KOHU - KQFM LOCAL NEWS

by News Director Jennifer Colton
541.567.6500 or 541.289.NEWS or KOHUnews@gmail.com
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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.

Weekend COVID-19 update
July 27, 2020
On Friday, UCo Health announcing a sixteenth COVID-19 death: an 85-year-old man who tested positive July16 and died July 24th at Regency Hermiston Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
At that time, there were 16-hundred and 24 cases in Umatilla County. 322 were active and 10 people hospitalized. 12-hundred and 86 people had recovered.
Then over the weekend, the Oregon Health Authority reporting 43 cases in Umatilla County on Sunday, the total yesterday 16-hundred and 78. The most recent update from Morrow County Emergency Management adding 13 cases for a total of 247 with no hospitalizations.

School Board talks what school will look like
July 27, 2020
A special meeting of the Hermiston School Board tonight about updates to the 2020-2021 school year. Last Thursday, the district a announced it would be beginning the school year with a comprehensive online model because of climbing corona virus cases in the Hermiston area with an intent to move to face-to-face instruction options when it was safe to do so. In addition to the student item, the board also voting on updates to the school calendar and meeting in To conduct deliberations with persons designated by the governing body to negotiate real property transactions
To join the meeting, dial 253-215-8782. The meeting ID is 994 6226 6100, and the passcode is 862323.
Click here for a link to the full agenda

$3 million agreement for city hall
July 27, 2020
A $3 million contract between the city of Hermiston and Umatilla County about Hermiston City Hall on the agenda for tonight’s council meeting. The City has proposed building a new three-story city hall on the site of the current facility, damaged by a fire last year. In the agreement they’ll discuss tonight, the county would lease the ground floor of the building for 15 years in exchange for contributing $3 million toward the $9 million estimated cost o the building.
Also up for discussion tonight, the Hermiston City Council could decide how to spend federal CARES act funding tonight. The city is expected to receive $540,000 that must be spent in areas related to COVID-19. City staff saying the city’s direct expenses through the end of the year are only about $100,000, and they’re proposing allocating extra money for business assistance, rent/mortgage assistance, and water/sewer bill assistance.
Council tonight also looking at installing stop signs at W Joseph Avenue and East Oregon Avenue and awarding the contract for the library basement contract.
Click here for a link to the full agenda and remote access options.

Stanfield, Umatilla councils meet
July 21, 2020
Fire, Roads, Livestock all on the agenda for the Stanfield City Council this week.
The council has the first reading of an ordinance prohibiting keeping livestock without a permit; a resolution on ODOT temporary easement and a discussion on the city fire code and a veterans memorial. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 21, if the council chambers on Coe Avenue.
Click here for the agenda.
Umatilla City Council also meeting in a work session tonight. That starts at 6 p.m. at Umatilla City Hall. The council to discuss potentially amending the Greater Umatilla Enterprise Zone boundary and an intergovernmental agreement about the National Hazards Mitigation Plan.
Find the full agenda here.

Cases top 1,000 in Umatilla County
July 13, 2020
Cases of COVID-19 in Umatilla County now above 1 thousand.
UCo Health on Friday reporting 40 new confirmed cases in Umatilla County. The total of confirmed and presumptive cases now at 985. 554 are active, and 17 people are hospitalized.
At that time, 423 people were listed as recovered.
The Oregon Health Authority over the weekend reporting 50 cases in Umatilla County on Saturday – that likely has some overlap with the 40 UCo Health reported on Friday – followed by another 27 cases on Sunday bringing the Umatilla County total to One-thousand and 13. OHA listing 7 new cases in Morrow County yesterday, which pushes the total to 145 cases. The state total now at 12-thousand, 170.

School survey: More than half comfortable with student return
July 13, 2020
Most parents and staff are comfortable with students returning to school in Hermiston.
That's according to the results of a survey the Hermiston School District will present during its regular school board meeting tonight.
In the survey, 32 percent were very comfortable with students returning to school, and 24 percent were somewhat comfortable - a total of 56 percent. 12 percent were neutral, 21 percent somewhat uncomfortable and 11 percent very uncomfortable.
The primary concern was that classrooms and other areas would not be properly disinfected, followed by having in-person interactions with others, and then readjustment to classroom or school life.
The survey also asked about reliable internet, and although the vast majority - 87 percent - said they have reliable home internet, 117 respondents - 11 percent - had either no home access or unreliable internet. 1 percent of homes have access to the internet through mobile hotspots.
The school board will discuss the survey tonight after a presentation from superintendent Tricia Mooney.
Also on the agenda, personnel appointments and resignations, and a number of annual school year business items, such as designating a budget officer, legal counsel, and the organizational chart.
Click here for a link to the full agenda.
As in recent months, the board will meet virtually via Zoom. You may dial into the meeting by calling 253-215-8782..
The meeting ID is 943 3818 6976 and the password is 072571.

