KOHU - KQFM LOCAL NEWS

by News Director Jennifer Colton
541.567.6500 or 541.289.NEWS or KOHUnews@gmail.com
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Umatilla honors officer, approves budget
April 20, 2020
The city of Umatilla recognizing a police officer for displaying valor and professional actions. Officer Cotter Butler to be recognized during a special City Council and budget committee meeting tonight for his response to a house fire just before 5 a.m. on April 3. Arriving when the garage was already engulfed in flames and the house filled with smoke, Butler kicked in the front door and was able to rescue an elderly resident then began notifying neighboring houses to evacuate.
Fire Chief Steve Potts saying Butler’s actions made an “immense difference” in the fire response for the area residents and by allowing the fire department to focus on the fire rather than engage in a rescue operation.
Also on the agenda tonight, approval of the city budget and affirmation of taxes. That meeting begins at 6 p.m. tonight at Umatilla City Hall. Find the agenda here.
Tonight, Stanfield City Council also meeting and talking contracts and planning with multiple projects on the agenda including a contract for planning services and updates on projects with Seder Architecture. The council also looking at budget committee discussions, council agenda structure, and a resolution revising water rates. That meeting begins at 6 p.m.in the council chambers on Coe Avenue.


Daily covid numbers stable; weekly up
April 19, 2021
With UCo Health offices being closed on Sunday, the post-weekend report for local counties almost identical to what the Oregon Health Authority posted over the weekend. The total figures are the same – 7,968 for Umatilla County and 1,079 for Morrow County.
The numbers are up in the county risk level metrics, however.
Locally, Morrow County reporting 15 cases from April 4 to April 17, a rate of 118.3, but under the small county guidelines, that should keep morrow county in lower risk. Umatilla County could qualify to back to High risk with a rate of more than 100 - 104.7 - after 85 cases reported in the past two weeks, but because the county just moved down to moderate in the last period, Umatilla County should qualify for the grace period. That period will keep Umatilla County at moderate for the next two weeks to give a chance to bring the numbers back down.

Ways and Means virtual hearing this weekend
April 16, 2021
This weekend, Eastern Oregon planning to present to the state’s Ways and Means Committee to make the case for where state funding should go. The virtual hearing for Eastern Oregon is this Saturday from 1 to 3. State Senator Bill Hansell encouraging local testimony on state and local issues.
"I can't emphasize enough how important it is for folks to come before and testify," he said."If you have something that's uniquely to your jurisdiction like, for example, the Umatilla County Jail, and you don't bring it up here, no one else is going to bring it up.
Because the session covers all of Congressional Region 2 and will only last two hours, Submission of written testimony is encouraged, even if you plan to testify during the event. There is a good chance all who sign up to testify will not be able to within the time limit.
Find more information on testifying or watching the session on the Oregon legislature’s website.


Local COVID-19 cases by Zip Code
April 15, 2021
Looking at COVID cases by zip code over last week, there were 14 new cases in Hermiston for a total of 3101 and also 14 in the 97801 zip code, which includes Pendleton, for a new total of 1,710. Umatilla's zip code showing four new cases, up to 1,554, and there were seven cases in Stanfield's zip code making the total now 319. Boardman is up one case to 682, and Irrigon reporting three new cases up to 320.

Hermiston breaks ground
April 14, 2021
Yesterday the first day back in school full-time for Hermiston students and also the first day of ceremonial groundbreaking for the district’s two new elementary schools.

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Hermiston School Board members pose with golden shovels at the groundbreaking of the new Rocky Heights Elementary

Groundbreaking events happened yesterday for both the district's bond-funded school projects: a replacement Rocky Heights Elementary and the new Loma Vista Elementary. Both schools are expected to open for students in August of 2022.

Council votes on senior living contract
April 12, 2021
A new senior living community on the agenda for tonight’s Hermiston City Council meeting. The council is being asked to issue a letter of intent to basically lease seven acres of city property to Paradigm Compass for the purpose of building a 65-unit senior living community.
The property is part of 20 acres the city bought in 2005to address temperature discharges to the Umatilla River, but after tests of the concept didn’t work, the solution was abandoned. Last summer, the city council opted to advertise 8 acres of the property for not costs for senior housing. You can read more about that decision here.
Also on tonight’s agenda, an update on the 7th street sewer main replacement, approval of the 20-year EOTEC Site Master Plan, and the third quarter investment report. That meeting begins at 7 tonight at the Hermiston Community Center. Click here for the full agenda.

School Board prepares for in-person transition tomorrow
April 12, 2021
Tonight, Hermiston School Board is looking at employment, enrollment, and the first week of full-day, in-person school in more than a year. Superintendent Tricia Mooney will have a return to in-person learning update tonight. Mooney has said bringing students back and getting them involved in clubs and activities has been a priority for the district.
"Until we've figured out how we can get our kids back in school where they need to be, fully, five days a week, only then will we as a community and we as a state start to heal from this," she said.
A reminder that this is a no-school day for students in the Hermiston School District to prepare for full-time classes for all students to begin tomorrow.
The school board will also hear reports about enrollment and approve various hirings, resignation, and extra duty contracts for the district staff. The board will also vote on establishing a grant
That meeting begins at 6:30 tonight in the district offices.
Find the full agenda here.

Weekly reports show outbreaks, zip code cases
April 8, 2021
Only one of the 10 largest outbreaks in the state is in Umatilla or Morrow County.
Two Rivers Correctional Institute is still the state's largest active workplace outbreak this week with 766 total cases, but the Umatilla prison reporting no new cases last week.
With three local outbreaks moving to resolved status last week, the list only showing two other active workplace outbreaks from the local area: one each in Umatilla and Morrow County. The Umatilla County Jail outbreak holds steady with 18 total cases, and Lamb Weston Packing in Boardman reporting 13 cases.
By zip code, Hermiston reporting six new cases of COVID-19 last week up to a new total of three-thousand-87. Pendleton's zip code adds 7 cases to 16-hundred-96. In Umatilla, two new cases bring the total to 15-hundred-50. Four new cases in Boardman and a new total of six-hundred-81.Irrigon is up one case to 317, and the Stanfield zip code up five cases to three-hundred-12. No new cases in Echo or Heppner reported last week.

Umatilla talks housing; Boardman finances tonight
April 6, 2021
The housing boom continuing in Umatilla. City Manager Dave Stockdale saying planning for housing will be a big part of discussion at tonight’s city council meeting.
"We're building about a hundred homes a year now," Stockdale said. "We expect to do at least that many in 21, and we're expecting to do about 150 in 2022. It's going to be a lot of homes."
Tonight, Umatilla City Council discussing strategies and potential opportunities to provide housing at lower and higher economic levels. The city’s Housing Needs Analysis showing need for homes at all economic levels while the majority of planned housing developments include homes 145-325-thousand.
Also on tonight’s agenda:
- A $1.8 million construction contract to James Dean Construction to extend Wanapa Road
- Discussion of a West County Legislative Lobbyist Intergovernmental Agreement
- Discussion on changing the August 3 council meeting to allow for National Night Out events.
- Council will also discuss an elected officials stipend. Meeting documents pointing to a “significant” increase in workload for the mayor and city council members within the past three years.
That meeting begins at 7 p.m. tonight. Click here for the full agenda.
Also happening tonight, the Boardman City Council talking audits and receiving grants both from the Columbia River Enterprise Zone and the State of Oregon CARES Act. There’s a presentation scheduled about a dog park and time for public comment. That meeting also begins at 7 p.m. tonight.
You can find the full agenda here.


Umatilla, Morrow counties have low vaccine rates
April 5, 2021
Umatilla and Morrow two of the seven counties called out by the Oregon Health Authority Friday for having fewer than 50 percent of Oregon seniors vaccinated against COVID-19. OHA Director Pat Allen saying it isn’t because "It's because demand for vaccines is softening among some seniors who have chosen to wait for a vaccine - especially in less populated counties," he said.
Allen saying they will continue to focus outreach on those age 65 and older who are at the highest risk for the virus.
Morrow County will be offering multiple vaccine clinics this week and next week. This week’s clinics will be at the SAGE Center. Contact Morrow County Public Health for information on appointments. Find more about vaccine opportunities in Umatilla County on the website for Umatilla County Public Health or through your local pharmacy.

Umatilla bridge project inches forward
April 5, 2021
It’s been two years since the pedestrian bridge over the Umatilla River collapsed, but Umatilla City Manager Dave Stockdale says the bridge replacement project continues to move forward – with good news coming last week.
"The good news is we have the approval from FEMA. We just got notification yesterday from Business Oregon on a grant from them," he said Friday. "We got notification from the Community Development Block Grant program from a grant there, so all the funding is lined up."
Stockdale says they are waiting on final federal approval and construction is likely to start at the end of the year.

