by News Director Jennifer Colton
541.567.6500 or 541.289.NEWS or KOHUnews@gmail.com
OHA meeting time change June 19, 2018
The Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen expected to host a community forum
today on the future of the Oregon Health Plan, including one today in Hermiston. The time
of that meeting has changed. Instead of from noon to 2, that is now from 11 a.m. until 1
Tuesday, June 19
Hermiston, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.*
Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center
1750 E Airport Road
Find out more by clicking
Schools take on absenteeism June 15, 2018
Schools out for summer in Umatilla and Morrow counties, but schools ramping up
multiple projects including a look at why students miss school. Chronic absenteeism
applies to students who miss 10 percent of school days. Intermountain ESD Superintendent
Mark Mulvihill says missing school in primary grades can be an indicator students will not
graduate high school.
The state is funding a chronic absenteeism initiative: 26 districts have been identified
as most at risk for chronic absenteeism, and the state is taking over work with those.
ESDs including InterMountain are focusing on the next tier of high-risk
districts, and that includes six districts in our area, four of them in Umatilla County:
Hermiston, Pendleton, Umatilla, and Milton-Freewater.
The ESD has hired Landon Braden chronic absenteeism coordinator to help tackle the issue
locally. ESD assistant superintendent Jon Peterson will oversee the initiative.
That initiative will work with students in K-12 as well as preschool.
Summer Fun Day Camp opens June 15, 2018
This afternoon, a big group of kids will be hanging out at the Hermiston Family Aquatic
Center. Theyre part of the Summer Fun Day Camp with Hermiston Parks and Rec.
The camp began this week, and if youre interested in signing your kids up
its not too late. Children ages 6 to 12 can be signed up for a week at a time, and
the camp runs through Aug. 3, Monday through Friday 8 to 5. You can contact Hermiston
Parks and Rec for more information.
UCFD1 battles two fires June 14, 2018
Two fires yesterday near Hermiston. One causing evacuations of multiple buildings on
Columbia Drive. That fire beginning around 2:30 next to the parking lot for the Department
of Human Services and burned about 3 acres. DHS, Worksource Oregon and Blue Mountain
Community Colleges Columbia Hall all evacuated for about an hour. Around noon
yesterday, fire crews also responding to a grass fire along Highway 730 near the
Washington State line. Both fires serving as a reminder to avoid the area of a fire if
possible and to slow down if you must travel past emergency responders.
BMCC Commencement tonight June 14, 2018
Blue Mountain Community College has its commencement ceremonies tonight at the Pendleton
Convention Center. More than 160 of the 308 students who have completed degree and
certificates from all BMCC campuses this year are expected to walk tonight, including the
facilities in Hermiston and Boardman.
The students come from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Arizona and range in age from 17 to
62. The commencement ceremony is open to the public. Guests are asked to arrive at the
convention center before 6:45 p.m., which is when the processional begins. The ceremony
itself begins at 7 and is expected to last about an hour.
3 fires in 48 hours, millions in damages June 11, 2018
Major fires hitting Hermiston yesterday and this morning, including $3 million in damages
to the Hermiston 7th Day Adventist Church. That fire beginning around 4:30 yesterday
morning. Umatilla County Fire District 1 reporting the file likely began because a heat
source was too close to a source of ignition. Hermiston police assisting in the
investigation. Also Sunday morning a structure fire on Northeast 10th Street caused by a
faulty hot water tank that caused $75,000 to the home, making it a total loss. The fires
continue. An RV and a shed on fire in Hermiston this morning just after midnight. That
fire had spread to an area full of scrap metal, wood and car parts as well as a 100 gallon
propane tank that was actively venting fire. That fire put out by 3:30 this morning, and
the cause is still under investigation.
Budgets, trails, shipping containers on agendas June 11, 2018
Tonight, the Hermiston School Board votes on its budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year. They
will have a budget hearing that opens at 6:31, and the board will vote on the budget
during its regular meeting. Thats at the Hermiston School District Offices, and you
can find the agenda packet at
The Hermiston City Council also has a budget on its agenda tonight and a hearing.