Hermiston Council meets tonight
July 13, 2020
The Hermiston City Council also meeting tonight. A work session at 6 to focus on the parks plan, followed by the regular meeting at 7. On the agenda, a permanent food pod location, an update to the employee handbook, and a miscellaneous engineering services contract to Anderson Perry.
n order to follow public gathering and social distancing guidelines set forth by state and federal authorities, a limited number of chairs will be available for citizens to attend the meeting in person; those attending must also wear a face mask. The City will livestream the meeting at https://bit.ly/HermistonYouTube and it will also be available following the meeting as well. Click here for the full agenda.

UCSO asks for help in shootings
July 8, 2020
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office asking for help after two separate shooting incidents in the past week near Hermiston.
The first report of shots fired on Sunday, July 5, 2020 near SW 23 rd St. and West Highland Ave. just outside the City of Hermiston, where deputies responded to a report of shots fired. The Sheriff’s Office says at least three vehicles are believed to have been involved. There were no known injuries. The shooters were described as Hispanic males, 20 and 30 years of age. Vehicles involved were described as a newer pearl white 4-door, possibly
a Mitsubishi Galant; a newer silver SUV, possibly a Nissan Pathfinder; and A black 2-door Honda Civic with a broken passenger side window
The second shots fired report after 9 at night on Tuesday, on Gillespie Lane, again just outside the City of Hermiston. One
vehicle was involved., described as a light colored smaller size 4-door, no further description. A house was hit several times, there were no known injuries.
It is believed the shootings were specific to the individuals involved and not random.
Anyone who has information regarding these incidents is asked to please contact
Umatilla County Dispatch, 541-966-3651.

Greg Smith hosts townhall Thursday
July 8, 2020
Coming up this week, a virtual town hall with Rep. Greg Smith, over Zoom. The townhall from 5:30-6:30 on Thursday, July 9.
Questions can be addressed to smithg@oregonlegislature.gov to have them addressed during the House District 57 Virtual Town Hall.
Click here for more information.

UCo Health releases weekend numbers
July 7, 2020
After the long holiday weekend, Umatilla County Public Health reporting 125 new cases of COVID-19 in Umatilla County. The numbers between Thursday afternoon and yesterday morning.
The total cases, including confirmed and presumptive, now at 783. Of those, 13 people are hospitalized, 451 cases are active, and 326 people are considered recovered.

Police: Jonathan Lopez wrote letter to himself
July 7, 2020
Outrage yesterday on social media after news Jonathan Lopez, candidate for Umatilla County Commissioner, had written a racist, hate-filled letter, to himself.
In late June, Lopez sharing a photo of social media of a letter he allegedly received in his mailbox that included racist and homophobic language . Hermiston Police investigating, and the end result an admission that Lopez wrote the letter himself and made false statements to the police and on social media. Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmison staying the matter will be referred this week to the Umatilla County district attorney’s office for initiating a false report. They’re also investigating potential election fraud as it pertains to false credentials presented by Lopez during his run for county commissioner, including his service in the Coast Guard.
Lopez campaign social media pages have been removed.

Umatilla has long agenda
July 7, 2020
Tonight, applications for grants – both awarding and receiving – for the city of Umatilla.
The Umatilla City Council tonight voting on an agreement with the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce to provide support to local businesses, tourism, and visitor services. The city recently opening small business grants.
The council also has a series of resolutions about updates to the city’s water Master and Wastewater Facilities plans. The city plans to apply for a $234,000 loan from a state fund and two $20,000 technical assistance grant to fund updates to the two plans.
Also during the meeting, discussion sabout a hydraulically connected wells feasibility projec tloan modification and an intergovernmental agreement with the icyt of echo to provide planning and building assistance.
The meeting expected to also include multiple topics in a closed-door executive session from real estate transactions to trade negotiations to meeting with council about litigation.
The meeting begins at 7 tonight and will be available over Zoom. Find the zoom connection information and the full agenda by following this link.

Boardman Council agenda
July 7, 2020
The Boardman City Council also meeting tonight and also having executive session on the agenda – theirs for personnel and real estate. Also on the agenda, a rural broadband COVID grant with the state of Oregon, a summary fo system development charges, and the Morrow County Unified Recreation District. That meeting also starts at 7 tonight.
Click here for the agenda.

City council talks food pod tonight
June 22, 2020
Food Pods, wayfinding on the agenda for Hermiston City Council tonight.
The council has a work session at 6 to discuss options for the city food pod. There is an action item on the agenda for tonight’s regular meeting that amends the charter for mobile food vendors as well. That regular meeting begins at 7 p.m.. A wayfinding sign presentation on the agenda as well as accepting the primary election results, adopting a volunteer handbook and various reports.
Click here for the agenda and remote viewing options.

School board votes on union contact, policies
June 22, 2020
A special work session tonight for the Hermiston School District. That will be available over Zoom. The meeting at 6:30.
The board will also vote on ratifying the collective bargaining agreement with the Oregon School Employees Association, a union that represents the district’s classified employees and have a first reading on eight district policies.
Virtual Location via Zoom Dial +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) Meeting ID: 956 0742 3050 Password: 824026
Follow this link for the full agenda.

