time
or any of the local firefighters to make a donation or find out more about the event.
Hermiston council sets goal-setting meeting Feb. 8, 2018
A special goal-setting meeting for the Hermiston City Council scheduled for Saturday. It
begins at 9 a.m. at the Hermiston Community Center, and the agenda shows discussion,
action plans, wrap up and next steps lasting all the way into the afternoon. Find the
agenda on the website for the city of Hermiston.
Intermountain ESD seeking nomination Feb. 8, 2018
The InterMountain ESD looking for nominations for the annual Crystal Apple
Excellence in Education awards. Those are now open through April 1. The
Crystal apple awards recognize employees in ESD component school districts in Morrow,
Umatilla, and Union counties, including teachers, principals, office staff. The awards
will take place in La Grande on May 7 and in Pendleton on May 14. You can find the
nomination form on the esd website or contact Michele Madril with any questions
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-966-3115.
Festival Street groundbreaking Feb. 6, 2018
On Monday afternoon, city officials gathered for the most recent ground breaking for
downtown Hermiston - this time in the middle of a street. Second street at the location of
the Festival Street in downtown.
Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann speaking during the ceremony and highlighting the vision to
create a festival street as a downtown gathering place and the planning so there will be
no taxpayer bonded debit in the project, and it's instead funded through reinvestments of
urban renewal funding. He also recognized city planner Clint Spencer, who said the project
was first proposed 10 years ago.
"This is really exciting for us, and we hope to have everyone adjust to the traffic
flow soon," Spencer said.
That traffic flow around the construction area proving a bit of a headache for travelers
through downtown as lines of cones separate traffic near the construction zone.
"We understand that sometimes progress is messy and it's inconvenient,"
Droztmann said. "We ask for the community's patience as we go through this project.
We believe the end result will be a beautiful new enhancement to downtown."
Visit the city's website for more on the design and timeline for the downtown festival
Boardman teacher arrested Feb. 6, 2018
A Boardman teacher arrested and charged with sexual abuse.
Robert Weems, a sixth-grade teacher at Windy River Elementary, placed on paid
administrative leave on Feb. 1. The 42-year-old arrested by The Dalles Police Department
on Feb. 2 - that was Friday. He is incarcerated at NorCor on two counts of second-degree
sexual abuse, one count of third-degree sex abuse and a charge of first-degree official
misconduct. His bail set at $3,000.
A press release from The Morrow County School District saying he school district was made
aware of a potential situation regarding Weems on the morning of
Thursday, February 1, and immediately placed him on leave. Weems was hired in June of last
year. The district is unable to provide any other information on personnel issues.
Truck strikes bridge, delays expected Feb. 6, 2018
Delays on Interstate 84 in Boardman after an over-height load struck the underside of the
overpass, potentially causing structural damage. Work expected to last 1 to 2 weeks, and
does impact both the overpass at exist 164 and the eastbound lane of the freeway.
One of the eastbound freeway lanes closed to accommodate bridge inspection and repair
work, and the bridge restricted to one lane as well. The bridge to be controlled by
flaggers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during repair work. Drivers crossing the freeway
should plan for delays and obey traffic control flaggers while it is limited to one lane
of travel. Travelers needing to cross the freeway near Boardman will need to use the Exit
165 overpass or other alternate routes.
Boardman, Stanfield, Umatilla councils to meet Feb. 6, 2018
Coming up tonight, city council meetings for three local cities: Boardman, Stanfield, and
Boardmans council meet at 7 at Boardman City hall. Theyll have a public
hearing on access easemen rededication at the port of morrow as well as a presentation on
goose hunting permits and actions accepting grants for police equipment purchases and
personnel services. Its also time, in Boardman, for the city manager review.
In Stanfield, a presentation on the water system master plan by Anderson Perry and
associates, as well as transfers of money between funds and an update on the odor issues
at 405 N. Hoosier Lane. That meeting begins at 7 in the council chambers at 150 west Coe
For the city of Umatilla, the meeting begins at 7 at Umatilla City Hall, and the agenda
seems to focus on property developments and business improvements. The only resolution on
the agenda allows the mayor to sign an agreement to vacate a portion of G Street to allow
development of the property by the property owner. The city will keep easements for
maintenance approval. The agenda includes fašade grant applications for House of Mowers
and Alaniz Auto Details.
All three meetings begin at 7 tonight. You can contact each respective city hall for more
Burton named Stanfield superintendent Feb. 5, 2018
Stanfield High School principal Beth Burton is the next superintendent of the Stanfield
"We interviewed her last week, and she was a unanimous vote for the superintendent
position," said School Board president Scott Morris.
The board naming Burton to the position during a special meeting on Friday. Burton is in
her second year with the district and will take over Shelley Liscoms duties
tomorrow. Liscom submitted her resignation in December and said she would work through the
end of this school year. She will be on paid administrative leave until June 15.
The district now beginning a search for a new principal at Stanfield secondary school.
Theyre also opening the position for principal at Stanfield elementary school.
Liscom served as both the district superintendent and the elementary school principal.
Hermiston Energy installing new meters Feb. 5, 2018
New electric meters going in across Hermiston this month. Hermiston Energy Services
replacing meters with a contract crew, Allegiant meter, begin working last week. Hermiston
Energy Services Nate Rivera saying theyre seeing rates of about 200 meters a
Customers should have received a notice in the electric bill. On the website, there's a
link as to where the crew will be working. The power shut off between 1 and 5 minutes.
You can find more information and the map of where theyll be working on the citys website under Hermiston
energy services. City officials saying the new meters will allow online tracking and
information, similar to the citys new water meters.
UPDATE: Youth group taken to Good Shepherd Health Care System Feb. 2, 2018 The following is a press release from the Good Shepherd Healthcare System On Thursday, February 1, 2018, a youth group traveling from Lewiston, Idaho, was in
an accident on the I-82 and I-84 interchange outside of Hermiston. Nine of the youth,
including the youth leader driving the van, were transported to Good Shepherd Health Care
System for treatment.
The youth group along with their two additional accompanying vehicles came to GSHCS. GSHCS
quickly assessed the situation and triaged and treated the youth and youth leader that
were brought to the ER with varying degrees of injuries. The additional youth along with
their leaders were given a private space to debrief, take inventory, and make phone calls.
Food and beverages were provided while youth waited for their families to arrive.
GSHCS President & CEO, Dennis Burke, acknowledged, Our team did a superb job of
caring for those suffering from injuries, and the youth and youth leaders who were
concerned about their friends. Under the circumstances, we wanted to make sure that the
youth, their leaders, and families had a private space to decompress, interact with each
other, and where we could provide for their other basic needs of food and beverages
while we awaited family to arrive. Our thoughts are with each of the youth and leaders
involved. When situations like this arise, our team is ready.
The youth and youth leader have since been treated and released.
HPD frustrated by another robbery Feb. 2, 2018
Another robbery in Hermiston. At 9:45 in the evening on Wednesday, a robbery at the
Sinclair Station on Hermiston avenue. The male suspect in dark clothing then fled the area
with an unknown about of cash. Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston calling the rash of
burglaries frustrating, pointing to the citys low violent crime rate and the recent
robberies, which are crimes of opportunity.
A press release from HPD saying it is not known if the Sinclair robbery is related to
other recent robberies. Theyre asking anyone with information on any of the cases to
call 667-5095, and anyone who sees suspicious activity, particularly around businesses in
the evening, to call 911 immediately.
Community health assessment prep begins Feb. 2, 2018
Health officials preparing for the next round of community needs assessment surveys. This
will be the third time officials have worked to capture a health snapshot of the community
about every three years and Good Shepherds Juli Gregory says it helps
determine what the needs are and what organizations should work for in the county health
"One of the reasons we need to gather this information is so we can come up with a
CHIP that is appropriate and pertinent to out community," she said.