The budget hearing will follow a public hearing on the Harkenrider Senior Project. The
purpose of that hearing to discuss the project and answer questions from the public. Also
on tonights agenda, discussion and possible action about regulating shipping
containers used for storage or shops in the city as well as consideration of bids on the
West Highland Trail. The bids range from $343,000 to $412,000 the city budgeted
$450,000 but was hoping bids would come in closer to $308,000. Find a link the full agenda
Shooting victim dies June 11, 2018
Erik Campos Navarrete, died over the weekend.
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says the Hermiston 26-year-old removed from life
support late Friday night, and his organs were donated.
Navarrete suffered a gunshot wound to the head last Monday, June 4. Cause of death was the
gunshot, and Hermiston Police are now investigating the shooting as a homicide.
UEC sells EOT June 1, 2018
Umatilla Electric Cooperative has sold Eastern Oregon Telecom to the telecoms
executive team. EOT was created in 1999. The telecom now has 17 employees and more than
3,500 internet and telephone customers. Joe Franell, EOT general manager and CEO saying
the founders were visionary in creating a locally owned and controlled internet and
telephone company, adding that while EOT is initially owned by the senior executives, the
intention is to to offer all employees a stake in the business.
"The employees of EOT are committed to providing world-class telecom services to
Eastern Oregon and believe that employee ownership is the best way for that to happen long
term, Franell said. We will be looking at ways to wisely grow the
The form of employee ownership yet to be determined, and the terms of the sale were not
released. The next step for the new owners is strategic planning.
Umatilla prepares for graduation June 1, 2018
Tomorrow, Umatilla will celebrate the class of 2018. Umatilla Superintendent Heidi Sipe
says theyre excited, and the students are ready to become graduates: The class has
an 86 percent 4-year graduation rate and 75 percent of students have committed to trade or
apprentice programs, college, or military service. Five students have completed their
associate degrees with their high school diplomas.
Benefit for student with cancer June 1, 2018
Tomorrow evening, a benefit dinner and auction for Hermiston high school sophomore Jasmine
Ellwood. Jasmine, the daughter of Hermiston Police officer Mike Ellwood, has been
diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma. The benefit is a tri tip dinner, live and silent auction.
Thats from 5 to 9 in the Hermiston High School commons. The cost is $15 per person
or $40 per family of 4All money raised will go directly to the family to help offset costs
of travel and treatment to and from OHSU.
HHS hosting NHS induction May 31, 2018
Hermiston High School will induct twenty-seven new members into the National Honor Society
tonight. That, in the high schools auditorium, at 7 p.m. The students have to
demonstrate high standards of scholarship, service, leadership, and character: The
Hermiston High School Chapter has been active since 1949.
Hermiston Aquatic Center ready for kickoff May 31, 2018
This weekend starting tomorrow a kickoff celebration for the Hermiston
Family Aquatic Center. Theyll be open 1:10 to 6:45 Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Recreation Supervisor Brandon Artz says once school is out for the summer that allows them
to open the pool for the regular season. After this weekends kickoff, the aquatic
center will reopen June 8.
HPD makes theft arrest May 30, 2018
An arrest connected to several recent car prowls in Hermiston.
On Monday evening, officers arresting 22-year-old Jesse Martinez for his alleged
connection to the vehicle break ins. A release from HPD says Martinez had tools for
breaking into cars when he was stopped, and he did have stolen property on his person as
well. HPD saying Martinez said he had been given the pants and did not know stolen items
were in the pockets. Martinez arrested and charged with theft and unauthorized entry into
a motor vehicle.
Police Chief Jason Edmiston says car prowls tend to happen in a pattern based on weather.
He has said its often a crime of opportunity and if a potential theft can see
valuables, theyre more likely to attempt to enter your vehicle.
"We continue to encourage the public to take your valuables out of your car, continue
to make sure your cars are locked," Edmiston said.
If you see anyone suspicious including someone looking into windows of unattended
vehicles, contact local law enforcement.
City Council talks zoning changes May 30, 2018
During the Hermiston City Council meeting last night, a hearing on rezoning property off
Diagonal from industrial to residential. This is the 400-acre plot near O So Kleen
which will remain in a strip of light commercial zoning. Assistant City Manager Mark
Morgan says the changes make the property more accessible for developers.