Morrow County death, Umatilla County increase
June 19, 2020
A death in Morrow County from COVID-19. The Morrow County Health Department today reporting a 53-year-old man from North Morrow County tested positive for COVID-19 on June 12 and died yesterday at his home. He is said to have had underlying health conditions. They’re asking people to respectful as the family grieves.
Morrow County also announcing five new positive cases today, all appear to be from the Irrigon area. The total cases in Morrow County now at 27; fifteen are active.
UCo Health on Friday reporting 21 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and continuing to ask people to stay home if they're sick - including staying home from work.
In today's update, 153 people have recovered from the disease and 86 cases are active.

Round-Up cancels tickets for 2020
June 19, 2020
A major announcement today from the Pendleton Round Up:
"We are disappointed to announce that current restrictions preclude us from hosting the Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Indian Pageant & Wild West Show in our traditional manner this September. For 110 years the Pendleton Round-Up and for 104 years the Happy Canyon has been a celebration of community and a catalyst to support education, local not for profits, service organizations, and provides a direct benefit to the regional economy. It is disheartening the events will not take place in 2020 for all involved. "
The Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Boards of Directors also announcing the creation of donation fund, “Let’Er Buck Cares” that will provide assistance to community organizations that rely on the round up as a main source of income. Tax-deductible Donations to the fund will go to “local civic, non-profit, youth organizations, contract personnel and others” Round-Up organizers also saying they’re working with the Pendleton Chamber to provide stimulus funds to community business that will be impacted by the lack of visitors to Pendleton this year.
Click here for more information.

New COVID-19 cases in Umatilla, Morrow, Union counties
June 16, 2020
Based on the weekend reports from the Oregon Health Authority, we knew to expect more COVID-19 cases yesterday, but the numbers from both Umatilla and Morrow counties were even higher than expected.
We knew there’d be at least 13 because of the OHA update, but UCo Health announcing 23 new confirmed positive cases in Umatilla County yesterday – and a total of 183 total cases of both confirmed and presumptive patients. The county now has 47 active cases with three people hospitalized. There was also an increase in the number of people said to have recovered. Of the 183 cases, 132 people are considered recovered from COVID-19.
As to why there’s a large increase, UCo Health saying they continue to discover instances where people continue to work while sick and that now it is “imperative” that anyone with any symptoms of respiratory illness stay home, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Yesterday, Morrow County Public Health announcing four newly confirmed cases, bringing the total to 18. One case is from the Heppner/Lexington/Ione area and three were from Irrigon. Morrow County has six cases considered active, and all six are said to be in home isolation.
In slightly regional news, Union County had the highest number of cases in the state yesterday – 99. That jumped the number of cases for Union County to 123.
The cases stemming from a suspected case and testing at the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Island City.

Boardman Council meets tonight
June 16, 2020
Tonight, a special meeting of the The Boardman City Council to vote on the resolution to form an Enterprise Zone for the city of Boardman. That meeting will be hosted over ZOOM and is available to the public. Click here to participate.

Guidelines for schools released
June 11, 2020
The Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority yesterday releasing initial guidelines for the 2020-2021 school year, and Hermiston Schools Superintendent Tricia Mooney says their goal is to start the school year, with the new guidelines and children in school facilities, Aug. 24.
"We know that the best place for our kids to be is in schools," she said. "In Hermiston, we're moving toward 'how can we get our kids back in school in the fall.'"
Called "Ready Schools, Safe Learners," the state’s 47-page document does allow for local school districts to craft plans for their schools. The blueprint instructs districts to develop a back-to-school plan that utilizes a mix of on-site and distance learning options to protect the safety of students, staff, and families. Districts are also to develop communicable disease management plans and contingency plans in the event of COVID-19 outbreaks––including returns to fully distance learning and modified school year calendars as necessary.
Mark Mulvihill, superintendent of the Intermountain ESD, says he’s encouraged that many of the decisions are up to the local districts.
"There's a clear understanding at the state level that one size does not fit all," he said. "It's going to look different in Hermiston than in Burnt River, Portland Public, and Hillsboro. Districts will have the autonomy to develop their own plans on a local basis."
Mulvihill says people should expect changes when school resumes and not expect a return to the way things were last year.
Colt Gill, the Director of the Oregon Department of Education, saying some schools will operate in a hybrid:
"Each day, some students will be on site and some students will served be off-site through a distance learning model and then they'll switch. All students will have some opportunity o interact directly with their teachers," he said.

BMCC has parade of graduates tonight
June 11, 2020
Tonight, Blue Mountain Community College will celebrate the Class of 2020 Thursday (June 11) evening with a special “Parade of Graduates” in lieu of its traditional commencement ceremony, which
wasn’t possible due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
The Parade of Graduates will begin at 7 p.m. on the BMCC Pendleton campus. Graduates may have their immediate family members inside their vehicles during the parade, and graduates’ families and friends, as well as faculty, staff and other community members are invited to park in designated areas around campus to cheer on the graduates as they drive by. Guests should plan to arrive on campus by 6:45 p.m.
BMCC will broadcast a live stream of the event from its YouTube
channel. The College will also record the event, as well as capture the parade via aerial drone footage courtesy of BMCC agriculture instructor and certified Unmanned Aerial Systems pilot Drew Leggett.