In the past, Umatilla County and Morrow counties used a third-party company out of Ohio to
help manage the survey. Gregory says this year, Umatilla County will be taking it on their
own. Gregory says because the questions have already been drafted - and they hope not to
make many changes in order to compare data from different years - organizers hope to make
a smooth transition.
The local counties will continue working with partners, hosting a mail-out survey and
in-person interviews. Those surveys will likely be sent in the fall and collected through
December so the data can be evaluated and then presented to the community around April.
Construction on festival street begins Feb. 1, 2018
Today, work begins on the festival street in downtown Hermiston. City Planner Clint
Spencer calls the groundbreaking the culmination of 10 years of planning work to create a
space to bring people downtown, using public space and downtown businesses.
"They're going to start moving in the construction equipment and get all of the prep
work installed," he said. "The plan is to come in and immediately start working
on pavement grinding on Monday morning."
For construction, the area of second street in front of Hermiston City Hall
thats from Gladys to Main will be closed off. That will be a construction
zone through the first week of June next week. Spencer says they expect to have
construction completed by Memorial Day, all punch list by the 15th Of June.
The project costing more than a million dollars and paid for through the Hermiston Urban
Renewal District. Read more about the HURA
and the festival street here.
The city has scheduled a ground breaking ceremony for noon on Monday, Feb. 5 at the
festival street, across from city hall.
HSD talks flu, keeping kids home from school Feb. 1, 2018
As we told you yesterday, flu season still in full swing in Eastern Oregon. Now, the
Hermiston School district reminding parents to have students practice good hand hygiene
and frequently washing their hands with soap and water to prevent the spread of illness.
Theyre also underscoring a list of about 15 conditions when a student should be kept
home from school. That includes a fever greater than 100.5 degrees, vomiting, and a stiff
neck or headache with fever. Find the full list of recommendations during flu season here.
Flu season not over yet Jan. 31, 2018
It's been a bad flu season this year, and Umatilla County Health says it's not over yet.
"If you dodged a bullet so far, that's terrific, but don't press your luck,"
Director Jim Setzer said. "Go ahead and get a flu shot - better late than
Setzer saying getting a flu shot can reduce symptoms if you do come down with the flu. The
Oregon Health Authority reporting last week more than 5 percent of all emergency room
visits in he state involved influenza like symptoms.That's higher than it has been in
previous years - last year the flu season peaked just under 4 percent and two years ago,
it was only 2 1/2. Flu season typically follows a bell curve, and this year, the west side
of the state - including the Portland Metro and the Willamette Valley - has already
started to peak and trend down. Eastern and Southern Oregon are still on the rise and have
not peaked. Setzer says flu cases will last into at least March if not April.
HPD update on thefts, wanted suspect Jan. 30, 2018
A busy week already for the Hermiston Police Department. HPD reporting thefts from
vehicles that occurred overnight Sunday in the northwest part of Hermiston. Some of the
property has been recovered and returned to the owners. No arrests have been made, but
officers are still investigating. If you're missing something or have information
regarding these incidents contact HPD at 541-567-5519. They're also asking for the
public's help in locating a suspect. David Daniel Diaz, who has two warrants for violating
his probation. Diaz is an Hispanic male, 20 years old, approximately 6 feet tall, and he
weighs around 160 pounds. Diaz lives in the Hermiston area but has no permanent address.
These three photos show how his appearance has changed over the last two years.
If you see Diaz, do not attempt to detain him yourself. Call the Hermiston Police
non-emergency number at 541-567-5519.
Study seeks cancer survivors Jan. 30, 2018
Umatilla County again selected as part of a study by Oregon State University - this time
for cancer survivors.
The OSU study focusing on experiences of breast, prostate, and lunch cancer survivors in
rural Oregon and funded by the National Cancer Institute. Interviews are expected to last
1-2 hours, and participants will receive a $25 in cash or a gift card as a way of saying
thank you. For more information, you can contact the project coordinator, Kathy Blaustein
at 541-737-4705 or Kathy.email@example.com.
UEC Moving Forward on Wheatridge Transmission Project Jan. 30, 2018
Umatilla Electric Cooperative is taking the steps necessary to provide transmission
services to the Wheatridge Wind Energy Facility.
The first step is preparing a conditional-use permit application to build, operate and
maintain a 230-kilovolt transmission line that would connect the project to a Bonneville
PowerAdministration substation at Boardman, said Robert Echenrode, UECs CEO and
UEC will coordinate with developer NextEra and a multitude of other stakeholders to
identify the proposed route, secure landowner easements and prepare engineering design
documents, Echenrode said. Those activities must be completed before a permit application
can be filed with Morrow County.
On Jan. 18, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission confirmed Umatilla Electric
Cooperative as the sole provider of transmission services to the 500-megawatt project. UEC
had been working with Wheatridge and other local, state and federal stakeholders for
several years to plan the transmission line, but progress paused for a year while legal
worked their way through state and federal regulatory agencies.
The proposed transmission line is a key element of a green energy corridor
that would connect wind and solar projects in southern Morrow County to the Northwest
energy grid at Boardman.
Combining energy projects in one corridor along or near Bombing Range Road would have
several advantages, Echenrode said.
It will maximize the regions overall energy capacity and minimize disruption
caused by future projects, he said. It can avoid or greatly minimize
additional impacts to current uses by the Navy and irrigated farm land.
Those interested in more information about UECs Wheatridge transmission project are
welcome to contact UEC Government Relations Manager Alec Shebiel at
Water meters and software ready for Hermiston Jan. 26, 2018
The new water meters for the city of Hermiston have been installed, about 5,000 of them.
In announcing the project, paid for through water rates, the city saying the replacement
would save the city money by re-allocating employees who manually read every meter but
would also allow customers access to more data. That software is now up and running.
Hermiston Assistant City manager Mark Morgan Morgan says you use your account number and
email address on the website eyeonwater.com to
access the information. You can contact the city of Hermiston or visit the website for more information.
Crab feed next week Jan. 26, 2018
Coming up next week, on February 3, the 9th annual Beach & Beef Crab Feed to benefit
the Hermiston Education Foundation.
The fundraising event runs from 5 until 9 and will be at the Hermiston Conference Center.
In addition to crab legs and beef kebobs, the event includes a live auction and
entertainment with a cruise ship sail away theme this year. Tickets this
year are $35 per person, and theyre available now.
Foundation member Karen Sherman says the crab feed is the primary fundraiser for the group
and the money raised goes to classroom scholarships to fund everything from technology
improvements for kindergartners to new marching band equipment at the high school. Funds
also now go to college scholarships for high school seniors.
Tickets available from the Hermiston School district office, Hermiston Chamber of
Commerce, and online through the Hermiston Education Foundation.
ODE releases graduation rates Jan. 25, 2018
The Oregon Department of Education releasing graduation rates yesterday. Overall, the
state of Oregon showing a 76 percent graduation rate. Hermiston landing more than 10
points under that a little less than 66 percent. Its the lowest grad rate in
Umatilla County. District staff saying part of the reason the graduation rate is so low is
because of students receiving GEDs and students from the former alternative school now
counted as part of Hermiston High Schools general population.
Interim Superintendent Tricia Mooney says the district supports students receiving GEDs,
even when it impacts the graduation rate. She says they had 11 students complete a GED in
While Hermiston showed a graduation rate of 66 percent, schools in Stanfield and Umatilla
In Stanfield, the graduation rate at 87 percent. Beth Burton saying the school has
steadily increased its number of on-time graduations and showing improvement every year
since 2013. Stanfield saying the area needing the most improvement is graduation among
students with disabilities.
Umatilla also highlighting and celebrating its growth. Coming in at 82 percent this year.
Superintendent Heidi Sipe saying Umatilla High School outperformed the state of Oregon
averages in every measurable student group.
Echo Schools showing a graduation rate of 81 percent and Morrow County with 78 percent.
Both those school districts reporting a drop out rate of 3.5 percent. In Ione, graduation
at 90 percent with a zero percent drop out rate.