"Houses don't pop out of the ground instantly tomorrow as soon as you start working
on them, but I think these are the kinds of things that will really pay dividends
long-term," he said.
The City of Hermiston taking multiple steps to make property more attractive to
developers, including the new water tower in northwest Hermiston.
Drive 4 UR School set for Saturday May 30, 2018
This Saturday, Hermiston High School hosting a Drive 4 UR School Event from 9 until 3.
During the event, Ford vehicles will be at the school, and for every test drive, Ford
Motor Company will donate $20 to the school, up to $6,000. The proceeds will benefit the
high school volleyball program.
Hermiston High School will provide free drinks and hot dogs for everyone who test-drives a
vehicle, and a bounce house available for the kids, PAWS animal shelter will have pets
available for adoption on site.
City Council talks zones, ordinances May 29, 2018
Tonight, the Hermiston City Council meeting at 7. On the agenda, a hearing and rezoning of
property on Diagonal from light industrial to primarily residential. The city will also
have a presentation from the Hermiston School District and will discuss changing ordinance
codes, primarily dealing with yard and garage sales. Find the full
Wolfe honored by NPPA May 25, 2018
May Hermiston resident Bryan Wolfe has receiving the Northwest Public Power
Associations top honor for community service this week. Wolfe, a longtime member of
the Umatilla Electric Board of Directors, received the Paul J. Raver Community Service
award on Tuesday during the NWPPAs annual conference in Boise. The award honors an
individual or company who has demonstrated superior leadership in the betterment of
cities, states, or regions, according to a release from UEC.
Ahumada arrested after standoff May 24, 2018
More details coming in about last nights standoff outside of Boardman that ended
with the arrest of 33-year-old Alex Ahumada, a person of interest in the shooting Saturday
in Hermiston. A release from the Morrow County Sheriffs Office saying an anonymous
tip came into the Boardman Police Department at 2:48 yesterday that a subject law
enforcement was looking for was at a home outside of Boardman. Boardman Police, Morrow
County Sheriffs Office responded, along with Hermiston Police and Oregon State
Police. Ahumada had barricaded himself inside the residence, and OSPs SWAT team
arrive. After a four-hour standoff, Ahumada was taken into custody. He was taken to the
Umatilla County Jail on a no-bail parole violation warrant. Further charges are pending
with the ongoing investigation.
Students cause evacuation May 24, 2018
Two students were taken into custody at Hermiston High School yesterday, causing an
evacuation and panic from students and parents after pulling a fire alarm. As part of the
safety protocol between the district and Hermiston Police, the school was evacuated and
eight officers from HPD responded I including supervisors in full tactical
gear. The policy of treating fire alarms as emergencies necessitating tactical gear went
into effect earlier this year as a response to some active shooting incidents involving a
shooter pulling a fire alarm to make students leave classrooms. In March, Hermiston Police
Chief Jason Edmiston said the tactical gear was not intended to cause fear but helps
protect the officers.
Umatilla County Fire District 1 also responded and confirmed no fire in the building. The
two high school students are both under 18, so their identities will not be released.
Edmiston saying had the students been 18, they would have been charged with disorderly
conduct. They were released into the custody of their parents, and classes resumed on
their regular schedule
Fire claims Hermiston home May 23, 2018
Total loss reported in a home fire this morning in Hermiston.
The fire at 1335 W. Joseph Avenue reported at 4:45 this morning, and crews from Umatilla
County Fire District #1 are still on the scene. Early investigation suggesting that fire
started in the attic of the double-wide manufactured home. No injuries reported. Mop up
still taking place, and the cause still under investigation.
Alleged burglar in custody May 22, 2018
A suspect in the storage unit thefts around Hermiston is in custody. Kennewick Police
arresting Russell Scott Greene at a hotel within their jurisdiction where officers found
suspected stolen property.
As of this morning, Greene listed as an inmate in the Benton County Jail on charges of
fugitive from justice with no bail or release. Hermiston Police have been
searching for Greene in connection to a large amount of stolen property housed at the
Hermiston Police Department. Officers issuing regular reminders to local residents to
check storage facilities for signs of burglary and to claim taken items from the police
station. HPD saying they will work with Kennewick police in their ongoing investigations.