Playgrounds reopen
June 11, 2020
Hermiston Parks and Recreation reopening playgrounds yesterday. They do have restrictions:
    Playground visitors are encouraged to wash hands before and after visiting a playground.
    Visitors should maintain physical distancing of at least six feet.
    Visitors should bring hand sanitizer and/or sanitizing wipes for personal use on any surfaces touched.
    Any individuals who are sick or may have contacted someone with COVID-19 should stay home.

Weekly update on COVID-19 numbers
June 11, 2020
In yesterday’s update from UCo Health, one increase in the total number of cases – that’s up from 149 to 150 – and multiple cases move from presumptive into the confirmed category. Yesterday’s report shows 145 confirmed cases, 5 presumptive. 119 people have recovered, 28 cases are active, and four people are hospitalized.
The weekly update from the Oregon Health Authority released yesterday, including workplace outbreaks and cases by Zip code. No new workplace outbreaks in Umatilla County (none in morrow County), and OHA now reporting 82 cases of COVID-19 in the Hermiston Zip Code, 28 in Umatilla, and 15 in Milton-Freewater. Those three zip codes making up 125 of the county’s 145 confirmed cases.

COVID-19 cases up by 13
June 9, 2020
A dozen new COVID-19 cases reported yesterday in Umatilla County; one new in Morrow County.
Yesterday’s update from UCo Health reporting 12 new confirmed positive cases. All of the new cases said to be self-isolating and recovering. The total now 136 confirmed cases and 10 presumptive for a total of 146. 27 cases are active and 119 have recovered.
UCo Health saying as the Governor starts slowly lifting restrictions on activities and businesses, it’s important to remember that health and hygiene advice that slows the spread of COVID-19 still applies.
Morrow County Public Health confirming yesterday one more individual has tested positive for COVID-19 in Boardman, bringing the Morrow County total to 14. The individual was notified by another county that they had been in contact with a positive COVID-19 case. . In Morrow county, 12 people have recovered and 2 remain in home isolation.

Boardman council, tax district meet
June 9, 2020
Two meetings tonight in Boardman: there’s a hearing and meeting of the council and special taxing district about a new enterprise zone at 6 p.m. and then a city council meeting tonight at 7:15. On the agenda, the budget resolution, worker’s comp for volunteers and a contingency transfer.
Click here for the agenda.
Those meetings are available to the public through Zoom:
In accordance with ORS 192.640
Using the web-based conferencing service ZOOM on any mobile device.
This meeting is available to the public using:
https://zoom.us/j/2860039400

City council meets tonight
June 8, 2020
Tonight, the Hermiston City Council has a work session about temporary emergency shelter zoning. That’s at 6 tonight. It’s driven by the request for the Stepping Stones homeless shelter. City documents saying the worksession is to gather feedback about adding temporary emergency shelter to the light industrial zoning. The regular council meeting following the work session. That starts at 7.
On the agenda, a public hearing about the South Hermiston LID and resolutions approving the 2020-2021 budget. They also have a presentation by the League of Oregon Cities.
Click here for the full agenda.
To participate remotely:
The livestream will be broadcast at https://bit.ly/HermistonYouTube and will also be available following the meeting. Thanks to a partnership with Amazon Web Services, and the Amazon Chime platform, citizens can listen to the meeting by phone or offer comment remotely by dialing 1-855-552-4463 and using Meeting ID: 775-468-5399.

School District to vote on budget
June 8, 2020
The Hermiston School District talks budget, hiring and reports. They do have the budget hearing in tonight’s meeting as well as a  vote on adopting the $214 million budget. The proposed budget includes $71 million in the general fund and a little over $90 million in construction bond funds. Click here for the agenda.
To attend via Zoom virtual location, you can dial the number, ID, and password list at the top of the agenda. Virtual Location via Zoom Dial +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) Meeting ID: 997 9005 3106 Password: 072571

COVID-19 case update, reopening request
June 2, 2020
Four new confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported yesterday by UCo health. Three of the individuals are self-isolating and recovering at home; one of the new cases is currently hospitalized, making a total of two county residents hospitalized with the disease – that could be locally or in an out-of-state hospital. The total cases for the county now at 121 with 117 confirmed and 4 presumptive. 104 patients have recovered, and four cases are active.
Morrow County’s number of cases remains at a dozen until yesterday, and the Morrow County Commissioners yesterday submitting a letter of request to the governor to move into Phase II reopening on June 5 – that’s Friday. The letter saying Morrow County has successfully followed up on 100 percent of all new cases and contact tracing within 24 hours and tied all cases from the past 14 days to previous cases.
Yesterday, Morrow County Public Health confirming its 13th case. They say that individual was working out of state and had already returned to Morrow County when they were notified they had been in contact with a positive COVID-19 case in the other state. The new case is the only one considered active in the county