Chamber purchases new property
April 5, 2021
The Greater Hermiston chamber of Commerce is moving – again.
The Chamber has purchased the former Pioneer Title building at 630 S. Highway 395 and will move there once remodeling is completed
A press release from the Chamber says the long-term plan remains the same – to use proceeds from the state grant and future fundraising dollars to create a permanent home for the Chamber at South Highway 395 and Evelyn Avenue..Since receiving the grant, the Chamber has purchased the Evelyn Avenue property, drafted site, and building plans, and subdivided the property to create two more commercial lots that can add significant funding toward the building project once they are sold.
The Chamber has leased space in Cornerstone Plaza since January 2018.

Closure begins on River Road
March 31, 2021
Drivers on Umatilla River Road surprised yesterday by extended detours as
Safety improvements on Umatilla River Road – that’s County Road No. 1275 – starting yesterday.
Umatilla County Public Works Director Tom Fellows saying the project is funded through federal grants to improve safety and visibility in the area.
The Umatilla County project includes reconstructing about 15-hundred feet of roadway, flattening the crest of the vertical curve and adding a turn-late into the city of Hermiston recycled water treatment facility.
Although the physical work on the road will only be between Cooney Lane and the intersection with 11th Street , it is causing drivers to detour at either Cooney Lane or Geer Road to avoid the construction.
Fellows saying some grinding work begins today and they’re expected to have all utilities relocated by next Friday to begin the road improvements. Dependent on weather and utilities, they’re expecting to have the final part of the project pouring new asphalt and striping – happening in late April. The detour and road closure will be in place for the entirety of the project.
Anderson Perry and Silver Creek Construction both contracted on the project.

OHA updates county metrics
March 30, 2021
The Oregon Health Authority releasing its weekly county metrics yesterday, which are used for county risk levels. From March 14th through March 27th, Umatilla County reporting 102 cases of COVID-19, and that's down six from the new cases 108 reported in the previous two-week period. It's a rate of 125.7 per 100,000. To move to the next lowest risk level, the county needs to have a rate of less than 100 per 100,000 population.
Over the same two-week period, Morrow County reporting 7 cases for a rate of 55.2.


Spring break ends, schools re-open
March 29, 2021
School resumes today after spring break, and more students will be in classrooms and for longer times than have been in more than a year.
"we're just continuing to try and offer more as we can do that as safely as possible," Morrow County School District Superitnendent Dirk Dirkson. said.
In Morrow County, elementary students returning for full days today and secondary students seeing expanded offerings and movement. Other school districts announcing plans to bring students back for more time in mid or late April. Echo Schools superintendent Raymon Smith saying the change is because the state relaxing physical distancing rules from 6 feet to 3 feet.
"That's a a game changer for all of us, and I think people have seen that from the announcements coming out from all the school districts around us," Smith said. "That just chagnes everything."
Masks and physical distancing are still required under the Safe Schools, Ready Learners guidelines. In Hermiston, all students will return to full days April 13

TRCI still tops outbreak list
March 25, 2021
The Oregon Health Authority releasing the weekly outbreak report yesterday, and Two Rivers Correctional Institution still the largest active workplace outbreak; however, case count increases continuing to slow at TRCI. Three new cases again this week at the Umatilla prison, up to 763.
Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario is still the state's second largest outbreak with 629 cases - that's the third week in a row the Malheur County prison has reported 629 cases.
There are three other local workplace outbreaks on the active list, but none reported new cases. That's the Hermiston Walmart DC with 124; Lamb Weston West with 46, and Earl Brown & Sons with 7
Two local workplace outbreaks moving to resolved this week: Keystone RV and Lamb Weston Packing.

Construction planned for both Hermiston city council, school board
March 22, 2021
The city of Hermiston could see work at the Hermiston airport. City Council tonight will vote on a resolution to apply for and accept planned federal grants to reconstruct the aircraft parking area. This project will fully excavate and rebuild most of the aircraft parking areas at the airport. A 2014 pavement evaluation report from the Oregon Department of Aviation showed that the apron pavement was more than 30 years old and various sections of the apron were rated between "Poor" and "Failing."
The Airport rebuilt the taxiway in 2016, and that addressed a large portion of the apron as well. This project will finish rebuilding the rest of the Apron.
The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. tonight at the Hermiston Community Center.
The council will also have a work session at 6 tonight to discuss the duplex housing code.
Click here for the full agenda.
For the Hermiston School Board, an update and potential contract on Loma Vista Elementary. Administration recommending the school board accept a contract with Kirby Nagelhought Construction for the 22.5 million construction of the new elementary
They’ll also have updates on bond projects and return to in-person learning and a report on the board goals. That meeting begins at 6:30 tonight.
Find that agenda here.

District promotes from within for admin positions
March 19, 2021
Loma Vista Elementary has a principal. When the elementary opens in the fall of 2022, Joshua Borwning will serve as school principal. Browning currently and instructional coach for the district.
In other school district administrative changes, the Hermiston School District will promote from within to fill administrative positions for the next school year.
Director of Student Services Neely McKay has served as interim director of special programs this school year and will officially step up as director on July 1, vacating the director of student services position.
Desert View Elementary School Principal Daniel Greenough will replace McKay as the director of student services.
Previous elementary school teacher and current Sandstone Middle School Assistant Principal David Melville will move to DVES as principal.

Council talks 5G, School Board updates re-opening and budget
March 8, 2021
Tonight, Hermiston City Council talks 5G.
A proposed franchise agreement with the group that operates US Cellular’s system in Hermiston is on the agenda. The five year agreement would allow the company to place “small cell” receivers at 21 locations throughout the community to provide 5G services. The franchise could bring the city about 56-hundred dollars the first year and then about 3 percent more each year after. City staff is recommending the council approve the resolution.
Also on the agenda, a presentation recognizing Mariela Caldera, the winner of the Funland Playground Art Contest, and a certificate of recognition for city employee Brandon Artz, who went above and beyond the normal call of duty in interrupting a confrontation between an an armed individual and an injured person, kicking the weapon underneath a vehicle and keeping it secured until Hermiston Police officers arrived.
Council also to discuss a fašade grant application.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. tonight at the Hermiston community center and will be live streamed on the city’s youtube channel. Find that the full agenda here.
The Hermiston School Board also meeting tonight. On the agenda, a return to in-person learning update, discussion and approval of financial planning parameters, an enrollment update. The council also expected to move forward with a $23.4 million contract with Kirby Nagelhout Construction for the Rock Heights Elementary School project. That meeting begins at 6:30 tonight and will end with an executive session To consider the dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent who does not request an open hearing.
Click here for that full agenda.

Boardman honors 2020 award recipients
March 8, 2021
Boardman celebrating its annual awards over the weekend. 2020 Business Person of the year presented posthumously to Marty Myers, general manager of Threemile Canyon Farms. The Boardman Pioneer award presented posthumously to Art Kegler Citizen of the Year going to Rick and Shara Weiss. The couple recognized as being incredible servants and having a heart for community, Business of the Year to Farmer's Cup Coffee Shop. If you missed the live streaming event, you can still find a video of the awards on the Boardman Chamber's Facebook Page.

Huber, Middleton honored at Hermiston DCA
Feb. 25, 2021
Last night, Hermiston marking its 51st Distinguished Citizen Awards.
Compared to Wonder Woman, the woman of the year recognized for service on state and local boards as well as her involvement with special education and the iCan Bike program. Cindy Middleton saying she was surprised but is greatly honored to be recognized.
"I may have thought I was being punked at one point," she said with a laugh. "I certainly recognize it as a great honor."
The Man of the Year title presented to Ken Huber, owner of Burns Mortuary, for helping families through some of the most trying times of their lives for more than 25 years. He was recognized for being on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and for always being willing to help. In accepting his award, Huber saying he can't imagine a better place to live than Hermiston.
The ceremony also included a video recognizing each Hermiston School's Educators of the Year as well as the surprise award for the district's overall educator of the year: Roger Berger.
A longtime fixture at Agape House, Doug Alvarez recognized with the Merit Award And the final award, business of the year, to M&M Potato "This town is so giving, it's - it's hard not to support it," Jake Malmburg said.
As a hybrid event, award winners and their families attended on-sit while the audience participated remotely. And, yes, they still gave away the table centerpieces.
If you missed the ceremony live stream, you can still view the video here.