Ione teacher arrested, charted with sexual abuse Jan. 25, 2018
A teacher at Ione Charter School arrested and accused of sexual contact with a student.
24-year-old music teacher Bryan Bates, of Ione, charged with official misconduct,
harassment and third-degree sexual abuse, connected to an alleged incident with a
16-year-old female student that occurred on school property. Bates lodged in the Umatilla
County jail with bail set at $25,000. Morrow County Sheriffs Office saying this is
an ongoing investigation.
Ione School District staff saying Bates placed on administrative leave on Tuesday morning
and arrested yesterday.
Bates in his second year of teaching at the K-12 charter school. Today, the school
offering counseling for students, staff, and parents in the high school library.
Fire District marks 2017 with increases Jan. 24, 2018
In 2017, Umatilla County Fire District # 1 responded to 4,368 dispatch calls an
increase of 4.1 percent. Fire Chief Scott Stanton says the district responded to 196
fires, five explosions, 30 hazardous conditions with no fire, and 3,458 rescue or EMS
"We're just busy, busy," Stanton said. "Calls continue to increase every
Here are the figures provided by Umatilla County Fire District #1:
Over pressures/explosions 5
Hazardous Conditions (no fire) 30
Service Calls 316
Good Intent Calls 278
False call/alarms 75
Special incident 10
Total incident dispatches 4,368 (up 4.1%)
Inter-facility transfers 607 (85% to the Tri-cities area, balance to the Portland
Inter-facility transports unable to staff 19
Delays in response 3 (had 23 delays the prior year)
Total training hours - 10,326 (new record for hours trained) Up 27%
Business Inspections 204
Fire Cause Investigations 27
Other inspections 35
Plans Reviews 41
Station tours 52
Pub Ed events 26
Fire Code consultations 108
School Presentations 79 (thousands of kids)
Smoke detectors installed 94
Planning committee hours 39
During 2017, the district also had a new brush engine and new transport ambulance placed
in service, celebrated the opening of the Fire Training drill tower (a partnership with
BMCC) and began staffing station 22 on Diagonal 24/7/365 in March for first time in
City to own EOTEC Jan. 23, 2018
The City of Hermiston taking full control of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center.
During the planning and construction of EOTEC, the city of Hermiston and Umatilla County
served as partners, supporting the project for its economic benefit and the as the new
home of the Umatilla County Fair and Farm-City Pro-Rodeo. During a joint meeting last
night, the Umatilla County Commissioners proposing shifting their part of the ownership to
the city. County Commissioner George Murdock, chairman of the board, said it better serves
the county to have the fair as a tenant instead of being a partner in the operation.
"Obviously, the major interest of the county was in getting a new fairgrounds, and
that has been achieved," he said. "We also realize EOTEC is a 52-week a year
operation and our interest is one week."
Murdock said the county understands the commitments that have been made and the county has
is morally and ethically compelled to get EOTEC up and running in a positive way.
Hermiston City Manager Byron Smith says the county proposed paying $75,000 a year for five
years to help pay costs while EOTEC finds its feet and it will increase the lease payment
for the fair potentially up to $100,000 a year. Murdock said the county could use
funds from the expansion of the enterprise zone and Lamb Weston expansion to pay its
portion of support for EOTEC, unlike the city, which uses transient room tax funds. Smith
says its a win-win situation.
"EOTEC's been a great success, and the partnership between the city and the county
has been a great success, but now as we move from construction into operations, this looks
like the logical way to go to progress forward," Smith said.
The proposal gives city and county staff 30 days to finalize the terms and negotiations.
Smith says they will still have an advisory board with representatives from the Fair,
Farm-City Pro-Rodeo and the community.
Montana man charged with drug distribution Jan. 23, 2018
A Montana man arrested for allegedly distributing cocaine in Umatilla County.
The Umatilla County Sheriffs Office says 18-year-old Eric Mathias Dunbar, from
Helena, Montana, has been charged with unlawful possession of cocaine, unlawful delivery
of cocaine, and unlawful delivery of marijuana. Over the weekend, a sheriffs deputy
noticed two vehicles stopped on Powerline Road and contacted the occupants. The Deputy
recovered a clear, plastic bag from the passenger side floorboard of a Subaru Impreza with
Montana License plates, and the occupants confessed it was cocaine. As the driver, Dunbar,
saying he had been paid to drive from Helena, Montana, to Eugene to pick up the drug
items. A narcotics search of the vehicle released four safes, 24-hundred dollars in cash,
13 ounces of butane honey oil, 149 grams of cocaine, 7 grams of crack cocaine and about
100 ounces of marijuana. Dunbar was lodged at the Umatilla County jail
Election deadline tonight Jan. 23, 2018
Today is election day. If you have not yet dropped off your ballot, that needs to be in a
ballot drop box before 8 this evening. As of Monday afternoon, voter turnout in Umatilla
county stood about 23 percent. Morrow County has about 28 percent of ballots returned
thats closer to the state return rate as of yesterday afternoon. Measure 101
is the only issue on the ballot.
City Council meets tonight - earlier than usual Jan. 22, 2018
The Hermiston City Council meeting tonight an hour earlier than usual and at a
The meeting begins at 6 at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center on Airport Road. The
meeting opens with a joint discussion between the city council and the three Umatilla
County Commissioners regarding EOTEC and recommendations.The agenda follows with the
presentation of the citys annual audit report, announcement of standing committee
vacancies and committee reports. Find the full agenda here.
InterMountain ESD working through LSP process Jan. 22, 2018
Last Wednesday, the InterMountain ESD Board of Directors voting on this years local
service plan, a document that lays out goals, core services, and funding breakdowns for
the 18 component school districts. Mark Mulvihill says its a collaborative process
between the ESD and the districts
"The LSP process is actually one that I look forward to and enjoy because it's fun to
get in a room together to talk big picture," Mulvihill said. "What are we going
to do to improve grad rates, what are we going to do to improve early learning, and how do
we leverage high-value activities."
Mulvihill says the local service plan every year includes core programs like technology as
well as Medical programs for high-needs children, school psychology and speech pathology.
Board member Kelly Bissinger says hiring those positions can be a big benefit for
"Some of our smaller districts like Stanfield and Imbler, they're going to have a
real problem hiring a full-time speech pathologist, so the consortium works really well
with that group of people to get together and the superintendents says, 'this is how we're
going to allocate these resources,'" Bissinger said.
Mulvihill says the local service plan also introduces many of the ESDs innovating
programs, including Eastern Promise and InterMountain Online.
Over the next month, school districts will begin voting on adopting next years local
service plan. You can find the plan for 2017-8
school year on the website for Intermountain ESD.
Hermiston Schools to introduce calendar Jan. 22, 2018
The Hermiston School District not one of the ESDs component school districts, but
they do have a meeting and work session this evening. That will be at Sandstone Middle
School. Tonight, the board voting on the 2018-19 school calendar. Also on the agenda, a
presentation from Sandstone.and a report from the technology department on Google
training. That meeting begins at 6:30 at Sandstone Middle School Find the agenda
Hermiston man steals, crashes cop car Jan. 19, 2017
A Hermiston man trading two charges for 22 yesterday by escaping custody, stealing a cop
car, and crashing it. 23-year-old Christopher Alvin Phillips lodged at the Umatilla County
jail on 22 charges. Phillips criminal escapade began just before 9a.m. yesterday
when a Umatilla County Sheriffs Deputy responded to a report of a suspicious
vehicle. The caller reported it could be related to a burglary in the neighborhood. The
deputy detained and arrested Phillips, handcuffing him an securing him in the patrol car.
When the deputy left the patrol car to speak with a tow truck driver impounding the
vehicle Phillips had been in, the man broke the rear window of the patrol car, crawled out
of a window i and into the drivers seat. He drove the vehicle into a ditch on Tabor
Road, a short distance away.