Dyslexia presentation Thursday May 22, 2018
Coming up this Thursday, "Facts about dyslexia, not myths." It's a special, free
presentation from 5:30-7 Thursday night at Good Shepherd. The InterMountain ESD's Scott
Smith is leading the presentation. He says dyslexia is says its one of the leading
causes for students struggling in reading and dyslexia affects about 20 percent of
students. For questions: email Dr. Scott Smith, Intermountain, ESD,
HPD looking for person of interest in shooting May 21, 2018
A shooting Saturday night in Hermiston that left one man with non life-threatening
injuries. The Hermiston Police Department responding just before 10 p.m. Saturday night to
a 911 call at 220 E. Beebe Ave. The victim taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center in a
private vehicle, and good shepherd confirming he was the victim of a gunshot. He was
transferred to another medical facility. Hermiston Police looking for 33-year-old Alex
Aumada, from Boardman, as a person-of-interest in the case. HPD saying the shooting
does not appear to be a random act and that the two men know each other well. Both the
Umatilla County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police assisting. It's an active
HPD also issuing a reminder on social media on Friday that they are continuing to see
reports of telephone scams. Those can be reported to local law enforcement
Umatilla honors Torres-Medrano May 21, 2018
Selene Torres-Medrano is the Umatilla Distinguished Citizen of the Year for 2018.
"I'm kind of freaking out because I wasn't expecting it, but I'm really happy,"
Torres-Medrano said. "Giving back to the community is something I love to do."
Torres-Medrano honored for her work giving back to the community. In addition to serving
on the Umatilla City Council, she is an active volunteer and organized a mental health
campaign for Umatilla schools.
During the DCA banquet on Friday, Umatilla also honoring Banner Bank as Business of the
Year and each Nanci Sandoval and Salud Campos as co-winners of the George Alan Curtis
HEF announces grants May 18, 2018
More than $40,000 awarded in grants to Hermiston educators this year, according to an
announcement from the Hermiston School district and Hermiston Education Foundation this
The foundation recently awarding its spring grants, totaling more than $29,000. The bulk
of the money this season supporting the music programs at Hermiston High School
The grants include $15,000 for new choir robes and stoles for the Hermiston high School
vocal music program and $10,000 to replace percussion and brass instruments for the band
and music programs.
The spring grants also supporting a classroom set of ball chairs for the Rocky Heights
Resource room, a lending library of speech and language therapy materials for the district
and equipment to do self portraits in portrait and drawing classes at the high school.
Rounding out the spring awards, a grant to purchase 40 tickets for theater students to
ravel to Capital Theater in Yakima to attend a professional theater production.
The spring grants in addition to the $10,225 awarded in the fall. Those grants funding
robotics computers at Armand Laive Middle School, materials for the spring musical at
Sandstone Middle School and for Seusical the Musical at the high school.
Grants from the Hermiston Ed Foundation are designed to support educational opportunities
for students in the Hermiston School District. Much of the money comes from fundraisers,
and the grants are awarded by the HEF board based on applications.
Givens out, extension district a no May 16, 2018.
One County Commissioner out and another facing a run-off in the November election after
Tuesday's primary election.
In one of the closest races of the night, Athena Mayor John Shafer taking the county
commissioner spot away from incumbent Larry Givens. Shafer had 6,071 votes
thats 52 percent, just above the limit for a run-off election. Givens had 47 percent
of the vote with 5,484. The remaining half a percent were right-in votes. George Murdock,
the other standing County Commissioner in the primary, will appear on the November ballot
in a runoff election after failing to get more than 50 percent of the vote. Murdock will
face Rick Pullen in November. Murdock had 45 percent of the vote, Pullen had 30, and Tom
Bailor had 24 percent.
On the Hermiston City Council, Mark Gomolski narrowly toppling Lori Davis and Jackie
Linton for Ward 1 in the city. That one will go on to November. Gomolski had 653 votes
thats 36% of the ballots while Davis had 33 and Linton had 31. Roy Barron,
Jackie Myers, and Doug Smith taking their wards each with more than 55 percent of the
In Umatilla County, 63 percent of voters said no to the Umatilla County Exension District.