Weekend COVID cases include backlog
Feb. 22, 2021
On Friday, a dozen cases in Umatilla. Five cases in Morrow County.
Over the weekend, the Oregon Health Authority reporting 72 cases from Umatilla County on Saturday – the most cases for any county in the state. Umatilla County has a higher than anticipated case count due to approximately 1,400 backlogged test results received on Feb. 19. These test results were from June 2020 through Jan. 2021. Cases were investigated and interviewed locally at the time of their positive test but were not electronically reported to OHA.
No word yet on how this could impact county health metrics – whether this will be included or not. On the other hand, on Sunday, OHA only reporting 1 cases in Umatilla County but saying due to a server error, a large number of electronic lab results (ELR) were not processed yesterday. As a result, today’s case and ELR totals are lower than usual and the total for tomorrow is expected to be higher than usual. The backlog of ELRs is currently being processed.
After the weekend, Umatilla County reporting 75-hundred-81 total cases. Morrow County showing six new cases on Saturday and none on Sunday that brings the total up to 1-thousand-31

City council adds projects, utility increase
Feb. 22, 2021
$20 million in projects will be added to the City of Hermiston’s capital improvement plan if approved by city council tonight. The projects range through 2026 and including replacing nearly 3 miles of aging water mains and rebuilding north first place between Hermiston and Elm.
The council also discussing an increase to water/sewer rates , The 2 percent increase based on annual inflation and the construction cost index.
Also on the agenda tonight, the downtown decorative banner program, and the January 2021 financial report.
The council is expected to meet in a closed-door session for property transactions.
Before the meeting, Hermiston City Council members will have a tour of the temporary city hall set up at the Hermiston Public Library.
After that work session tour, the regular meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Hermiston Community Center. The meeting will e livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel.
Find the full agenda here.
Also happening tonight, the Hermiston School Board meeting at the district offices. They’ll have bond project updates, an update on the return to in-person learning and discussion of financial planning parameters, a series of decisions that help plan the district budget for next year. That meeting begins at 6:30 and will be live streamed on the district’s youtube channel. You can find that agenda here.

Webinars on restaurants, beer set for tomorrow
Feb. 10, 2021
Coming up tomorrow, two different webinars: one on restaurants, the other on hops. The first webinar about challenges facing restaurants in the ongoing pandemic.
The Blue Mountain Community College Small Business Development Center partnering with Oregon Restaurant COVID Assistance Program for a free webinar this week to talk challenges, issues, resources and marketing for restaurants during the pandemic. They’re asking restaurateurs to bring specific questions that need resolutions. That’s from 3 to 4 p.m. Thursday. You can registered for connection information at the SBDC website.
Next, also happening Thursday, a spotlight on the Pacific Northwest hops history – and the stories of the people who picked hops the the area’s prized beer makers. Eastern Oregon University History Professor Ryan Dearinger presents his research in an EOU Colloquium at 4 p.m., Feb. 11 via Zoom. His book, "Beer's Dirty Work," is expected in the next year.
Read more about his findings, and get the Zoom link here.

Seniors eligible for vaccine
Feb. 8, 2021
Starting today, Oregonians age 80 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Joe Fiumara, director of UCo Health, says they’re working to make the vaccine available to as many people who would like to get it, but they might not be able to reach everyone who qualifies immediately.
"I don't have a solid number as far as how many of those folks we think are out there, but what I am confident about is the state's not going to give me enough vaccine for all of them that first week," he said.
UCo Health receiving about 400 vaccines this week designated for that group. They’ll have walk-in vaccinations this Friday at Good Shepherd from 7 a.m. to noon with no appointments needed, then they’re also offering appointment at Mirasol Family Health Center in Hermiston, at the Pendleton and Milton-Freewater offices of Umatilla County Public Health office and at the Milton-Freewater Communication building. English- and Spanish-speaking staff available for scheduling appointments. To make an appointment at Mirasol, call the center after 8 a.m. today. For appointments in Pendleton and Milton-Freewater, call the dedicated appointment line - 541-278-6311.
If you have general questions about COVID-19 vaccinations, you can call 211.
Again, as of today, those 80 and older qualify for the vaccine, people age 75 and older will qualify next Monday, the 15th.
Looking at COVID-19 cases from over the Weekend, UCo Health reporting 30 cases on Friday; Oregon health Authority adding another 30 on Saturday. In Morrow County, five cases on Friday, none on Saturday, but on Saturday, A 13th death reported in Morrow County: a 65-year-old woman in Morrow County who tested positive on Jan. 10 and died on Feb. 2 at Kadlec Regional Medical Center.
Yesterday, three new cases in Morrow County, 13 cases in Umatilla County.
The county totals now 997 and 13 deaths in Morrow County, 7,350 with 76 deaths in Umatilla County.

School re-opening, educators of the year for school board
Feb. 8, 2021
Educators of the year, Enrollment, and return to in-person learning on the agenda for the Hermiston School Board tonight. Some discussion also expected on the district’s cleaning, disinfecting, and ventilation procedures as well as financial and staff reports. The district expected to show a video recognizing the educators of the year and vote on the superintendent’s contract. They’ll also be hiring 8 custodians.
That meeting begins at 6:30 tonight at the district offices.
Click here for the full agenda.

City Hall back on council agenda
Feb. 8, 2021
Hermiston City Council also meeting tonight, and awarding a contract on its multi-million-dollar city hall rebuild project is again on the agenda.
Council also expected to appoint Cameron Bendixsen as an additional municipal court judge pro-tem. City documents pointing to new conflicts of interst and availablilty as a need for an additional judge pro-tem
Water service amendments and a presentation about a downtown decorative banner program also on the agenda tonight
That meeting begins at 7 and will be live streamed on the city’s youtube channel.
Click here for that agenda and viewing information.

TRCI continues to top outbreak list
Feb. 4, 2021
Two Rivers Correctional Institution still has the largest active workplace outbreak in the state. The total now 681, which 31 more than last week.
Snake River Correctional Institution the second largest with 595, up two cases, and Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution in Pendleton the third largest with 534 cases. That's the same number as last week. Point of interest: 7 of the 8 largest outbreaks in the state are now prison facilities.
In other local outbreaks, the Hermiston Walmart Distribution Center reporting 116 cases, up two from last week, and Lamb Weston East in Boardman reports no new cases and continues at 113. The outbreak at Good Shepherd is up one case to 91.
The Hermiston Lamb Weston reports three new cases over the last week for a total of 63, and three new cases also at Keystone RV, bringing the Pendleton facility to 46.
There are five smaller active outbreaks listed in the report:
Shearer's Foods 25
Hermiston Walmart 21
Columbia River Processing - 16
Tom Denchel Ford Country - 16
Lamb Weston Packing in Boardman - 6

Former Commissioner candidate sentenced
Feb. 2, 2021
Three press releases from Umatilla County DA Dan Primus yesterday - two regarding sentencing of Hermiston men.
In one case, former County Commissioner candidate Jonathan Lopez, 30, pleading guilty to one count of initiation a false report. The charges stemming from a letter Lopez claimed to find inside his mailbox in June of 2020. The letter contained derogatory racial terms and veiled threats. After being questioned by police, Lopez admitted he wrote the letter himself. Lopez was sentenced to 18 months probation, two days in jail, a fine, completion of a racial bias program and submission of an acceptable apology letter to the community.
In the second case, 58-year-old Jose Olivarez Fernandez sentenced to 200 years and 10 months in prison. The Hermiston man pleading guilty to 19 counts, all of which relate to sex crimes and a single victim from the time she was 6 until she was 9 years old. Olivarez Fernandez pleading guilty just before the now 10-year-old victim was scheduled to testify.
In the third DA release, a Milton-Freewater man adding 20 months to his prison sentence last month after requesting a second trial.
On January 16 of 2020, 29-year-old Krystian Thomas Allen, of Milton-Freewater, sentenced to 50 months in prison with eligibility for early release for stabbing an Athena man in the back the year before. That jury verdict was 10-2, so Allen appealed and was granted a second trial following the United State's Supreme Court decision finding non-unanimous verdicts unconstitutional.
The second jury unanimously found Allen guilt of second-degree assault, and Allen was sentenced under Measure 11 to 70 months in prison without eligibility for early release - 20 months longer and more restrictive than his earlier sentence.

Umatilla considers annex, new zone in Power City
Feb. 2, 2021
New property, new zones, and new goals on the agenda for the Umatilla City Council tonight.
On the agenda, a public hearing and a vote about a proposal to make part of Power City part of the city of Umatilla and add a new zone that allows livestock on larger lots within City Limits. The zone proposal geared toward residents of the Power City Residential Area who could connect to city services if annexed but would not be able to keep livestock on those properties, based on city codes. The proposed zone would not be applied to any other properties within the city - only those in the newly annexed area in Power City.
During the meeting, the council also expected to discuss city council goal and meet in a closed-door executive session to consider a real property transaction to promote economic development ad job growth.
That meeting begins at 7 p.m. tonight. Click here for the full agenda.
Boardman city Council also meeting tonight and that meeting also starting at 7 p.m.. The agenda includes financial reports and time for public comment. The meeting will be via Zoom, and you can also find that agenda here.