Christopher Alvin Phillips charged with stealing and crashing a UCSO vehicle(Photo provided by UCSO)
At 1:15 in the afternoon, residents on Cowboy Lane reported a man pounding on doors. After
a search of the area and a foot chase, Phillips was re-arrested and lodged at the Umatilla
County jail. His charges include escape, vehicle theft, eluding police and other pending
Mental health meeting today Jan. 19, 2017
A stakeholder session today to discuss mental health and crisis intervention services in
Umatilla County. Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says the issues have been building
for several months about deficiencies within the services they are receiving for mental
The Pendleton meeting follows the notice Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc provided
Lifeways last Friday. GOBHI notified Lifeways it had until February 20 to make major
improvements to the quality of its Umatilla County crisis services or the contract will
end. GOHBI saying it expects Lifeways will hire an outside consultant to help with
oversight of the program before the end of January. The notice also calling for a meeting
between GOBHI officials and Lifeways new CEO Tim Hoekstra who took over
operations in Hermiston, Pendleton, Milton-Freewater and Ontario this Monday.
Video shows boat crash that injured officers Jan. 19, 2017
A video released this week promoting the use of life jackets bringing a boat crash from
last summer and the responding law suit back into the news.
This video posted on the Facebook page for Angling Oregon.
Two Hermiston Police Officers, Bryan Maess and Chris McMahon on board a Weldcraft fishing
boat just before a large motorboat rammed into it on Aug. 12 in the Columbia River, just
east of Fort Stevens State Park. The video released by shows the larger boat speeding
toward the fishing vessel, Maes, McMahon and Roni Durham jumping from the boat just before
the crash. Earlier this month, Maess filed a $372,000 lawsuit against the driver of the
larger boat, 75-year-old Marlin Lee Larson, of Roseburg.
The Oregonian reports Clatsop County Sheriffs office has charged Larsen with
reckless operation of a boat, fourth-degree assault and recklessly endangering the lives
of others. Larsen is pleading not guilty.
Arts expand in Hermiston, INWM receive grant Jan. 18, 2017
Two bits of good news for the arts locally. This week, the Oregon Arts Commission
releasing its list of 2018 operating grants. Of the 79 grants, three coming to Eastern
Oregon, including Inland Northwest Musicians as well as the Wallowa Valley Music Alliance,
in Enterprise, and the Drexel Foundation from Vale. Most of the groups receiving a grant
of $1,230, including Inland Northwest Musicians.
Inland Northwest Musicians also partnering with the city of Hermiston to offer violin
classes going on now through Parks and Recreation. Parks and Rec director
Larry Fetter says its thanks to the expanded space as the department moves into the
Hermiston Community Center.
"I'm happy to say we're opening the doors to the finer arts, and so far, we're
encouraged by the response," Fetter said. "It's exciting."
Fetter says the building, formerly the Hermiston Conference Center, will still be used for
community events and many of the same programs it has hosted for years, but in addition,
Parks and Rec now has the space to add music programs, like violin and guitar, as well as
"We've dabbled with youth theater for a few years now... but this new facility, the
community center... opens the door for our own community theater and youth theater,"
Parks and recreation is also expanding its office hours, and you can find more information
on the groups website or by stopping by the Hermiston Conference Center. Fetter says
they have ordered new signage to have it read Hermiston Community Cente.r That should
arrive in the next couple weeks.
SUV crashes into Big Lots Jan. 18, 2017
The Big Lots! Store in Hermiston currently closed as repair and clean up work after a
woman drove through the glass doors and into the counter yesterday. The woman, 78-year-old
Christina Kennedy, reporting she was pulling up to park in front of the store when she
must have hit her gas pedal instead of her brakes and accelerated more than 50 feet into
he store just before noon yesterday.
photo provided by Hermiston Police
No injuries reported, but the crash caused between $60 and $90-thousand worth of damage
to the store, as well as $2,500 to Kennedys Subaru Forester SUV. Kennedy was issued
a sitation for careless driving.
HPD will be adding extra patrols of the business in the time it takes to replace the
window and repair damage.
Woman's death underscores emergency precautions Jan. 17, 2017
A Springfield woman found dead in Morrow County yesterday after walking away from her
vehicle, seeking help. Just before 8:30 yesterday morning, the Morrow County
Communications Center receiving a report of a vehicle off the side of a farm road near
Condon Highway 206 with an elderly female still inside. The 78-year-old woman saying the
vehicle ran off the road and her daughter-in-law had left on foot near midnight seeking
assistance. The weather had been in the low 30s with heavy rain and fog. Heppner Ambulance
transported the elderly woman to Pioneer Memorial Hospital, and Search and Rescue was
deployed. The woman was found deceased just after 12:30 yesterday afternoon. She has been
identified as 57-year-old Becky Sue McDuffee from Springfield.
Morrow County Sheriffs Office issuing a reminder yesterday asking all citizens to
carry appropriate and extra clothing during car travels and to stick to main roads in
unfamiliar areas. If you do become lost or disabled, remain with the vehicle.
Man arrested for shoplifting Jan. 16, 2017
Over the weekend, Hermiston police arrested a Umatilla man for allegedly trying to steal
over $750 from the Hermiston Walmart. 25-year-old Jentry Wedge arrested after he allegedly
loaded a cart with miscellaneous merchandise then tried to exit the store without paying
for the items. A community member reported the incident, and HPD saying they value the
relationship and teamwork of community members.
If you have any information of criminal activity, you can call 911, the business line at
541-567-5519 or the Dispatch Center at 541-966-3651
Window smashed at HPD Jan. 11, 2017
A smashed and shattered window at the Hermiston Police Department could cost $2,000 to
replace, and the windows assailant has been arrested.
24-year-old Peyton Hobbs, of Hermiston, arrested and charged with first-degree criminal
A press release from HPD saying Captain Scott Clark heard a loud crashing sound coming
from the department lobby at around 5:45 yesterday evening. In the lobby, he found one of
the 4-foot-by-9-foot windows smashed and Hobbs waiting outside. The 24-year-old ordered
the police captain to arrest him for what he had done. Clark obliged.
Hermiston Glass boarding the window and saying the glass will likely need to be ordered
out of Canada. The total cost estimated between $1,000 and $2,000.
Police Chief Jason Edmiston saying Hobbs is well known to law enforcement for causing
disturbances. In a statement, Edmiston saying, I can say with 100% absolute
certainty this crime could have been prevented if we had adequate mental health services
in Umatilla County. The phenomena of inadequate mental health services however are not
just localized to Umatilla County as it has been shown to be a trend across the nation.
The solution often amongst politicians and providers is to train the police better
on how to deal with the person instead of providing the obvious assistance and
resources that are needed.
Law enforcement resources too are very limited and many agencies like ours, try to ensure
we are as efficient and effective as possible to maintain order, provide exceptional
customer service, and positively impact the livability of our citizens who put tremendous
faith and authority in us to do this job.
UCFD#1 badge ceremony tonight Jan. 11, 2017
A ceremony at Umatilla County Fire District 1, tonight.
Fire Chief Scott Stanton says they have four employees who either have been promoted or
passed probation, including Scott Goff, who takes over as Division Chief Fire Marshal,
stepping into to the roll as Tom Bohm retires. That ceremony is at 5:30 tonight at Station
21, thats the station on South 1st Street.
In addition to Goff, also part of the ceremony are Ed Clark, Battalion Chief EMS
Coordinator, Chris Wrathall, Fire Lieutenant, and Trevor Phillips, who hasCompleted
Firefighter Probation. Stanton says they will likely have another badge ceremony in March
as they have other firefighters working through training and probation with the fire
Lamb Weston 15-year incentive approved Jan. 9, 2017
A 15-year tax incentive for the Hermiston Lamb Weston approved by the Hermiston City
Council last night. The $220 million project will get a break on its taxes for 15 years,
but its an abatement rather than a full exemption, which means the company will
still make annual payments to the city.. Assistant City manager Mark Morgan says Its
about 45% of what the company would pay in taxes.