In Morrow County, 54 percent of voters also said no.
For Circuit Court Judge, Rob Collins beating Mike Breiling 60 percent to 40 percent.
Morrow County voters selecting Don Russell for County Commissioner with about 70 percent
of the votes over Raymond Akers.
Election turn out low - and last minute May 16, 2018
The election a bit of a strange one for Oregons vote-by-mail system. Voters turning
in ballots all the way up until the deadline last night and keeping elections staff busy.
The overall county turnout coming in just over 30 percent. Umatilla County has more than
42,000 voters, and only 13,000 ballots arrived at the elections office. Umatilla County
Elections director Kim lindell saying that's not what they expected.
"It's pretty typical for a primary election which doesn't have a lot of contested
races in it. This one did, so we were expecting at least 43 percent," she said.
Lindell saying everything went smoothly. In Morrow County, the turnout about 34 percent.
The results all unofficial for now. Ballots will be certified in two weeks
City steps out of farmer's market May 15, 2018
Another change for a farmers market, this time its the city of Hermiston
stepping aside. On Friday, Mitco Investments announcing they will be going forward with a
farmers market. City staff last night saying they do not want competing farmers
"Mitco has apparently reversed course and has announced plans to actually go forward
with their planned Farmers Market, but they seem to be characterizing the
citys market as some kind of competitor. I want to be very clear. I dont see
an adversarial relationship between a city-operated market and a market operated by Mitco.
Our only interest is in ensuring that there will at least be a market this summer,
regardless of who operates it. If that means that its Mitco, and that market appears
to be viable, then thats excellent, and we can again step aside," reads a city
Assistant City Manager mark Morgan saying the city stepped in to make sure a market took
place but as long as Mitcos market is viable, the city will not need to offer its
"There will be a Farmers Market one way or the other, and Mitco still has until
the end of 2018 to complete their facility, which as far as were concerned, is being
treated just like any other applicant for a building permit," Morgan said. "I
guess if nothing else, I think this outpouring of community support for the Maxwell
Marketplace Pavilion has justified the Citys financial contribution toward the
That financial contribution $220,000 the city awarded to Mitco Investments, the bulk of
which went toward the construction of the Maxwell Pavilion. Thats the project that
was slated to house the farmers market before Mitco announced it would not be
completed for the farmers market opening next week. City staff saying Mitco is being
treated the way any other business would with its permit.
An architectural drawing submitted by Mitco when asking for the
city match of $220,000 on its pavilion clearly shows walls and windows in the pavilion
The city also pointing out the initial documents provided by Mitco, which
lead to the $220,000 payment, showed both doors and bathrooms, the two items Mitco has
said are not required and the city is targeting him about in his permit complaint.
Feuding Farmers - markets - possible May 14, 2018
A possibility of feuding farmers markets this summer.
The past week has been a hectic one for the future of Hermistons Farmers
Market. On Wednesday, Mitch Myers and Mitco Investments saying they would not host the
farmers market because of a disagreement with the city of Hermiston on permits. On
Thursday, the citys Parks and Recreation Department agreed to take it on.
Hermiston Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter saying plans are beginning to take
place. The city will host a farmers market in festival street from 4 to 7 on
"We're excited about using the Festival Street for the Farmer's Market - it's going
to be a good location," Fetter said. "We'll have large tents there for shade and
lots of food vendors, then we're going to focus on home-grown farmer's markets."
Fetter saying they will also host activities and entertainment and partnering with the
Hermiston Chamber of Commerce and first Thursday events in downtown. Fetter says
theyre looking for suggestions as they move forward with a plan thats evolving
by the day. Theyre also actively looking for vendors and partners who may want to be
On Friday, however, Myers saying he doesnt want the city stealing his hard work and
will be hosting a farmers market at the Maxwell Siding Event Center, which he
That could result in feuding markets next month.