Changes in restrictions, still extreme risk
Jan. 27, 2021
Oregon Governor Kate Brown is modifying rules for indoor activities in Extreme Risk counties. Starting this Friday, facilities over 500 square feet can have up to six people inside. That includes fitness centers, but restaurants are excluded. For facilities smaller than 500 square feet there can be one customer and one employee, like a trainer. Brown says COVID cases didn't spike over the holidays and rules for Extreme Risk Counties can be adjusted. Umatilla and Morrow counties each remain in the Extreme Risk category this week.

Hermiston prepares to bring back kinder, first grade
Jan. 27, 2021
As Hermiston ZIP code metrics decline, Hermiston School District elementary administrators are building a plan for the return of kindergarten and first grade students to the classroom for hybrid learning.
On February 16 elementary schools will adjust their schedules to offer comprehensive distance learning in the afternoon. At the same time, these buildings will welcome kindergarten and first grade students into classrooms on a hybrid model.
Superintendent Tricia Mooney says the district is moving methodically into hybrid learning.
Hermiston ZIP code data must reach less than 88 cases over 14 days, as reported by Umatilla County Health Department and Oregon Health Authority, for the district to be able to launch the hybrid model.
“Though the transition won’t be overnight, once metrics are met, the district will be able to promptly roll out hybrid learning for kinder and first grade,” said Mooney.

Umatilla County tops 7000 cases
January 26, 2021
Yesterday, Umatilla County topping 7,000 cases of COVID-19.
Nineteen cases added to the count today after more than 50 were added over the weekend, bringing the new total to 7,011 since the pandemic began.
In Morrow County, one new case yesterday for a total of 967.

UCo Health offers vaccine clinic for Phase 1a, educators
January 26, 2021
UCo Health will be offering drive-thru COVID-19 vaccinations for eligible individuals at the Pendleton Convention Center on Thursday, January 28th and Hermiston High School on Friday, January 29th. Vaccines will be administered from 8am-6pm each day or while supplies last.
The vaccines prioritized for:
- Individuals in Phase 1a
- Educators who have been prioritized by their administrator.
Per Oregon Health Authority, this vaccine allocation is not available to other individuals in Phase 1b, including individuals over the age of 65. UCo Health saying county residents should expect an extended timeline for vaccination due to changes in Oregon’s COVID-19 vaccine prioritization and continued vaccine allocation delays.

Legislative Update planned this week
January 26, 2021
Coming up this week, the first legislative update with Sen. Bill Hansell and Rep. Bobbie Levy. Local chambers of commerce partnering with BMCC to provide the live updates where participants will be able to ask questions and provide feedback for elected officials.
The first update at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow, and they're expected to continue Wednesdays during the legislative session.
The events are broadcast via Zoom through Meeting ID: 920 8374 5312
If you are unable to connect through Zoom, there's also a call-in option: +1 253 215 8782

City Hall bids come in; project to cost at least $8.6 million
Jan. 25, 2021
The Hermiston City Council will review bids for the city hall replacement project tonight. Bids on the project range from $8.66 to 11.5 million with the low bid coming from Griffin Construction in The Dalles. The city plans to use annual payments from the Greater Hermiston Enterprise Zone to pay the bulk of the cost.
The City Hall project includes rebuilding a larger facility on the same site that will include space for the building department and municipal court as well as renovations of the basement at the Hermiston Public Library, which is serving as an interim City Hall until the new facility is finished.
Also on the agenda, notice of a special election, an application for off-premise alcohol sales from Desert Lanes and an ordinance annexing about 15 acres off Southwest 3rd Street into city limits.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Hermiston Community Center and will be broadcast on the city’s website and youtube channel.
Click here for the full agenda.

School board talks re-opening
Jan. 25, 2021
The Hermiston School board alos meeting tonight, and on the agenda – the plan for student return. Starting February 16, elementary student schedules will change. Comprehensive distance learning will move to the afternoon. This will shift limited in-person instruction to the morning timeframe and create a smoother transition as the district is able to move into hybrid learning. Parents will receive further building-specific information in the coming weeks, via building newsletters and electronic communications.The decision will be made using health data, including the two-week "look back" of the Hermiston ZIP code.
As decisions are made regarding the instructional model, the district will communicate timelines that allow for necessary district planning, staff training, family communication, and a gradual opening.
During tonight’s meeting, the school board also hearing presentations on high school graduation data and bond project updates. They’ll vote on the superintendent’s evaluation.
That meeting begins at 6:30 tonight at the district offices.
Find the full agenda here.


TRCI tops outbreak list
Jan. 22, 2021
Two Rivers Correctional Institution is now the state's largest active workplace outbreak.
The Oregon Health Authority releasing its outbreak report yesterday, and with 607 total cases, TRCI's outbreak now larger than those at Snake River Correctional Institution, which has held the top spot for about six months, and Pendleton's Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, which has been the largest outbreak in Umatilla County.
Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario at a total of 591 in this week's report; EOCI reporting 2 cases last week for a total now of 533 cases. TRCI's outbreak adding 179 cases last week to reach the total of 607.
Other large outbreaks include the Hermiston Walmart Distribution Center, up four cases this week to 113 cases. Boardman's Lamb Weston East adds seven to 112, and the outbreak at Good Shepherd grows by 2 cases up to a total of 90.
There are eight smaller workplace outbreaks from Umatilla and Morrow counties.
There were no new outbreaks reported in care facilities.
Find this week's full outbreak report here.

Grad rates up in Oregon, region
Jan. 21, 2020
The Oregon Department of Education releasing Graduation rates for the class of 2020.
Across the state, the four-year graduation rate up to 82.6 percent – even as schools closed for the COVID-19 pandemic. The graduation requirements were modified because of the closure – any senior who was passing their classes in March and on track to graduate received full credit for those courses. Umatilla County slightly higher than the state’s graduation rate – 85 percent. The rate for Morrow County even higher: 91.89 percent.
In the Hermiston School District, an 83.74 percent graduation rate, an increase of more than 9 percent from the year before.
Superintendent Tricia Mooney saying the increase reflects the hard work of staff and students and the move to hire staff to directly support secondary students toward graduation.
She says, “While we still have room for growth, it is exciting to see efforts paying off.”
In the Umatilla School District, 93% of students graduating – more than 10 percent above the state average. "Not only did 68% of 2020 graduates earn 3 college credits or more, but 12.4% of them graduated with their AAOT from Blue Mountain Community College and their high school diploma through UHS concurrently," Superintendent Heidi Sipe says “Every senior who started with us in the fall graduated last year and we are proud of their success.”
The Morrow County School District’s four-year graduation rate 91.6; Echo at 85.7; and Stanfield at 97.5 percent.
For more information on the district’s graduation rate, including student groups, visit the ODE website at www.oregon.gov/ode.

Three-day weekend COVID count
Jan. 19, 2021
UCo Health reporting a total of 162 cases of COVID-19 over the three-day weekend, pushing the county total up to 6,803, which is 10 cases higher than what the Oregon Health Authority reported in its count yesterday afternoon. UCo Health is also showing the county’s 68th death with COVID-19.
Morrow County reporting 23 cases from the three days for a total of 942. That’s four new cases today.
The Oregon Department of Corrections also updating its reports after the long weekend. As of yesterday, Two Rivers Correctional Institution had 304 active cases of COVID-19 in inmates and 639 who have tested positive since the pandemic began. Total, 112 staff members have tested positive – 15 higher than last Monday.

Outbreak list shows TRCI doubles cases
Jan. 14, 2021
A mixed bag of good and bad in the weekly outbreak report. The good news is yet again only 2 of the state's largest active workplace outbreaks are in Umatilla County. The bad news is they're both the county's prisons and have 400 and 500 cases. But the prisons are in good company - all five of the state's largest outbreaks are correctional facilities as are 7 of the 10.
By the numbers, Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution continues to be the state's largest active outbreak, now with 531 cases, only a single case larger than in last week's report. Two Rivers Correctional Institution continues its skyrocket up the list, coming in just behind EOCI as the state's third largest active outbreak. TRCI almost doubling its cases in a single week, jumping 213 cases from 215 to its new report of 428 cases connected with the most recent outbreak.
Also showing active outbreaks, the Hermiston Walmart DC with 109 cases, up 5 from last week. Lamb Weston East in Boardman is up to 105 cases, and Good Shepherd reports one new cases for 88 this week. The Lamb Weston Boardman Pac Center remains at 62 cases; Hermiston Lamb Weston adds 24 cases in the week up to 58 total for the current outbreak. Another week with nine new cases for Pendleton's Keystone RV brings the total to 40, and a single new cases at Shearer's Foods pushes that facility to 24. Lamb Weston West is back on the list with 23 cases, and the outbreak at the Hermiston Walmart grows by 2 to 14. Columbia River Processing reporting 8 cases, Tom Denchel Ford Country appearing on the list for the first time with 7 cases

UCo Health reports 3 COVID-19 deaths
Jan. 14, 2021
For the first time, three deaths reported in a daily report from UCO Health.
The county's 62nd death with COVID-19 is a 69-year-old man who tested positive on Dec. 28 and died on Jan. 1 at Good Shepherd. He had underlying conditions.
Two other deaths also reported yesterday in Oregon Health Authority reports, but the deaths have already been reported by the Oregon Department of Corrections as deaths from Two Rivers Correctional Institution. Both are inmates who died at Kadlec Medical Center.
One man, 89, tested positive on dec. 29 and died Jan. 6. The other, a 72-year-old man tested positive Jan. 3 and died Jan. 10. Both had underlying medical conditions. The county's death toll now 64.
UCo Health also reporting 50 new cases yesterday for a total case count of 64-hundred-71.
In Morrow County, nine new cases yesterday for a total of 905.