"On its face, it looks like, 'Oh, a 15-year exemption, that's so much better than
what Pioneer Seed and Shear's Foods got,' but not really because there's still those
additional payments that they're making, which the others are not," Morgan said.
Morgan said the previous incentive agreements were three- or five-year exemptions for a
full 100 percent of all property taxes.
Hermiston Schools honor Educators of the Year Jan. 9, 2017
The Hermiston School District last night honoring its employees of the year, including
administrator of the year, Larry Usher
"I was very surprised," Usher said. "I think our administrative team in our
school district is fantastic. We have so many administrators that do so many positive
things for kids, and I hadn't really grouped myself in with them. Very humbled to be given
the opportunity to be recognized.
link to see the full list of honorees, their positions, and time in the Hermiston
Umatilla releases design plans Jan. 9, 2017
Plans just released for what the schools improvements in Umatilla will look like. The
Umatilla School District releasing the architectural drawings, from Design West, for the
bond-funded projects at McNary Heights Elementary, Clara Brownell Middle School, and
Umatilla High School.
"We are moving full steam ahead," District superintendent Heidi Sipe said.
"Expect to see a lot of construction."
Sipe said the drawings help community members visualize what the schools will look like
with the improvements. Through the bond, all three schools receive remodels to entrances
for updated safety and security. Clara Brownell Middle School also receiving a new roof
and windows as well as new floors, HVAC, plumbing and electrical.
"The idea of having drawings for an HVAC system that is not 70 years old is so
exciting for us," she said. "We cannot thank voters enough for this
The drawings released do show the design for new entrances to all schools as well as the
new gym space at McNary Heights Elementary. The project funded with a $10 million bond
approved by voters in 2016 and a $4 million grant from the state of Oregon.
City Council, School Board meetings Jan. 8, 2017
Tonight, meetings for both the Hermiston City Council and the Hermiston School Board of
Education. The School Board meeting begins at 5:30 in the District Office. That meeting an
hour earlier than usual to allow for recognition of educators of the year. Find the full
The City council meeting begins at 7 at Hermiston City Hall. Visit the city's website
for the full agenda.
HPD investigating armed robbery Jan. 8, 2017
Hermiston Police investigating an armed robbery at 11th Street Market. The robbery just
before midnight on Friday thats 11:56 on Thursday - by a tall, slender, white
male wearing a ski mask, sweatshirt, and dark pants. He reportedly brandished a handgun
and demanded money before fleeing on foot.
Police Chief Jason Edmiston says theyre hoping someone in the public may recognize
the clothing or the individual. You can find photos on the Hermiston Police Department
page on Facebook. Weve also shared that on our own KOHU KQFM Facebook page.
If you have any information, call 667-5095.
Dancing with the Stars, Arts Council looks to future Jan. 8, 2017
The dancers are in town, and in less than a week, a mirror ball trophy will again be given
out in Hermiston as the sixth annual Dancing with the Hermiston Stars takes the stage.
Its a Desert Arts Council production where six local stars dance to
raise money for charity.
"The dances tend to tell a story, and they get to put a lot of personality and energy
into telling the story," DAC Board member Mary Corp said. "That's probably what
I'm most looking forward to."
Dancing with the stars is this Saturday at Hermiston High School. It wraps up the Desert
Arts council's season, and Corp said its also a time for the Desert Arts Council
board to look at what events theyll offer next season.
In the past, Desert Arts council has hosted theatric performances, singers, art classes in
the park and even circus acts.
Board members will attend Dancing with the Stars if youd like to provide feedback at
that time. You can also contact Desert Arts Council through Facebook, email, or their
For Dancing with the stars,
Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. You can pick up tickets on the Desert
Arts Council website, from the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce, Hermiston Parks and
Recreation, or from a member of Hermiston Kiwanis or Hermiston Rotary. Visit the website
or facebook page for Desert Arts Council for more information.
Schools delayed Jan. 5, 2018
Three schools delayed this morning. The Ione School District and Heppner schools testing
out the three-hour delay this morning because of freezing rain and icy roads. Other
schools in the Morrow County remain on regular schedules. The Pilot Rock School District
also on a two-hour delay.
DUII results in from UCSO Jan. 5, 2018
The Umatilla County Sheriffs Office releasing the results of this years DUI
and high visibility patrols for the holiday season. Between December 13 and January 1, the
sheriffs office had increased patrols watching for distracted driving and driving
under the influence. In those expanded patrols, deputies gave 17 citations and warnings to
drivers and arrested 3 people for DUII, all in Hermiston.
28-year-old Ruben Garza stopped on Dec. 16 and charged with a DUI for alcohol
blood-alcohol at .12 and then 25-year-old Samantha Wolfer stopped and cited with
DUII for a controlled substance and reckless driving, Both those charges between midnight
and 1 in the morning. Then on the 21st, about 10 minutes before 11 in the evening,
20-year-old Cory Adams charged for DUII cannabis, speeding and minor in possession of
marijuana. The sheriffs office saying seven other people were arrested for DUII
during regular duty hours and deputies gave 116 citations and warnings.
Overall, in 2017, the Umatilla County Sheriffs Office made 102 DUII arrests.
The next grant-funded high visibility event is set for Super Bowl Sunday on February 4.
Usher named Administrator of the Year Jan. 4, 2018
Yesterday, the Hermiston School District announcing Athletic Director Larry Usher named
the administrator of the year for the 2017-8 school year.
Usher hired into the Hermiston School District in 2002 as a high school social studies
teacher. In 2010 he was named dean of students position at Sandstone Middle School,
becoming the assistant principal in 2013 and then principal of Sandstone in 2014. In 2016
he was hired as the athletic director.
In other school district news, Desert View Elementary Principal Laura Jacobs-ma resigning
over the winter break. Hermiston Assistant Superintendent Bryn Browning to serve as
interim principal for the remainder for the school year.
Chambers prepare for award banquets Jan. 4, 2018
With the start of 2018, local chambers of commerce are turning their attention to the
annual award banquets, which typically take place in January and February. With two
banquets scheduled later than usual for 2018, Boardman will launch the awards season on
Friday, Feb. 2. Julie Guisi says theyre already receiving award nominations.
"We have people already turning in nominations - it's been fabulous," she said.
"People just see the greatness we have in Boardman."
Heppner follows the next week February 8 and nominations are due January 12.
You can contact the Heppner Chamber of Commerce for nomination forms.
Nominations also opening for the Hermiston Chambers Distinguished Citizen Awards
Banquet. That one will be Feb. 21, pushed back because of the chambers relocation
and new focus. You can find out more by contacting the Hermiston Chamber, and you can find
the award nomination forms on their website. The awards banquet for the Umatilla Chamber
of Commerce also pushed back this year that one in May. Its a return for the
annual event after taking a year off in 2017. Board member Jeff Wheeler says it will be a
new, but still exciting event.
"It is going to be an exciting return, and we're excited to see what that looks like
with the board and all of the extra help we've had from other community members," he
said. "We've had a lot of buy-in from the community, and that's exciting."
While Umatilla Chamber is in its interim management period, you can contact Umatilla City
Hall for chamber-related information.
Chamber, Parks & Rec relocate Jan. 3, 2018
Yesterday was the first day for the Greater Hermiston Area Chamber of Commerce in its new
location in Cornerstone Plaza.
"If you're looking for us, we're just up the street," Chamber Director Debbie
Pedro says. "we're ready to go, and we're really excited."
The chamber now at 1055 S Hwy 395 Ste. 111 in Hermiston.
The chamber formerly at the Hermiston Conference Center - soon to be renamed the Hermiston
Community Center - but moving to cornerstone over the holiday break. This week also marks
the re-opening of Hermiston Parks and Recreation in, well, the former chamber offices at
the conference center. Phone numbers for both groups remain the same.