Umatilla, Stanfield talk budgets
June 2, 2020
Today, Umatilla City Council talking budget, revenue sharing and Powerline Road.
The Umatilla City Council meeting at 7 p.m. today in the council chambers. The council meeting will be live streamed via Zoom and anyone who would like to be included in the public comment portion is asked to email nanci@umatilla-city.org before 5 p.m. tonight.
The council will vote on approving the $39.4 million budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. They’ll also have a vote and public hearing on state revenue sharing, and they’ll accept the resignation of Jodi Hinsley from the Planning Commission. There’s also a resolution about the city taking over a portion of Powerline Road and all of Dean Place from Umatilla County. The city saying there continues to be significant residential development along powerline road and taking over ownership would streamline the permitting process. The county offering $200,000 to the city to help bring the road up to city standards.
Find the full agenda here.  To participate: Dial 1 (253) 215-8782 US, Meeting ID is 832 0762 6766, the password is 97882. Click here to join the video conference
Speaking of Umatilla, graduation rescheduled for Thursday. There ceremony at 6:30 p.m., parade at 7:30 and fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
Stanfield City Council also meeting tonight, and they’ll also be looking at the city budget and associated resolutions. Also on the agenda, the ODOT “lane diet” agreement for Highway 395and an executive session for the city manager evaluation. That meeting begins at 6 tonight in the council chambers on Coe Avenue. You can find the full agenda on the city’s Facebook page.

Hermiston council talks essential operations, council resignation
May 26, 2020
Tonight the Hermiston City Council meeting at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center.
The meeting begins at 7 tonight and will be livestreamed and broadcast on the city’s YouTube channel as well as through the Amazon Chime platform.
On the agenda, a resolution establishing that the city of Hermiston is essential in support of federal support to reopen and rebuild local American economies. The council will also vote on support Hermiston grant applications and on a US EDA grant, and they’ll accept the resignation of council member John Kirwan and consider appointments to fill the council vacancy. The city received one applicant to fill the position that expires in December: David McCarthy
They also have two liquor license applications for off-premises sales – that’s for Shiki Hibachi Sushi and Ixtapa Mexican restaurant. The council will meet in a closed-door executive session to talk preliminary negotiations in matters of trade
Click here for the agenda.
To attend remotely:
https://bit.ly/HermistonYouTube
Thanks to a partnership with Amazon Web Services, and the Amazon Chime platform, citizens can listen to the meeting by phone or offer comment remotely by dialing 1-855-552-4463 and using Meeting ID: 248-308-6837

HSD announced graduate walk details
May 21, 2020
The Hermiston School District announcing a senior walk and fireworks to honor the Class of 2020.
in cooperation with the City of Hermiston, the district and high school will host an Honor Walk to recognize the seniors and all their hard work.
On May 29, a week from tomorrow, beginning at 7:30 p.m., HHS seniors will don their cap and gown and walk in parade starting from the south side of HHS. The route will go west on Highland Avenue to 7th Street,
where it will turn north. Students will walk around West Park Elementary, and down Orchard, returning to HHS by 8:30 p.m.
The Hermiston Police Department will shut down traffic on the route, at 7:15 p.m. Community members, friends, and family who would like to view and cheer from the neighboring sidewalks are welcome to do so. The district just asks that individuals do so safely, respecting social distancing guidelines.
Hermiston High School will culminate the event with a fireworks show from the Hermiston Butte, beginning at 9:30 p.m., for the greater Hermiston community to enjoy from the safety of their
homes, car, sidewalk.
Studnets will receive diplomas on June 4.

Hermiston budget committee meets tonight
May 21, 2020
The Hermiston Budget Committee is meeting tonight at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center. to review the 2020-2021 proposed budget. The meeting will be accessible through the city’s YouTube channel and through the Amazon Chime phone platform.
The $57.3 million proposed budget includes funding for city departments and projects, including antinicpated impacts on the Transient Room Tax because of COVID-19 as well as cthe impacts of PERS and a 2.75 percent cost of living adjustment for city employees. and the budget committee will review the proposed budget and make recommendations to the city council. The council is expected to vote on the document during its meeting on June 8 and adopt the budget before the new fiscal year begins July 1.
To participate in the meeting:
To view: Visit the city’s YouTube channel at bit.ly/HermistonYouTube
To listen: Call 206-462-5569, Meeting ID: 1539-33-0915
Click here for more.