Law Enforcement Appreciation Week this week May 14, 2018
This week is law enforcement appreciation week and blue ribbon week. Ribbons to show
support for law enforcement officers are available in Hermiston at the Hermiston Police
Department as well as Ace Hardware, Banner Bank, Bi Mart, City Hall, Eastern Oregon
Physical Therapy, Hermiston Drug, Hermiston High School, , G & S Tire, Les Schwab
Tires, and Umpqua bank
The Umatilla County Sheriffs Office again hosting a law enforcement memorial
ceremony at Til Taylor park in Pendleton. Undersheriff Jim Littlefield says it is an
important is tribute.
"We want to honor law enforcement, especially fallen law enforcement, correctional
officers," he said. "Those things are very important to us, and we invite all
members of the public to come."
That ceremony begins at 11 a.m. on Friday. A motorcade will follow the ceremony from Til
Taylor Park to the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office.
Airport lease, EOTEC board tonight May 14, 2018
Meetings tonight for the Hermiston School Board of Education and the Hermiston City
On the council agenda, another lease for land at the Hermiston Municipal Airport
this one to Ross Brandt Electric. Theyll also
Theyll also vote on the five men nominated for the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event
Center advistory board. Those individuals are: Lucas Wagner, Mike Kay, Vijay Patel, Steve
Williams and Steve Eldridge. That meeting begins at 7 tonight. Find the full agenda here.
The Hermiston School Board meeting begins at 6:30.
Car crashes into power pole May 10, 2018
A vehicle crash last night on Elm Street where a car hit a power pole, knocking down
multiple bower lines. Umatilla County fire District One closing Elm between Diagonal and
4th Street. The resulting power outage affecting more than 1000 homes and businesses in
addiction to closing the road for more than 3 hours. Power was restored just before
Morrow County presents 10 Meritorious Conduct Awards May 10, 2018
Yesterday, the Morrow County Sheriffs Office presenting the Meritorious Conduct
Award to 10 people who went above and beyond the duties of a citizen in response to an
incident on Dec. 17, 2017 that involved a burglary, chase in stolen vehicles, shots fired,
and a vehicle fire. Four of the citizens are Morrow County residents, and six are from
Yakima and were in Morrow County on a bird hunt. The awards related to an incident on Dec.
17, 2017. The local residents include Roger Britt, who discovered the burglary that has
just occurred and pursued the suspect. The other local residents are Scott Smythe, Pablo
Cisneros-Garcia and Phil Carson. All three involved in pursuing the suspects, putting out
a vehicle fire, and assisting in controlling a high stress situation. The bird hunters
from Yakima are Myrl Brown, Max Brown, Cord Brown, Dru Brown, Robert Rogers, and Lanny
A release from the sheriffs office saying this is the first time in at least 30
years the award has been presented to a citizen
Mitco cancels Farmer's Market May 9, 2018
No Hermiston Farmers Market this summer? That could be the case after Mitch Myers,
of Mitco Investments, pulled out of the event yesterday. Myers had been slated to operate
the farmers market at the Maxwell Pavilion, across from Bi-Mart. That was scheduled
to have a season kick off on Saturday, June 2, and run from June 7 through October 4. A
press release from Mitco saying they are unable to complete improvements necessary
to host the Farmers Market due to unreasonable building permit requirements placed
on the Maxwell Marketplace Pavilion Project by City of Hermiston Building Official Chuck
The building inspector issued a stop work order on the site last week, requiring the
project include exit signage and restrooms. Myers says those are not required because the
pavilion is a shade structure and not an enclosed building.
The city has not yet issued a statement after Myers announcement last night at a
vendors meeting for the farmers market.
Drug take back day sets record May 8, 2018
Last week, the 15th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Totals now in, and
the Drug Enforcement Administration saying Oregon set a record. Nearly 7 and a half tons
of drugs were collected in Oregon.Thats 14,000 pounds, and Hermiston Police Chief
Jason Edmiston says about 150 pounds of those medications were collected from the
Hermiston drop box. That prescription drug box is located in the lobby at the police
department. Its open year round during HPD business hours. Across the country, the
DEA collected and destroyed close to one million pounds almost 475 tons of
unused prescription drugs. The DEA says the drug take back is one of the best ways to keep
unused medications from being stolen and sold. The next drug collection day will be in
Stamp Out Hunger this weekend May 8, 2018
Speaking of collecting, this weekend is the 26th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive when
letter carriers across the country accept food donations during their mail deliveries.