City looks at water impacts Jan. 3, 2018
At the start of 2018, the city of Hermiston looking toward new job growth and creation but
also planning for a funding shortage in one department: water. Over the summer Hermiston
foods announced its closure and wrapped up operations a few weeks ago. Assistant City
manager Mark Morgan says what happens to that facility will impact the city of Hermiston
in 2018 because Hermiston Foods purchased about 10 percent of the city's water. Morgan
says because of the way Hermiston Foods was set up, it has a lot of flexibility that could
make it easier to find a buyer, which will help with employment and job rates, but
probably not much with water.
"Regardless of who goes in there, I don't know that we could ever count on someone
using the same amount of water, even if it is a food processor," Morgan said.
"It'll be something interesting to watch."
Budget planning beginning now. For the city of Hermiston, the fiscal year begins in July.
Man threatens family with axe Jan. 3, 2018
A man arrested after threatening his family with an axe.
Umatilla County Sheriffs Office deputies responding to a domestic disturbance at a
home on Baxter Road in Hermiston late Friday night. The suspect, 26-year-old Kacey Pankey,
from Umatilla, allegedly became upset during a family dinner event and threatened to
injure and kill multiple people with an axe. A family member fought Pan-key and managed to
take the axe away from him, but family members worried the man could access other weapons
and contacted 911.
Pankey was arrested and charged with six counts each of: Domestic Violence Attempted
Assault II, Domestic Violence Menacing, Domestic Violence Coercion and Recklessly
Morrow County deputy injured in crash Jan. 2, 2018
A Morrow County deputy injured in a rollover crash on Saturday. Deputy Lance Bose
responding to a truck crash on Interstate 84 when he was calling to a report of a fight
involving 15 people in Heppner. On the way, he passed through an area of ice and lost
control of the vehicle, spinning off the roadway. The patrol car rolled several times,
trapping the deputy. Boardman Fire and Morrow County ambulance extricated Deputy Boise,
who was then transported to Good Shepherd Medical Center.
Pregnancy Care Services becomes TruCare Pregnancy Resource Jan. 2, 2018
Hermistons Pregnancy Care Services changing its name over the holiday break.
Starting Tuesday, the Hermiston nonprofit will officially be TruCare Pregnancy
Resource Center. Center director Debbie Cissna says after six years, the nonprofit
will be an independent, locally governed center.
"It is going to look a little different," Cissna said. "Our name is
changing, but what we do and the services we provide are going to be the same."
TruCare Pregnancy Resource Center, located in Granary Square, will be separate from the
Pendleton center, which will continue to operate under the name Pregnancy Care Services.
You can find out more by calling 541-567-2393 or the website trucareprc.com.
Council considers subdivision Jan. 2, 2018
The Umatilla City Council meeting tonight. The agenda including two sets of re-zoning
ordinances, both to add more homes to the city, both in McNary. One of those is the Big
River Subdivision, The council to also vote on moving forward on seeking funding for the
West County Trails Project. That project partnering the cities of Umatilla, Echo,
Stanfield, and Hermiston. The Umatilla City Council meeting begins at 7 tonight at
Umatilla City Hall. Find the full agenda here.
HPD to amp social media presence Dec. 29, 2017
Starting Tuesday, the Hermiston Police Department will be posting a lot more on Facebook
and other social media. Police Chief Jason Edmiston says theyre starting small.
"Our intent is to push out good information, maybe sometimes some humorous
information," Edmiston said. "We're going to shoot for one post Monday through
Friday each week. We'll start there and see how it goes."
The posts could include crime prevention tips, crime information, advisories or community
happenings. Edmiston says theyve discussed expanding social media for a while to
give quick, accurate information.
"There have been numerous times over the past couple years where information on
social media has prompted us to counter that information immediately - or verify that with
additional information," he said.
Now, the three on-call supervisors: Captains Scott Clark and Travis Eynon (ee-nan) and
Lieutenant Randy Studebaker will be posting each week theyre on call.
Its a big change for Edmiston, who has served as the single public information
officer for the department for 12 years.
The social media policy change begins January 2.
Changes for Umatilla Chamber Dec. 27, 2017
Continuing our look forward to 2018, changes for the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce. Lori
Kimbal recently stepped down from her position running that chamber, and the board is
deciding what it will do next.
"Currently we are looking at - obviously, with Lori stepping down - just
re-evaluating that and what does that mean for us," Board member Jeff Wheeler said.
"What do we need to do to best serve the community and the businesses in
Wheeler says the chamber board wants to keep the relationships Kimbal established strong
and the momentum going.
The Umatilla visitors center remains closed during the interim period, although they
are looking for volunteers to help staff that, and Wheeler says they will be hosting a
distinguished citizens awards banquet in 2018 and theyre in the process of planning
for that. You can contact Umatilla City Hall for more information.
Gravel, road priorities for winter weather Dec. 26, 2017
Snow on the ground this weekend, and the first tests for winter road maintenance across
In the city of Hermiston, assistant city manager Mark Morgan says the biggest priorities
are Highland, Fourth Street, First Street.
"We have limited resources in both manpower and plowing capacity," Morgan said,
pointing to the city's tiered response policy. "It's a tiered approach with the top
priority being the main roads."
The citys street management plan does not include Highway 395, Elm and 11th which
are are all state roads. Morgan says the state of Oregon has changed which gravel it is
using this year, opting for a cheaper, lighter alternative while the city has remained
with a heavier rock in its gravel.
"It'll be interesting to see here throughout the winter if we see cracked windshields
from people driving on 395 or 11th or Elm, what the difference is between those streets
and our streets."
The citys tier program for ice and snow removal kicks in when snow is predicted to
be 2 inches or more. Crews work the main roads first, followed by hill routes and the
downtown commercial area, then the residential areas. You can find out more on the
Lamb Weston announces $250-million expansion Dec. 22, 2017
Yesterday, Lamb Weston Holdings announcing a $250-million expansion at the Hermiston
plant. County Commissioner Bill Elfering says its a great deal for Umatilla County
and another example of an economic development.
"I'm loving it," Elfering said. "We're having a lot of success, and good
things are happening."
The Lamb Weston expansion expected to bring 170 jobs to the west end of Umatilla County
while expanding Lamb Westons French fry line. The Hermiston line expected to produce
300 million pounds of product a year. In the release, Lamb Weston president and CEO Tom
Werner said, "The french fry category has been growing at attractive rates around the
world, and we believe industry capacity has been challenged in recent years to keep up
with continued growth in market demand,
Fleecing raises $9,000 Dec. 22, 2017
The annual fleecing taking place yesterday for the Hermiston Rotary. The fleecing is a
donation drive to benefit Christmas express. Before the fleecing, Police Chief Jason
Edmiston saying its the biggest source of funding for Christmas Express and the
group typically donates $5-7,000. Yesterday, however, Rotary members shattering that
average and committing to $9,000 in donations its the most they ever have.
Travel warnings this holiday (and first day of winter) Dec. 21, 2017
Today expected to be one of the biggest travel days for the holiday season only
behind yesterday - and if youre traveling through Eastern Oregon, law enforcement
want you to be prepared for winter weather.
"The roads here locally are pretty decent, but you can clip along at a pretty steady
pace, then you hit some of those passes where there might be ice and snow - or even black
ice," Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan said. "It can make for tense
situations for families."
Law enforcement recommending leaving early and allowing time to travel safely. High
visibility patrols in place in Eastern Oregon, watching for distracted driving, impaired
driving, and seat belt use 3 of the Fatal 5 driving behaviors Oregon
State Police troopers are watching for this holiday season. Through January 1, OSP has
extra patrols also watching for speed and lane usage. Hermiston Police Chief Jason
Edmiston says speed is a critical factor in winter driving.
"Especially this time of year, slow down," Edmiston said.
More than 107 million people expected to take a holiday trip this year. ODOT also
reminding drivers not to rely solely on GPS units: if it directs you to a road that
doesnt appear well maintained or well traveled, turn around.
Christmas Express starts rolling Dec. 19, 2017
Yesterday was the first day of Christmas Express distribution at Agape House, and Dave
Hughes says theyre ready for day 2.