Weekend cases; 3 deaths
Jan. 11, 2021
More than 130 cases of COVID-19 reported over the weekend, three local deaths.
On Friday, reports of the 60th Umatilla County resident to die with COVID-19: a 50-year-old man with underlying conditions who tested positive Dec. 27 and died Jan. 5.
The 9th Morrow County resident to die with COVID-19 reported as an 84-year-old man who tested positive Jan. 4 and died Jan. 6 at Good Shepherd.
Two Rivers Correctional Institution also announcing the death of an inmate who has tested positive for COVID-19. The man was between 70 and 80 years old and died yesterday at a local hospital.
For cases, On Friday, 39 cases for Umatilla County; 13 for Morrow.
On Saturday, 91 cases for Umatilla County and 14 in Morrow, then Yesterday, 34 cases in Umatilla County and 4 in Morrow.
The totals now 64-hundred and 4 with 60 deaths in Umatilla County, 885 with 9 deaths in Morrow.

Bowles found dead at county jail
Jan. 11, 2021
A death at the Umatilla County Jail on Saturday. David Lee Bowles, the Heppner man who turned himself in on Thursday was found dead in his bed at the jail early Saturday morning. The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office says at this time there is no evidence of foul play. The 43-year-old Bowles was facing charges of first-degree manslaughter and felon in possession of a weapon regarding a December shooting that killed a Heppner woman. Bowles death is under investigation.

Hermiston City Council says crowd won't cause reopening
Jan. 11, 2021
Two public hearings on the agenda for tonight’s Hermiston City Council meeting – but no agenda items about reopening Hermiston.
On Friday, the City of Hermiston responding to a rumor that if enough people attend tonight’s meeting, the council could opt to open Hermiston businesses. A statement from the city staying, “this is simply false, and frankly, not even possible. The city of Hermiston does not create or oversee any business guidelines related to COVID or control when businesses can reopen. Those decisions are made and enforced at the state level.”
During the meeting, the two public hearings will both focus on property annexations, and the council will also vote on three property resolutions. They’ll discuss the investment report, the goal setting report and elect a council president for a two-year term.
The regular meeting begins at 7p.m.  tonight at the Hermiston Community Center. They will have a limited amount of seating, and it will be live streamed on the city’s youtube channel.
The council will have a work session at 6 p.m. about regional water efforts.
You can find the full agenda here.

School Board talks returning to classes
Jan. 11, 2021
While the City of Hermiston doesn’t have reopening on the agenda, the Hermiston School Board does – in a way. A study item on tonight’s agenda to discuss an update on return to in-person learning. The district has set extra time for public comments in case there is a large public presence.
School Board members also discussing enrollment and financial reports tonight, and general consent items of business.
That meeting begins at 6:30 in the district office and will be live streamed.
The board will also be meeting in a closed-door session at 5:30 tonight. That executive session will be about the superintendent’s evaluation.
Click here for the link to the full agenda.

TRCI outbreak spikes, others grow
Jan. 7, 2021
The Oregon Health Authority releasing its COVID-19 outbreak report yesterday, showing 4,853 active COVID-19 outbreaks in the state.
The good news - only two of the top 10 largest active workplace outbreaks in the state come from Umatilla County. The not-so-good news - the state's five largest active outbreaks are all in state prisons, and the bad news - one of those outbreaks grew by almost 200 cases in one week.
Two Rivers Correctional Institution showing 43 cases in last week's report. This week, the Umatilla prison reporting 215 - that's 172 new cases in one week, and it moves TRCI up to the fifth largest active outbreak in the state.
Snake River Correctional Institution still the largest active outbreak, now at 574 cases. Eastern Oregon correctional Institution in Pendleton the second largest, now with at 530. The Madras Deer Ridge Correctional Institution reporting 265 cases and Oregon State Correctional Institution 235.
Other large active outbreaks include the Hermiston Walmart DC - 104 cases this week, an increase of three over last week.
Good Shepherd with 87, that's up six cases in the last week,and the Lamb Weston Boardman Pac enter in Boardman is reporting 62 cases; it's the largest active workplace outbreak from Morrow County but showed no new cases this week. The Hermiston Lamb Weston's active outbreak climbing up 11 cases, though, now 34 associated with that outbreak.
Keystone RV in Pendleton now at 31, an increase of nine, Shearer's Foods is up four cases to 23.
The Hermiston Walmart reporting a dozen cases in an active outbreak, and new outbreaks this week at Oregon Potato and Garrett Packing in Milton-Freewater, both with five cases.
By Zip codes, the Hermiston 97838 zip code is up 147 cases to 2561. The 97801 is up 55 to 1,321. Umatilla's zip code, which includes TRCI, up 230 cases to 965.Stanfield is up 14 cases to 236.

DA asks for information in Bowles case
Jan. 6, 2021
Law enforcement continue to search for information about David Bowles, a Heppner man wanted in a shooting that killed Marlene Bowles Dec. 14. Morrow County District Attorney Justin Nelson says he still believes people know more than they're telling law enforcement - and he is asking people to notify Oregon State Police about any information – even if they think OSP already knows it.
"What I want to stress is if you have any information about this shooting, about Marlen Bowles, or the wherabouts of David Bowles, please call Oregon State Police," Nelson said.
Nelson says you can call 1-800-442-2068 to provide any information on the case.

Holiday weekend COVID-19 cases
Jan. 4, 2021
Today, 23 new cases of COVID-19 in Umatilla County, but high numbers coming out over the long weekend.
New Year’s Eve showing 143 cases reported in Umatilla County, and County Commissioner George Murdock says half of those were inmates at the county's two prisons.
Murdock saying the county has asked the state several times to not include those in the count - that prison inmates with COVID-19 should be a separate entry reported by the Oregon Department of Corrections.
As of Dec. 30, there had been 700 inmates to test positive in Umatilla County’s two prisons – that’s 12 percent of the county’s total positive cases.
Also over the weekend, Umatilla County reporting 57 cases on Friday, 53 on Saturday, and 91 cases on Sunday. Umatilla County’s total number of cases is now 5,840.
In Morrow County, 10 cases of Thursday for a total of 815, 10 on Friday, four on Saturday and Nine yesterday.
839 now the total for Morrow County.

Weekend COVID-19 numbers
Dec. 14, 2020
The Oregon Health Authority reporting COVID-19 numbers form over the weekend.
For Umatilla County, OHA reporting 38 cases on Friday, 36 on Saturday and 36 on Sunday. That makes Umatilla County’s total to 4,881 cases since the start of the pandemic.
In Morrow County, OHA reporting 24 cases on Friday, five cases on Saturday and four cases added on Sunday for a county total of 747.

Council, School Board meet tonight
Dec. 14, 2020
Finances and audits the them of both the Hermiston City Council and Hermiston school board meetings tonight.
Hermiston City Council
The master fee schedule, financial reports, and awarding a contact for the Ridgeway Water Line Replacement project on the agenda for the Hermiston City Council tonight.
The waterline project would replace pipes – some almost 100 years old – along Ridgeway, Northwest Seventh, and Northwest Sixth Street. The city was still accepting bids when the agenda was released on Friday, so the city will be releasing info on bidders and big amounts tonight.
The meeting will also include certifying the election results, a presentation with a previous of the new city of Hermiston website, and time for public comment. That meetings begins at 7 p.m. tonight at the Hermiston Community Center. A limited number of seats will be available for in-person attendance, but the meeting will also be livestreamed on the city’s youtube channel.
Click here for the full agenda.
Hermiston School Board
For the Hermiston School Board, the auditor’s report and financial reports on the agenda. They’ll also talk enrollment – which is now more than 200 students from this point last year.
School Board members also have a closed-door executive sessions on the agenda. That's to discuss property transactions and to review and evaluate the employment related performance of a staff member who does not request an open hearing. 
That meeting begins tonight at 6:30. Find that full agenda here.