Primary election results
May 20, 2020
16,194 voters cast ballots in Umatilla County by yesterday’s deadline – a voter turnout of 35.8 percent; 47 percent in Morrow County before last night’s deadline. Statewide, turnout at about 42 percent.
At the end of the night, voters selected two candidates for Umatilla County Commissioner to go on the November ballot: Dan Dorran and HollyJo Beers. Dorran receiving 5,482 votes, landing him solidly on the ballot in November. HollyJo Beers had just under 4,000, followed by Pat Maier, Jonathan Lopez, and Mark Gomolski.
Dorran and Beers will be on the November ballot for the county position that will replace Commissioner Bill Elfering in 2021.
In Morrow County, Jim Doherty leading the race to retain his commissioner seat. The 12-hundred and 19 votes were 42 percent of the total ballots cast. Joel Peterson following with 38 percent of the vote.
A close race for Morrow County Treasurer with Sabrina Bailey Cave coming out on top last night, following by Jaylene Papineau.
Boardman’s water and wastewater General Obligation bonds appear to have passed with 63 percent of the ballots saying yes.
Many local races were uncontested, handing wins to Hermiston mayor Dave Drotzmann, municipal judge Tom Creasing and Pendleton mayor John Turner.
Speaking of Pendleton, the controversial gas tax failed 65 to 35 percent, and a narrow loss for the Pendleton School District’s request to continue its local option tax – that failed 52 percent to 48 percent.
One more bond: Echo Fire District’s 10 year bond request passed with about 60 percent of the votes in favor.
Voters approved dissolving the Helix Fire District and the East Umatilla County Rural Fire Protection District, and also approved the formation of the larger East Umatilla Fire & Rescue District.
In Umatilla county, About 300 ballots were received but have not yet been accepted – those will need additional verification because of things like the voter forgot to sign the envelope or two voters signed each others ballot envelopes by mistake.
Click here for Umatilla County's final unofficial results as of 11:47 p.m.

HSD budget committee meets tonight
May 18, 2020
Hermiston School District’s budget committee is meeting tonight in what they expect to be the final meeting. They have budget parameters set by the school board and will have up-to-date figures from the county on tax rates, but it’s still a challenge.
Mark Mulvihill, with the intermountain ESD, says districts are facing a challenge because of the whiplash after expecting record revenue in January and cuts now as well as the uncertainty of what those numbers will be from the state.
"It's difficult to develop a budget this year because what are you budgeting for? what is school going to look like next year?" he said.
As for Hermiston, that budget committee meeting is at 6:30 tonight and will be live streamed through Zoom.
Here is the Zoom information:
Virtual Location via Zoom Dial +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) Meeting ID: 924 5666 6253 Password: 960512
The budget committee is taking public comments. Anyone wishing to provide public comments is asked to submit those through email before noon today. You can email those to communications@hermistonsd.org.

New school name submissions being accepted
May 12, 2020
The Hermiston School District is accepting name submissions this month for the new elementary school to be constructed beginning in 2021 on Theater Lane.
The elementary school is one of several construction projects funded through the bond approved by voters in November. It will be the sixth Hermiston elementary school, joining Desert View, Highland Hills, Rocky Heights, Sunset, and West Park.
An online survey conducted through May will collect potential names for the Board of Education to review before selecting finalists. The public will then have an opportunity to vote on the final name for the school.
Hermiston School District board policy requires that the school be named for:
    its location or community
    a famous American
    a local resident who has not been active with the community or schools for at least five years
Other names may be recommended along with supporting justification.
Click here for the survey.

Music in the Parks cancelled
May 12, 2020
The Boardman and Irrigon Music in the Parks Summer Concert Series has been cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns. The concert series, held each summer alternating between the Boardman and Irrigon Marina Parks, was set to run from June 8 through August 10.
They say it was not an easy decision We acknowledge that large gatherings are not in the best interest of public health and we want to do our part to help our communities through this pandemic

School Board virtual meeting tonight
May 11, 2020
A virtual meeting for the Hermiston School Board tonight. That is being broadcast over Zoom.
The agenda includes an enrollment report, financial report, and a collection of hires and resignations for the district. That meeting begins at 6:30 tonight.
Click here for the full agenda.
To access the Virtual Location via Zoom Dial +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) Meeting ID: 988 1751 1773 Password: 578162

UCo Health reports 2nd coronavirus death
May 11, 2020
A second Umatilla County resident dies with COVID-19.
Umatilla County’s second COVID-19 death is a 64 year-old male who tested positive April 29th and died May 9th at Providence St Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, WA. This individual had underlying health conditions. UCo Health saying yesterday Counseling and crisis support services can be accessed by calling Lifeways at 866-343-4473. Interpretation services are available.
As of Friday, UCo Health was reporting 83 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Umatilla County residents – 51 people were listed as recovering, 31 cases active.
Morrow County reporting its 12th case of COVID-19 on Friday.

Union Pacific closes Wallula facility
May 11, 2020
News of a closure at Union Pacific’s Cold Connect facility in Wallula because of COVID-19. A Union Pacific spokesperson told the Malheur Enterprise on Saturday that COVID-19 was impacting volume and truck prices so it was no longer sustainable to continue operations at Wallula. She said employees were notified Friday that the closure is permanent.
Although Union Pacific is not releasing information about how many employees are losing their jobs, In 2018, Union Pacific said an expansion on the Cold Connect facility in Wallula would have more than 100 employees, a monthly payroll of more than $300,000, and annual shipments of 750 million pounds of produce, including onions, apples, wine, and potatoes.