"It's been wonderful. We've been able to serve a lot of people," he said.
"I'd just like to encourage you, if you have received a phone call from the police
department, come in. We're happy to share."
from Ione Community School wrap gifts at Agape House on Monday.
Yesterday, seniors from Ione community school wrapped up their field trip by wrapping
gifts at Christmas Express. Erin Heideman says its about giving back.
"We do a lot within our community, but sometimes it's good to go above and
beyond," she said.
Sonia Medina was one of those students that traveled with Heideman.
"I think it's good to be concerned this time of year because we're in an environment
where kids are getting what they want, what they enjoy, and I think it's good to give back
to those students who might not have that opportunity," she said.
Christmas Express continues until 6 this evening and from 9 to 6 tomorrow. Participants
receiving gifts and food boxes should have been contacted by the Hermiston Police
Department. If youre interested in volunteering, you can contact Dave at Agape
Christmas Spirit awards announced Dec. 18, 2017
On Friday morning, presentation of this years Christmas Spirit Awards to Kriss
Dammeyer, John and Marge Walchli.
This is the 22nd annual Christmas Spirit Awards, given by the Good Shepherd Community
Health Foundation to someone who exemplifies the spirit of Christmas throughout the year.
Dammeyer honored for her work with Made to Thrive, a nonprofit organization she
co-founded. John and Marge Walchli honored as integral memembers of the community who give
time, talents, space, and donations to worthy causes and special events. Read the full releases
Arrest made in armed robbery Dec. 15, 2017
An arrest in last weeks armed robbery in Milton-Freewater.
Umatilla County Sheriffs Office detectives arresting 27-year-old Denis A
Krivosheenko, from Walla Walla, on Wednesday and charging him with first-degree robbery.
The Sheriffs Office says Krivosheenko admitted to the Dec. 6th robbery at the First
Stop Mart in Milton Freewater. He will likely face additional charges related to the
robbery, and hes also a suspect in separate criminal cases involving forgery and
theft, both in Oregon and Washington.
Krivosheenko is lodged at the Walla Walla County Jail pending extradition to Umatilla
Christmas Concert almost sold out Dec. 15, 2017
Coming up this weekend, the holiday concerts for Inland Northwest Musicians. Its
called The Spirit of the Season, and features both the Inland Northwest
Chorale and Inland Northwest Orchestra. Conductor Lee Friese says the concert will cover
both well known and lesser known compositions that enhance the holiday.
Spirit of the Season will be offered three times this weekend: on Friday in Echo, Saturday
in echo, and Sunday in Connell, Washington. Unlike most inland northwest musicians
concerts, the Echo shows do require reservations because space is limited. Find more info here.
BMCC Instructor elected to national board Dec. 15, 2017
Blue Mountain Community College agriculture instructor Nick Nelson selected to serve as
President of the National Association of Agriculture Educators (NAAE) during the NAAE
annualconvention in Nashville Dec. 5-9. He is the first teacher from Oregon to serve as
President and the first
person in the country to serve in the role from a post-secondary institution.
Nelson serving on the NAAE Board of Directors for the past four years, three of those
years as the
Region 1 Vice President (serving 11 western states), and one as President-Elect for the
Nelson is an animal science instructor at BMCC, where hes
been a faculty member for the past 11 years. Prior to BMCC, Nelson taught agriculture at
the high school level in Hermiston and Clackamas.
Chamber selects temporary location Dec. 14, 2017
Effective December 20th, the Greater Hermiston Chamber of Commerce and the Hermiston
Visitor and Welcome Center will be moving to Cornerstone Plaza, the address is 1055 S Hwy
395, Suite 111.
"That really is different for us," Debbie Pedro says. "We've been managing
the conference center for past 22 years as a chamber of commerce, so we're really excited
to look to the future."
The City of Hermiston Parks and Recs Department will be moving into the former Chamber
offices at the Hermiston Conference Center, soon to be the Community Center.
The Chamber will begin the moving process on December 20th and be closed for the week of
Christmas and New Year Holiday. Our office will reopen on January 2, 2018 in the new
Chamber staff saying the move is temporary and they are exploring permanent locations.
For more information, contact Chamber at 541-567- 6151.
Sheriff's office begins DUII event Dec. 14, 2017
The Umatilla County Sheriffs Office (UCSO) launching its holiday duii enforcement
campaign today. From Dec. 13 through New Years Day, the sheriffs Office will
be participating in Oregons DUII / High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) grant program
looking for impaired drivers. The Sheriffs Office will have extra deputies
patrolling the roadways looking specifically for intoxicated and distracted drivers.
The holiday season is a time when families and friends get together and celebrate. On
average, there are 33 lives lost in traffic collisions every December in the State of
Oregon. It is UCSOs goal to prevent serious injury or fatal crashes on our
Please, buckle up, drive for the conditions, and never drive impaired by alcohol and/or
drugs. Be responsible and arrange for a sober driver.
If you see what you believe to be unsafe operation of a motor vehicle, call 911 with the
vehicles description, direction of travel,
and license plate number if possible. You may save a life.
Schools donate 12,000 canned foods Dec. 12, 2017
More than 12 thousand pounds of canned foods donated to Christmas Express from Hermiston
schools. The Hermiston Police Department runs Christmas Express each year to provide food
boxes and gifts to needy individuals and families in the Hermiston area. Police Chief
Jason Edmiston says it wouldnt exist without the schools donations.
Armand Larive Middle School donated more than 27-hundred pounds of food on its own. About
66 percent of students at Armand Larive Middle School qualify for free or reduced lunch
"It's always encouraging to see the schools that probably have the demographics that
could benefit the most from this program are the ones that donate the most," Edmiston
Here is the breakdown:
Desert View793 items
Highland Hills1,511 items
Rocky Heights2,984 items
Armand Larive2,750 items
Hermiston High School3,984 and $500 worth of toys
City staff will pack the boxes tonight. If you are interested in helping with Christmas
Express distribution, you can contact Agape House to volunteer.
HURA value tops $50 million Dec. 12, 2017
The Hermiston Urban Renewal Agency is now worth more than $50 million. Thats a 20
percent increase since it was created in 2014.
"If the main goal of an urban renewal agency is to increase value and eliminate
barriers to new private development, then I think we can safely say we're hitting it out
of the park," Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says.
The bulk of the increased value from last year comes from the development of the 93-room
Holiday Inn Express, which hit the tax rolls this year. Other developments include the
creation of the Festival Street area that just went out for bid today with
construction expected in early 2018 as well as the Harkenrider Center. The Urban
Renewal Agency oversees a taxing district designed to revitalize downtown by offering
business incentives similar to the enterprise zone we talked about last week.
Morgan added that the new 50-space parking lot between Locust Avenue and Orchard Avenue
also benefits downtown construction because it can draw in new businesses as it helps
businesses meet their parking space requirements. You can find more about the Hermiston
Urban Renewal Agency on the citys website.
Warnings about winter weather from HPD, HSD December 11, 2017
Icy conditions on Interstate 84 causing multiple semi truck accidents this week, and, as
winter weather continues to pick up, Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says
theyre already seeing an increase in crashes.
"Some of which can be attributed to distracted driving, some to the weather,
especially this time of year as the roads become icy," he says. "We'd just
encourage everyone to drive slow."
In preparation for the weather, the Hermiston School District issuing a reminder and
recommendations for protecting students against the cold including a recommendation
that students travel to school with hat, gloves, and a warm coat, saying students can
remove layers as the temperature improves but need to have appropriate shoes and clothing
to prevent frostbite. The district advises families not to let children wait inside a home
for the bus making sure they wait outside so the bus driver can see them and stop
and the police chief says if youre driving your children, resist the
temptation to let a car warm up with the keys in it unattended.