Cases up, outbreaks down
Nov. 30, 2020
There is good news on the workplace outbreak list, however, the total number of active outbreaks in Umatilla and Morrow counties down to seven
Work sites must employ at least 30 people and have at least five active cases to appear on the list of active outbreaks.
The bad news is four of those seven active local outbreaks are in the top 10 largest for the state. Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution's outbreak has now grown to 518 cases, still the state's second largest, behind only Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario. For EOCI, that’s an increase of 13 over the previous week. Of those cases, 450 are in inmates, 68 in staff. Lamb Weston East is the state's 8th largest active outbreak with 86 cases up seven from last week. The Walmart Distribution Center up one case to 79 cases in the 9th spot, and now in the top 10: Good Shepherd with 71 cases. That's an increase of three over last week.
Also showing active outbreaks: Lamb Weston Boardman PAC Center with 54 cases, three more than last week, the Hermiston Home Depot with 17, and a new outbreak reported at Smith Frozen Foods in Weston, the facilities second outbreak in the COVID 19 pandemic. There are 7 cases associated with that facility.
Senior and care facilities
Again two active outbreaks at care and senior facilities: Avamere at Hermiston still showing 43 cases and three deaths in the outbreak first reported Oct. 26. Regency Hermiston showing an outbreak of 5 cases first reported Nov. 7. That’s two new cases over last week.
Zip code
Hermiston's zip code is pushing close to 2,000 cases as of last week: 19-62, an increase of 99 over the previous report. The Pendleton zip code one case short of 1,000 in the weekly report: 9-hundred-99. That’s an increase of 86. Umatilla reporting 579 cases last week, Boardman's case count at 416. 301 in Milton-Freewater, 175 in Irrigon, 162 in Stanfield, Echo at 32 cases and 19 in Heppner

Christmas Express canned food drive begins
Nov. 30, 2020
Today, the start of a canned food drive for Christmas Express. Police Chief Jason Edmiston saying finding food was one of the first hurdles the annual event faced this year with the closure of schools.
"The overwhelming majority of canned foods that are part of that program come from the kids, come from the students," Edmiston said. "We're having a community call for assistance for a drive-through, drop-off canned food drive."
Starting today and through Dec. 11, they will be taking donations of nonperishable food items at the Hermiston Community Center. They’ll have someone available to take donations from 9 to 5, and Edmiston says all you have to do is drive up, and they’ll help take the items from your vehicle.
Christmas Express is now in its 52nd year. The program provides food and gifts for 500 needy families in the Hermiston area. In addition to the food drive, they are also taking monetary donations and donations of toys at the Hermiston Police Department.

State COVID-19 cases up
Nov. 23, 2020
Two days of record-breaking coronavirus cases in Oregon over the weekend. High case counts in Umatilla County but far from record breaking compared to our peak this summer. On Saturday, 40 and on Sunday, another 47 cases in Umatilla County. For Morrow County, 10 and 7 on Sunday. The totals now 4,099 in Umatilla County and 619 in Morrow County.

Hermiston City Council meets tonight, Boardman changes date
Nov. 23, 2020
The financial audit report on the agenda tonight for the Hermiston City Council. They’ll also discuss an ordinance about the sewer section of the city code, a resolution about the greater Hermiston enterprise zone, and committee vacancies. That meeting begins at 7 p.m. tonight at the Hermiston Community Center. It will be livestreamed over YouTube.
Find the livestream link and the full agenda here.
On the topic of city councils, The Boardman City Council has changed their December meeting to Tuesday, December 8, 2020, due to their regularly scheduled meeting falling so closely after the Thanksgiving holiday. This meeting will be held via the video-conferencing service ZOOM at 7:00pm. The meeting link is posted at the city’s website at www.cityofboardman.com .

Cases increase, governor "pause"
Nov. 9, 2020
COVID-19 numbers up in both Umatilla and Morrow counties on Friday and over the weekend.
Friday the highest total of last week: 37 cases in Umatilla County. Over the weekend, 27 cases on Saturday and 25 on Sunday in Umatilla County. That pushes the total to 3,642.
Morrow County showing 2 new cases on Saturday and 8 cases on Sunday for a total of 579.
Because of the increase, Umatilla County one of the counties the governor putting on a “pause” and increasing covid restrictions, including limits on restaurants, gyms, and private gatherings.
In light of the governor’s order, the Hermiston School District pause all in-person student activities, effective Monday, November 9, until further notice, including limited in-person instruction and onsite athletic and activity programs. District staff will continue to offer evening support to families at the district office, providing help with obtaining a Chromebook or hotspot, accessing Google applications and other class programs, checking student email and teacher communications, and homework help. Hermiston High School will also not be able to offer training, conditioning, or practices to students participating in athletics and activities
The Umatilla School District on Friday announcing they will continue limited in person instruction and hybrid options as the metrics allow.

School board meets tonight
Nov. 9, 2020
The Hermiston pause likely to be discussed during the school board meeting tonight.
Tonight, the Hermiston School Board talking Student Success Act. They’ll have a presentation on community input and a plan update
That board also expected to approve the Hermiston School district Student Success Act Plan and Grant agreement.
Updates also expected tonight on enrollment and finances.
The Hermiston School Board meeting begins at 6:30 tonight at the District offices. Find the full agenda here.

Power rate increase on agenda
Nov. 9, 2020
Rate increases for Hermiston Energy Services again on the agenda for the Hermiston City Council tonight. In October, HES asked to make adjustments to retail rates after increases of about 18 percent in wholesale electricity prices. The proposal tonight would increase rates just under 7 percent effective Jan. 1, and then again just under 7 percent Oct. 1 of 2021. City staff is recommending adopting the change.
Also on the agenda, a public hearing about amending a parcel on theater lane from residential to commercial and votes on adoption of the updated version of the Umatilla County Deadly Physical Force plan and a proclamation on small business Saturday. The council will also consider appointments to fill the vacant seat on the city council and will announce committee vacancies.
The full agenda available here.

Election results
Nov. 4, 2020
The 2020 general election last night, and in Umatilla County, a new County commissioner.
Dan Dorran beating HollyJo Beers to take the position open as Bill Elfering retires. Dorran brought in 14-thousand 8 hundred 82 votes compared to 110thousand 5-94 for Beers. There were 897 write-in votes, but Dorran taking 45 pecent of the total votes to become the presumptive commissioner.
In Morrow County, Jim Doherty retains his spot as County commissioner over challenger Joel Peterson. Doherty receiving almost 61 percent of the vote. Morrow County Sheriff Ken Matlack beats challenger Mark Pratt to retain his position as well on a 60/40 vote split, and Glen Diehl takes the race for Morrow County justice of the peace. Morrow County voters chose Jaylene Papineau for treasurerer with 61 percent of the vote.
Other incumbents remaining in their positions, Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, Bill Hansell, and State Rep for District 57 GREG Smith elected for an 11th term. Bobby Levy takes the race for District 58 with 68 percent of Umatilla County’s votes, and Cliff Bentz will fill the spot in U.S. Representative of the 2nd District opened by Greg Walden's retirement.
Local races
Five candidates ran for for four at large positions on the Hermiston City Council, and with the votes tallied in the close race, the city council members are incumbents Doug Primmer and Rod Hardin and newcomers Maria Duron and Nancy Peterson. Unfortunately for the person who wrote in "dan the man," for city council, he didn't win and does not appear to have been running for anything.
In Echo, Chad Ray takes 54 percent of the vote in the mayoral race, and Tammie Williams, Jessica Holben, Richard Thew elected to the city council.
Running unopposed, Tom McCann is re-elected as Stanfield mayor, an Susan Whelan, Don Tyrrell, and Ralph Parrish Jr take the three spots on the Echo City Council.
In the race for Umatilla City Council, contested races for all three open positions. At the end of the night, those going to : Daren Dufloth, Ashley Wheeler, Roak TenEyck
Irrigon’s City Council positions going to Ken Matlack, Marlina Serratos, Daren Strong, and Wesley Alan Carnahan.
In Boardman, Paul Beagle, Katy Norton, and Brenda Profitt taking the thre eat large positions, and Paul Keefer’s 56 percent of the vote is enough to put him as Boardman mayor
Although Umatilla and Morrow county voters favored No votes in most statewide measures, all four appear to have passed the statewide vote.
The one Umatilla County measure, the 2nd amendment sanctuary ordiance, passing 18,736 to 11,468.
Results in all races are unofficial until they’re certified.
Find more here and here.

School board, council meet tonight
Oct. 12, 2020
The Hermiston School Board meeting tonight at 6:30. On the agenda, Division 22 standards, an enrollment report as well as meeting in a closed-door executive session.
Click here for that agenda.
Hermiston City Council also meeting tonight. There’s a work session at 6 p.m. to talk about Hermiston emergency services rates, followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m. Council to vote on an ordinance correcting a previous ordinance because of numerical errors and discussion of potential emergency shelter distance requirements.
You can find that agenda here.