Largest daily increase in COVID-19 cases in Umatilla County
April 29, 2020
The largest daily update for locally confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Umatilla County. Eight new positive cases announced yesterday, bringing the county’s total to 45. UCo Health saying seven of the cases are close contacts of another confirmed case and all eight are self-isolating and recovering at home. Twenty-one people confirmed to have COVID-19 are now recovered. There are 24 active cases in the county, and three people hospitalized.
UCo Health also updating its county map of confirmed covid cases.
The Greater Hermiston Area now colored between 16 and 25 cases. Umatilla and the river at 10-15 cases and multiple regions, including Pendleton now shaded to indicate 5-9 cases. Click here to find the map, which is updated each Tuesday.

County Commissioners to vote on reopen plan
April 29, 2020
The Umatilla County Commissioners to vote today on a plan to reopen the economy after COVID-19 closures. The plan includes a phase one opening, including restaurants and personal service businesses like hair salons open May 15. The three-step plan must be approved by the governor before it can take effect and it does require social distancing measures. Phase 2 would likely begin sometime in June and would increase gathering sizes to 50 and allowing schools, gyms and playgrounds to open, and phase three, which would begin in late June or early July, the size of mass gatherings could be increased to 250.

Wallace selected for state office
April 28, 2020
Hermiston High School senior Jenna Wallace named a state officer for Oregon FFA. Wallace will serve as vice-president for the 2020-2021 year. Grace Adams, of Dayton, selected as Oregon FFA President , and the other officers are from Baker, Grant Union, Burns, and Roseburg.

HHS band nominated for Washington, DC
April 28, 2020
The Hermiston High School Marching Band nominated by Gov. Kate Brown to represent Oregon in the 2021 National Independence Day Parade in Washington, DC on July 4, 2021.
The governor’s recommendation has been sent to Oregon Congressman Greg Walden for official nomination and final selection.
The nomination helps with representation from across the country – The national selection committee strives to have at least one band or unit represent each of the 50 states.
Hermiston High School Principal Tom Spoo says, it is a unique opportunity and terrific distinction for Hermiston High School’s marching band. Following the parade, participants join the audience of the PBS Concert at the Capitol Building, which features the National Symphony Orchestra and one of the nation’s largest fireworks displays.

Council considers property, homeless
April 27, 2020
The Hermiston City Council looking at spending $95,000 on property during its regularly scheduled meeting tonight.
The two parcels of land will be for the re-alignment of Geer and Harper roads and had been assessed at $65,000, and the city offered to pay $85,000 for the property, but the property owner asked for $200,000. The city and the property owner agreed to $95,000 and waiver of attorney fees. Tonight, the council will vote on acquiring that property.
Also on the agenda, resolutions for a FAA Apron Design Grant and authorizing the city manager to apply for grants for the skateboard and teen adventure park, off-premise liquor licenses applications for The Pheasant and 7-Eleven, committee and commission appointments, and updates to the city’s charter.
The regular meeting begins at 7 tonight at at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center on Airport Road. The council is The work session at 6 p.m. focusing on Stepping Stones, a homeless shelter project.
Both the meeting and the work session will be livestreamed and a recording will be available after the meeting. There will be a limited amount of seating at EOTEC during the meeting, and the community is encouraged to call in to provide public comment.
External phone lines will be muted except during public comment periods.
Click here for the full agenda.
More details:
What: Hermiston City Council Meeting
When: Monday, April 27, 7 p.m. (work session at 6 p.m.)
Where: Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center, 1705 E. Airport Road
Phone: 1-206-462-5569, Meeting ID 322-962-8667
YouTube: https://bit.ly/HermistonYouTube.

Umatilla County awards small business grants
April 27, 2020
Grants have been awarded from the Umatilla County Economic Development Small Business Emergency Grant Program. The $1,000 grants were available to small businesses that employed 25 or fewer employees, and all applicants were included in a lottery drawing on April 22.
Twenty-two businesses in Hermiston received grants, 7 in Umatilla, 19 in Pendleton, and 10 in Milton-Freewater as well as seven for the smaller communities in the county.
Sixty-five grants were awarded – there were 137 applicants.
A press release from the county saying The City of Hermiston contributed additional funds to the grant program which allowed for an additional 16 grants to be awarded in Hermiston.

Online forecasting opens for HHS
April 24, 2020
Online forecasting for classes open Monday for Hermiston High School students. That’ll run through Friday, May 15. Students in grades 8-11 may begin making their course selections for the 2020-21 school year. The online site provides forecasting directions, videos, and a copy of the course catalog. Students can make changes to their requests any time during the forecasting window.
Most often, the students get the courses they request when forecasting. However, scheduling conflicts do arise, and an alternate
course chosen by the student may be substituted. High school counselors will review the student requests and will reach out to students and parents with any questions or concerns.