"We know that we have a significant population out there that are
opportunistic," he says. "We'd ask people to be very smart warming their
Edmiston says many criminals are looking for a situation where the reward is more than the
risk so if you make it more difficult for them, youre less likely to be a
Schools talk audit, city council considers airport hangar December 11, 2017
Speaking of schools, the Hermiston School Board has its regular meeting tonight. That
includes the audit report, updates on enrollments and accept grants from the Hermiston
Education Foundation. That meeting begins at 6:30. The board does have an executive
session at 6 before the regular meeting. Find the full agenda here.
Also tonight, the Hermiston City Council considering approving a 20-year lease for a new
hangar at the airport. The airport advisory committee recommending approving the lease
because all city-owned hangars are fully occupied with a waiting list. Developer
Dennis Hyatt proposing building the hangar to house his own airplane as well as space for
leasing to other plane owners. During the meeting, theyll also vote on publishing
the notice of the 2018 Primary Election that includes multiple council spots as
well as municipal judge and a change to the fee resolution for making copies and
public record documents. That meeting begins at 7. Find the full agenda
Final day of 12 Days of Giving - today Dec. 8, 2017
Today is the final day of Good Shepherds 12 Days of Giving. Under the theme for
today - Drummers Drumming - they're looking for school supplies, but you can donate items
for any of the days today. Drop off donations at Good Shepherd Medical Center or call
541-667-3502 for more information.
Dog dies in Boardman fire Dec. 8, 2017
A fire yesterday morning in Boardman. The 6-wheel camper trailer burned and a total loss.
Boardman fire saying both occupants were out of the home and uninjured, but the family pet
a dog - perished in the fire. That was just before 6 in the morning yesterday. The
American Red Cross providing temporary housing and basic needs services at 9 in the
morning. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Living Nativity in Hermiston this weekend Dec. 8, 2017
Coming up this weekend, its the annual living nativity at t Hermiston First
United Methodist Church on Gladys in downtown Hermiston. Volunteers will present scenes of
the Christmas story on a path along the outside of the church. Longtime volunteer Tim
Turner says Hermiston First United Methodist has hosted a living nativity 23 of the last
25 years and are planning on presenting it again this weekend, from
6-8 p.m. on Saturday and 4-6 p.m. on Sunday
They will have hot chocolate and live entertainment in the church building, but the
nativity is outside, so dress warmly.
For more information, contact Hermiston First United Methodist Church.
County Commissionerslook to planning Dec. 7, 2017
The Umatilla County Commissioners meeting yesterday morning and approving the expansion of
the Greater Hermiston Enterprise Zone. Theyre also moving forward with the
pre-budget process and preparing for ongoing projects. Umatilla County Commissioner Larry
Givens says they struggle every year with what road projects to plan for because road
funding is limited.
"We look at the county roads that are traveled frequently and those that are less
traveled and set priorities based on the traffic on those roads," he said.
Planned improvements do include changes to Ott Road and Airport Road after increased
traffic from the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center, especially during the Umatilla
County Fair and Farm-City Pro Rodeo. Changes to Airport Road designed to streamline
"We probably will have to widen it, we'll have to have some lanes put in for turning
and that kind of thing," Givens said. "Then of course, it has to be resurfaced
The project still in the design phase. The improvement projects near EOTEC are earmarked
for funding through a state transportation grant. The improvement package estimated at
Agape House offers coats, sale Dec. 7, 2017
Mornings are getting colder , and even though many area coat drives have wrapped up, you
can donate winter clothing to Agape House or pick one up if you are in need.
"If you know of somebody who needs a winter coat, don't hesitate to come down and see
us, and we'll make it all work," said Dave Hughes, executive director of Agape House.
Agape House is also having a name your price yard sale this weekend the final one
of the year. That will be from 8:30 to 11:30 Saturday morning at Agape House, 500 Harper
Christmas Express needs volunteers Dec. 6, 2017
The holiday season is underway, and Christmas Express
Gifts and food boxes will be distributed through Agape House. The pickup days are the 18,
19th, and 20th and they are looking for volunteers. Each day has three three-hour shifts:
9-12, 12-3 and 3-6.
Agape House director Dave Hughes says volunteers needed to help check people in, to hand
out gifts, and to help load food boxes into vehicles. Its also open to kids to help
out with their families.
"It is a great opportunity to help youngsters understand that part of community is
giving back," he said.
Hughes says they need 9-10 people on each shift. You can call Agape House at 567-8774 to
DA turns over officer shooting investigation Dec. 6, 2017
The Umatilla County District Attorneys Office will not continue with the
investigation into an officer involved shooting last week in Pendleton. DA Dan
Primus saying there is a conflict involving his office and the investigation.
It has been turned over to the Baker County District Attorneys Office.
A man shot and wounded by a Pendleton Police Officer at about 8:45 in the evening last
Wednesday. The incident began with a conflict at Walmart, then a foot chase and the shots
fired near the intersection of Southwest 2 0th Street and Court Avenue. Police have said
the man had a handgun and was not obeying verbal commands.
What is an enterprise zone anyway? Dec. 4, 2017
A week ago today, the Hermiston City Council voted to approve expanding the Hermiston
Enterprise Zone. This Wednesday, the Umatilla County Commissioners will vote on the same
measure to expand the business incentive area, and, if they approve the change, the
Greater Hermiston Enterprise Zone will include the freeway interchange area between
Interstate 82 and 84. Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says since that vote,
hes heard questions.
"This is just one tool we have," Morgan said. "Frankly, it's our most
effective tool for incentivizing business."
The enterprise zone offers incentives for businesses to locate in the area.
Morgan says since 2009, almost 85 million dollars invested in the zone, giving businesses
either a 3 or 5 year tax exemption in exchange for locating near Hermiston. After the
exemption period ends, the properties are taxes as usual. Morgan says it helps bring
businesses to the community bringing a greater long term value than the incentives
"At this time, approximately 60 million has come on to the property tax rolls, which
I can guarantee you would not have happened without the enterprise zone," he said.
Morgan says the enterprise zone expansions directly created more than 300 jobs between
2009 and 2015 in addition to any secondary jobs created by population growth. Find
out more about Hermiston's enterprise
An Enterprise Zone agreement is on the agenda in Boardman tomorrow. A resolution setting
an agreement between the Columbia River Enterprise Zone and VaData. That meeting begins at
7 tomorrow at Boardman City Hall. The council also to recognize the Riverside High School
state champion soccer team and vote on establishing a health reimbursement program.
In Stanfield, the Stanfield City Council meeting also at 7 tomorrow. On the agenda,
updates from committees and an update on the Odor issues at the 3D Idapro plant and a
resolution transferring funds. That meeting will be in the city council chambers at 150
West Coe Avenue.
Journey to Bethlehem this weekend Dec. 1, 2017
Farm Fair wrapping up at noon today, but tonight, a journey to Bethlehem begins. Now in
its 10th year, Journey to Bethlehem is a re-enactment of the Biblical story of the birth
of Jesus. Volunteer Larry Hanson says it gives visitors an opportunity to experience the
"We really want people to forget the glitz and glitter of the holidays we celebrate
in America and think about the original birth of Christ," he said. "We want you
to experience the sights and sounds and smells of what it was like."
About 100 volunteers make the event happen every night. Guided tours for the event run
from 5 to 8:30 tonight and continue tomorrow and Sunday. The event is free, and the tour
takes about 20 minutes. Journey to Bethlehem is an outdoor event, so dress appropriately.
Festival of Trees celebrates Family Day Dec. 1, 2017
This weekend is also the Hermiston Festival of Trees at the Hermiston Conference Center.
The banquet and auction is sold out, but Family Day is still open and thats
The event includes crafts, cookie decorating, and meeting with Santa. The suggested
donation is $5 - per family.
Liz Marvin, one of the festival of trees organizers, says the large trees will remain in
the conference center during family day to allow visitors to view them. The banquet and
auction benefit the Good Shepherd Community Health Foundation and the Hermiston Kiwanis
Club. Sundays family day will benefit the Hermiston Soroptimists.