Candidates, councils meet tonight
Oct. 6, 2020
It’s a bit of a busy night around out area with multiple city council meetings and a candidate forum.
Candidate forum
In Hermiston, tonight is the night for the candidate forum. Candidates for County Commissioner and Hermiston City Council participating in the forum tonight. That will be live broadcast online, and there is limited seating available at the Hermiston Community Center. The event begins at 6 p.m.
Stanfield City Council
Also at 6 tonight, a meeting of the Stanfield City Council. They’ll be recognizing councilor Delwin Manley and discussing a vacant council position, a potential disc courts, an alternative location for the civic block, and upcoming events and activities. That meeting at 6 tonight in the Council Chambers on Coe avenue.
Find the agenda here.
Umatilla City Council
Tonight at 7, a meeting of the Umatilla City Council at Umatilla City Hall.
Changes to water and sewer fees on the agenda in two spots – there’s a public hearing about the proposed changes and charges, then a resolution to approve those changes.
Also on the agenda, adopting an excessive force polity, and an inter-governmental agreement between the city and the school district. The city will also hear a presentation on the 8 Can’t Wait program.
Click here for the agenda.
Boardman City Council
Coronavirus Relief Funds on the agenda tonight for the Boardman City Council. A resolution establishing to receive and use those funds is on the agenda, as it s a resolution about building permits – and a September building department permit report. The meeting also scheduled to have a bond consultant presentation. That meeting begins at 7 p.m. tonight – you can find the full agenda and Zoom meeting attendance here

Council talks projects
Sept. 28, 2020
Updates on three city projects on the agenda for tonight's Hermiston City Council meeting. First up is the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center tonight for the Hermiston City Council. That facility recently receiving a large grant from the state, and there’s an update presentation on the agenda for the tonight’s council meeting.
Another update later in that agenda – design for the new city hall. The City Council has made various decisions related to moving the City Hall project forward, and city staff expected to present the current design for council feedback.
A financial report, supplemental budget and the creation of the Local Improvement District for the South Hermiston Industrial Park also on the agenda.
That meeting begins at 7 tonight at the Hermiston Community Center. Limited seating will be available, and the meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel.
Click here for the full agenda.

School Board meets tonight
Sept. 28, 2020
The Hermiston School Board also meeting tonight with two presentations on their agenda: one on athletics and activities, the other a communication presentation with a start of school slideshow and a school logo update. They’ll also have a proclamation about college application week and will meet in an executive session about litigation.
Find the full agenda here.

Air quality 'hazardous'
Sept. 14, 2020
More than 1 million acres have burned in Oregon, and more than 30 fires continue to burn statewide as of yesterday's update from the state office of Emergency Management.
Air quality alerts continuing today with hazardous smoke levels over the weekend - and continuing. The air quality index as of 5 this morning at 339 on DEQ’s scale – anything above 300 is hazardous. Above 200 is “very unhealthy”
UCo Health saying Smoke levels can change rapidly depending on weather. Check current conditions by visiting the DEQ’s Air Quality Index or the Oregon Smoke Information blog, downloading the free OregonAIR app on your smartphone, or going to on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Now. Smoke can irritate the eyes and lungs and worsen some medical conditions. Young children, adults over 65, pregnant women and people with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions are most at risk.
They're advising to still avoid outdoor activities and stay inside if possible, keeping windows and doors closed and using High efficiency particulate air filters as long as the air quality remains at hazardous levels.
They say cloth, dust, and surgical masks don't protect from the harmful particles in spoke.

School board talks softball, school, enrollment
Sept. 14, 2020
Tonight, the Hermiston School Board could move forward on two construction projects. First, a vote tonight on the high school softball facility project. The board has a recommendation to enter a contract with Nelson Construction Corp for the project on a bid of 2.4 million. Also on the agenda, a vote to select the name of the new school on theater lane. The name isn't listed in the agenda, but a vote is scheduled on the new name tonight. The three finalists previously announced were Artemisa, Loma Vista, and La Senda elementary schools.
the board will also review the enrollment report. The district is down 214 students over the same month last year.
That meeting begins at 6:30 tonight.
Find the full agenda and remote access options here.

City council meets tonight
Sept. 14, 2020
At the Hermiston community center tonight, the Hermiston City Council is meeting. That begins at 7. There’s a public hearing tonight about a temporary emergency shelter ordinance – and then a vote on that ordinance later in the meeting. The changes are at the request of Stepping Stones, a group working to bring a hut-based homeless shelter in Hermiston. The council also expected to consider an ordinance updating part of the municipal cord – on how to obtain a warrant and they’ll accept the resignation of council member Doug smith. Find the full agenda here.

New COVID-19 deaths in Umatilla, Morrow county
Sept. 10, 2020
A COVID-19 death announced yesterday in each Umatilla and Morrow counties.
In Umatilla County, the 41-st covid death is a 97-year0old woman who died Sept. 8 at Regency Hermiston. In Morrow County, OHA reporting an 88-year-old man from Morrow County died Sept. 4 at Good Shepherd.
UCo Health also reporting six new confirmed cases yesterday. The total case count now 28-hundred and 2 since the start of the pandemic with five people hospitalized. Two new cases in Morrow County yesterday. The total case count now 463 with 2 people hospitalized.
No weekly report data from the Oregon Health Authority yet… wildfires causing a delay in the release of that report.

Boardman has Zoom council meeting tonight
Sept. 10, 2020
Budget, cornavirus relief and an animal shelter on the agenda for tonight’s Boardman City Council meeting.
The Zoom meeting begins at 7 p. m. tonight and includes time for public comment and two presentations – one on an animal shelter and one from the CEO of Umatilla Electric Co-op. The council will vote on two resolutions and ordnance tonight, and there’s an executive session on the agenda involving real estate.
Click here for the full agenda. You can also click this link to attend the meeting.

Wind, powerlines caused Umatilla fire
Sept. 9, 2020
High winds and downed power lines cuasing a fast-moving brush fire that moved through Umatilla on Labor Day.
Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District saying the fire began north of Highway 730 from power lines that went down and contacted the ground during, starting the fire.
Umatilla firefighters dispatched to the fire at about 5 p.m. for a fast moving grass fire in the area of Devore Road and Highway 395. The first priority was saving the structure of the “Encore Wellness” clinic. Fire Chief Steve Potts saying winds at that time were gusting more than 50 miles per hour, and they immediately requested mutual aid from other local departments. Potts saying he has never experienced anything like the insity and rate of speed from that fire in 32 years. The fire contained at 10:30, but but areas of the fire continued to burn for hours. The fire threatened homes on River Road, South Hill, the Powerline road area, and level 2 and level 3 evacuation orders were given.
The total area burned has not yet been determined however a very rough estimate is more than 200 acres.

Shooting investigation ongoing
Aug. 24, 2020
Umatilla County Fire District #1 tending to a 27-year-old local man who had been shot in the stomach area – he was taken to Good Shepherd then airlifted out of the area.
HPD is investigating. Police chief Jason Edmiston saying the man is well-known to officers but was “less than cooperative” about what happened. Initial reports from witnesses are that the man was in an altercation with two men in a vehicle directly in front of the west entrance of the store. At some point, a shot or shots were fired from inside the vehicle, striking the man.
Anyone with information can contact HPD.

UCSO searching for missing man
Aug. 24, 2020
Umatilla Sheriff’s Office meanwhile searching for a missing Hermiston man. 37-year-old Daniel S. Lincoln
was reported missing on August 20th and was last seen driving a 2010 black Jeep with Oregon plates 509GQN. Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office was requested to assist on August 21st when a ping on his cell phone showed a location southwest of Ukiah, Oregon near Soap Hill Rd and Bridge Rd. This morning a fixed wind plane was called in to assist with the search effort. Members of the SAR team along with Umatilla County Deputies continue the search on the ground as well.
Anyone with information please contact our 24-hour dispatch center at 541-966-3651.

Multiple wildfires burning
Aug. 24, 2020
Fire updates from over the weekend – multiple fires burning in Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington.
The Meacham Complex of fires between Pendleton and La Grande at 272 acres – and 15 percent contained. The Meacham complex includes the Hagar ridge fire, the Horse Fire, and other fires in the area, burning in rugged terrain with grass, timber and dead and down trees. The Northern Rocks incident Management Team took command of the Meacham Complex early Friday morning.
Another large fire in our area now The Rattlesnake Fire on the Pomeroy Ranger District at 220 acres. That’s about 20 miles south of Pomeroy. The Putnam Springs Fire at 130 acres. Numerous smaller fires burning as well, Hot and dry conditions are expected to persist throughout the week. Fire officials want to remind everyone that the current fire danger rating remains at HIGH and Public Use Restrictions involving chainsaw use are in effect.