Morrow County forum is tonight - online
April 20, 2020
A reminder that the Morrow County chamber forum is tonight.
Hosted by the Boardman and Heppner chambers of commerce, the online candidates forum will include candidates for: Morrow County Commissioner, Position 1; Justice of the Peace and Morrow County Treasurer. That begins at 6 p.m. tonight over Zoom and Boardman Chamber Live. Click here for the links and more information.
There will be a City of Boardman “GO Bond”, immediately following the candidates’ forum. Questions will not be taken the night of the event.


BMCC plans Parade of Graduates
April 17, 2020
Blue Mountain Community College announcing its plans for a re-imagined commencement for the class of 2020. Rather than cancel, postpone or conduct a virtual ceremony, BMCC polled students and will be having a "Parade of Graduates" during the regularly scheduled commencement day of Thursday, June 11, at 7 p.m. There will be opportunities for faculty and staff to participate using safe social distancing measures.
Students interested in ordering Caps and gowns for the parade should contact the bookstore by April 27, and all students wishing to participate must RSVP by Friday, May 1.
You can find more information as it develops at www.bluecc.edu/graduation .

UCo Health updates, survey
April 17, 2020
Four new COVID-19 cases reported by UCo Health yesterday, bringing the county’s total to 22. They’re saying one case was a close contact of a previously confirmed case and two of the individuals reside in the same home. Three of the cases are self-isolating at home and one is currently hospitalized.
On the other side, the individual reported hospitalized earlier this week has been released and is recovering well. A total of 9 people who tested positive are now considered recovered in the county and there are 13 active cases.
UCo Health is also working on a community health assessment that will ultimately lead to a new Community Health Improvement Plan. They’re asking county residents to take a survey about the direction the community should take. The survey should only take 3 minutes and your responses are completely anonymous. Respondents who submit an email have the choice of entering a random drawing for a chance to receive a $20 gift card (5 chances to win).
Find the survey at this link.

OES hosts free, online concert
April 17, 2020
Tomorrow night, Oregon East Symphony is presenting its Spring Chamber Music Concert – online - and free. JD Kindle says each performance has been recorded, and the concert will begin at 6:30 tomorrow. Refreshments are typically provided around Oregon East Symphony performances, so they’ve also released a recipe cookbook of hors d'ouerves through the website –That includes wine and beer pairings as well.
Visit www.OregonEastSymphony.org for the recipe book, concert program, and performance link.

Morrow County online forum
April 17, 2020
On Monday, the Boardman and Heppner Chambers of Commerce hosting an online candidates forum, and anyone with questions for the candidates is asked to submit those through Sunday. The forum
Candidates’ Forum – Monday, April 20th – 6 p.m. - via Zoom and Boardman Chamber “Live”: Boardman and Heppner Chambers’ are working together to organize a candidates’ forum for the Morrow county positions: Morrow County Commissioner, Position 1; Justice of the Peace and Morrow County Treasurer. There will be a City of Boardman “GO Bond”, immediately following the candidates’ forum. Questions will not be taken the night of the event. You can submit questions through Sunday, April 19th.
If you are interested in submitting a question, please put “candidate’s forum” in the subject line and email to: torrie@boardmanchamber.org; or : heppnerchamber@centurytel.net; You can also submit questions by phone, calling either chamber.

UCo Health reports 2 new cases, 2 recoveries
April 16, 2020
Two newly confirmed positive COVID-19 cases for Umatilla County and two more people recovered. Uco Health saying the two newly identified cases have no connection to previously reported cases. One person is hospitalized, the other is self-isolating and recovering at home.
The total for Umatilla County as of yesterday afternoon, 18 total cases with 10 active and 8 people recovered.
The most recent COVID-19 update for the state of Oregon reporting 3 deaths, and 33 new COVID-19 cases yesterday. That includes one new case in Umatilla County. We can expect Umatilla County to be listed again today as Uco Health is listing two new cases. The totals for the state now at 16-hundred and sixty-three.
The total cases for the Benton-Franklin Health District in the Tri-Cities now 543, up 13 from yesterday. The includes both confirmed and probable cases. The district saying 32 people are currently hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 illness.

School board meets tonight
April 13, 2020
The Hermiston School Board meeting tonight in the commons at Armand Larive Middle School. The school board will be taking action on its financial planning parameters to draft the budget for next eyar, as well as the enrollment report and personnel changes. They’ll also be meeting in a closed door executive session to negotiate property transactions.
Click here for the full agenda.

Coronavirus confirmed cases jump
April 10, 2020
Jumps in COVID-19 confirmed cases in both Umatilla and Morrow counties yesterday. Uco Health announcing four new cases yesterday; Morrow County Public Health has confirmed two more individuals have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the Morrow County total to Five. During the Public Health Investigation both new cases had been identified and notified as being a contact from a previously reported, positive Morrow County COVID-19 case. Both individuals are self-isolating at home, and emergency management stressing Morrow County has reported positive cases in both North and South county.
The four new Umatilla County cases bring the total for the county to 13. Nine of those cases are active and self-isolating at home and four people have recovered. Statewide, six deaths and 86 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, including the two cases in Morrow County and three in Umatilla County.