Hermiston school board, council meetings tonight
Aug. 24, 2020
A special meeting tonight of the Hermiston School Board. That begins at 6:30 in the boardroom at the Hermiston School district offices. It will be livestreamed on the district’s youtube channel.
The agenda includes an update on the comprehensive distance learning model,
Click here for the full agenda.
On the Hermiston City Council side, tonight's agenda includes annexation of property and potential development of a new 31-unit subdivision. There’s a public hearing on the proposal tonight. Public hearings also on the agenda for the South Hermiston Local Improvement District and an amendment to the accessory dwelling unit ordinance. The council also expected to discuss the workforce taxi incentive program.
That meeting begins at 7 p.m. tonight at the Hermiston Community Center. Some limited public attendance will be allowed, but anyone attending in person must wear a facemask. The city also live streaming the meeting and taking public comment via phone as well.
Click here for the agenda and remote connection information.

Hermiston childcare partnership
Aug. 18, 2020
A partnership announced yesterday focused on providing childcare this fall.
The partnership between The Hermiston School District, the City of Hermiston, and Champions to provide childcare during comprehensive distance learning. The district launching a survey to determine the community need for childcare. Click here for the survey.
Champions’ weekly rate is $190 per student. There are opportunities for discounts and waivers – and they’re asking interested families to mark yes on the survey if they’d like more information. The school district plans to off-set a portion of the costs for all families.

Hermiston opens school name survey
Aug. 13, 2020
A survey released yesterday for the Hermiston School District about the three potential names for the new elementary school on Theater Lane: Artemisa Elementary, Loma Vista Elementary and La Senda Elementary.
Schools Superintendent Tricia Mooney says the three name translate to “Sagebrush,” “Hill View” and “The pathway.”
In previous surveys, the community suggested names and voted for a guideline category. Survey results pointed to using geographic name, similar to other elementary schools, and board member Karen Sherman says the school board also wanted to reflect the changing demographics of the Hermiston School District.
"We are now seeing a very large Hispanic population," she said. "At this point in time, we wanted to look at a Spanish name."
Sherman says they’re looking forward to having a name for the school and encourage people to complete the survey and give input before the board selects a final name.
Click here for the survey


Largest state outbreaks in Umatilla County
Aug. 13, 2020
The larges active outbreaks in the state are in Umatilla County - both in work places and care facilities. The Oregon Health Authority releasing this week’s list of active outbreaks yesterday.
With 92 cases, Regency Hermiston remains the largest active care facility outbreak in the state.The center also associated with 10 deaths - also the second highest highest death toll at a care facility in the state since the pandemic began. Sun Terrace also remains an active care facility outbreak with eight cases and two deaths connected to the site.
Pendleton's Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution now the largest active workplace outbreak int he state with 199 total cases - the most recent onset on Aug. 7 - and data was collected on Aug. 9. Three other Umatilla County worksites in the top 10: Lamb Weston's Hermsiton location with 170 cases, Shearer's Foods with 42 and the Walmart Distribution Center with 40 cases. One Morrow County site, Lamb Weston East, also in the top 10, with 42 cases tying with Shearer's Foods as the 8th largest outbreak. .
The outbreak at the Hermiston Walmart now 39 cases, Atkinson Staffing reporting 31, Smith Frozen Foods at 30. Good Shepherd at 29, TRCI in Umatilla at 27 cases, and Lamb Weston West in Boardman at 25.
The Hermiston McDonalds outbreak at 24 and the Lamb Weston Boardman Pac Center is at 22.
The Oregon Health Authority reports outbreaks at workplaces with 30 or more employees and 5 or more total cases associated with the site, inlcuding employees or their family members and close contacts.
Total, there are Twenty-nine workplace outbreaks in Umatilla and Morrow counties.
Also on the list this week: Columbia Basin Onion, Oregon Potato Company , Threemile Canyon Farms, Hill Meat Company, MJ's Labor Servcies, Independt Transport LLC, Home Dpot, Marlette Homes, Boardman Foods, River Point Farms, Port of Morrow Warehousing, Keystone RV, the Stanfield McDonalds, Pacific Ag, the Hermiston Taco Bell, and J & J Snack Foods in Weston.

City Council considers city hall, property
Aug. 10, 2020
A credit agreement on the agenda tonight to for the $9.6 million city hall replacement project.
City Council tonight voting on a full faith and credit financing agreement to build a build new city hall and renovate the basement of the Hermiston library to host a “temporary city hall” during the construction. The council tonight voting on a full faith and credit bond obligation for the funding.
Also on the agenda, a vote on adopting a parks, recreation, and open space plan and a discussion on a green property strategic surplus plan, potentially opening eight acres of land for development.
The meeting begins at 7 at the Hermiston Community Center.
The city will have a limited number of chairs available at the meeting, and it will also be livestreamed and available for public comment. You can find the contact link and information, as well as the full agenda, at this link.


School names, re-entry for school board tonight
Aug. 10, 2020
The Operational Blueprint for Re-entry, the enrollment report , and financial forecasts all on the agenda tonight for the Hermiston School Board. They'll also have an introduction to a new online agenda system, and ... The Hermiston School Board tonight also receiving a report on the name finalists for the new elementary school on theater lane. The finalists are: Artemisa Valley Elementary, Loma Vista Elementary, and La Senda Elementary.
The meeting at 6:30 tonight, and remote access options are available. Anyone interested in providing public comment can do so by emailing communications@hermistonsd.org by noon today.

Umatilla to talk bridge replacement
Aug. 4, 2020
A year and a half later, progress on replacing the Umatilla pedestrian bridge damaged in flooding on the Umatilla river. The city working with J-U-B Engineers to replace the 195-foot-long bridge at Nugent Park that was damaged in flooding in 2019 and 2020.The company has presented several design concepts to city staff, and the council will be discussing goals and costs for the design. Also related to the bridge, a resolution authorizing city staff to work with Oregon Emergency Management to repair and replace flood-damaged facilities including the pedestrian bridge, the boat launch and fishing pier at Nugent Park.
That meeting is at 7 tonight. It will be available via Zoom. Any questions or public comments should be sent in to nanci@umatilla-city.org before 5 p.m. today.
During the meeting, council members also to vote on a $370,000 loan to complete a feasibility study for hydraulically connected well.s The city receiving a grant from the Oregon Water Resources Department and has applied for the loan to cover the rest of the cost. Resolutions also on the agenda tonight about amending and expanding the Greater Umatilla Enterprise Zone.
To join via Zoom:
Dial 1 (253) 215-8782 US, Meeting ID is 819 7142 9093 the password is 97882.
Click here for the full agenda

Stanfield council agenda
Aug. 4, 2020
Streamlining the city’s fire prevention ordinances on the agenda tonight for the Stanfield City Council. The first reading of that ordinance and the second reading of one on keeping livestock without a permit both on the agenda for tonight’s council meeting. They’ll also have a civic block update, a volunteer resolutions, and discussion about a city server replacement and website prospect review. That meeting begins at 6 tonight in the council chambers on Coe Avenue.

Study: 17 percent of Hermiston infected, 80 percent without symptoms
July 31, 2020
Results are in from last week’s TRACE door-to-door testing in Hermiston. The OSU study estimating 17 percent of Hermiston residents were positive for COVID-19 on Saturday and Sunday – and 80 percent do not have symptoms.
Hermiston Assistant City manager Mark Morgan says the results are about what he expected.
"We've known that there's a lot of asymptomatic cases out there that are prevalent in the community and people are going about their business without taking that into consideration," he said. "I think these results really hammer home the need for people to maintain distance, even if they are asymptomatic."
80 percent of those who tested positive had no symptoms at the time of the test, although we do not yet know if they were asymptomatic or presymptomatic.
The door-to-door, randomized study visited 30 neighborhoods in Hermiston, and 44 percent of homes agreed to participate in the test. 471 people were tested and 41 people tested positive. That’s 8.7 percent. Using modeling, the TRACE study estimates the prevalence of the virus last weekend was about 170 for every 1,000 people in Hermiston or 17 percent of the population.
Joe Fiumara, director of UCo Health saying it is the highest testing the TRACE team has seen in any survey.
"The big item, I think, is that 80 percent of people who were asymptomatic, which is a really, really high number," he said.
The study also analyzed wastewater samples from both Hermiston and Boardman and found strong viral signals suggesting the virus is widespread in both cities.
On Friday, UCo Health reporting 32 new cases of COVID-19 in the county. At that time, there were 19-hundred and 61 cases, and 314 were active. 13 people were hospitalized.

Governor returns Umatilla County to baseline
July 31, 2020
Baseline restrictions as of noon today.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown announcing last night that Umatilla County would roll back to baseline COVID-19 restrictions, Morrow County back to phase 1, as of noon today.
The baseline Stay Home, Save Lives order closes gyms, salons, barbers, dance studios, bowling alleys, campgrounds and skate parks. None of which has been connected with a reported outbreak.
The governor saying the county should expect to stay in the baseline phase for 21 days.