Ernie Swanson, the postal services Corporate communication specialist for Oregon and
Washington, says the drive was initialed by the letter carriers union out of a need to
help those struggling financially. Its the largest food collection day in the entire
country, and all the food collected goes to local agencies. For the west end of Umatilla
County, thats Agape House. Dave Hughes says its the perfect time for food
"It's always neat to have them do that this time of year because is the time our
cupboards run a little bare," Hughes said. "We really appreciate it."
Plastic collection bags will be going out this weekend. You can put non-perishable,
commercially sealed foods into the back, and the mail carriers will collect those on
Saturday. They recommend having the food bag placed in or near the mailbox by 8 in the
morning to guarantee it is collected.
Leadership presentation tonight May 8, 2018
Tonight, a free leadership presentation, Reaching New Heights at Hermiston
High School. Its sponsored by Good Shepherd and features leadership speaker James
Robbins. A former pastor, Robbins says he would be asked more and more to speak about
leadership, how to motivate people and create a workplace thats more intrinsically
motivated. He says that morphed into a career.
Robbins will be bringing his expertise to Hermiston tonight for Reaching New
Heights, which says its about helping people develop their own passions and reach
their true potential, in turn helping a community reach its full potential. Reaching New
Heights is free. Thats at 7 p.m. tonight in the auditorium at Hermiston High School.
You can call 667-3509 to RSVP
Umatilla taking DCA nominations May 7, 2018
Coming up next week, Umatilla has its Distinguished Citizen Awards Banquet, and they are
still taking nominations for Business of the Year, Distinguished Citizen of the Year, and
the George Alan Curtis Award. Chamber representative Jeff Wheeler says they're looking for
people and business who make a difference in Umatilla.
The nomination forms,
criteria and selection process, available on the chamber's website, and paper copies
are available at the Umatilla Chamber office and Visitor's Center. Wheeler says those are
due 'as soon as possible' so the selection committee can have final picks done before the
May 18th banquet. You can also pick up nomination forms and tickets from around Umatilla
at Columbia Harvest Foods, Java Junkies, Rae's Dayz and Banner Bank. That will be at the
Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center on May 18. with a no host bar and dinner will be
catered by GGs Smokehouse
You can contact the Umatilla Chamber at 922-4825 for more information.
Ballot post deadline is tomorrow May 7, 2018
If youre planning to mail your ballot for the May 15th election, officials saying
those ballots should be in the mail today or, at the latest, tomorrow.
Hermiston schools budget meeting May 7, 2018
Tonight, a special budget committee meeting for the Hermiston School District. That begins
at 6 at the district offices. Since this is the first budget committee meeting for the
year, they will be elected committee chair and vice chair.
The group to also review current year planning assumptions and the board's 2018-19
A public comment period will be available. Find the agenda here.
Packed weekend of events May 4, 2018
The OSU Extension is celebrating 100 years in Morrow County with a Centennial Celebration
and SAGE Center Gallery Opening this Saturday from 11 to 1. Morrow County 4-H and
Extension agent Erin Heideman says theyll have appetizers, guest speakers, and
presentations about 4-H and other extension activities.
Guest speakers include Representative Greg Smith and Commissioner Don Russell.
Find out more by contacting Morrow County OSU Extension or the SAGE Center.
This weekend is also Cinco de Mayo, and in Hermiston, that translates to two-days of
music, food, and celebration. Clara Beas Fitzgerald says it's open to everyone.
Everything takes place at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center on Airport Road this
year. The event opens with the carnival tomorrow night. The opening "buddy
night" offer two-for-one wristbands - those are $20 each if purchased in advance -
from 4 to 9. The carnival also running through the main festival on Saturday and Sunday.
Speaking of the main festival, opening ceremonies around noon on Saturday with events
scheduled all the way to 11 p.m. Beas Fitzgerald says the first half of the event is
family activities while the evening will cater more to adults with live music, a beer
garden, and dancing. Food vendors and eating competitions will be held throughout the day.
On Sunday, Cinco de Mayo runs from noon until 10 p.m.
You can find out more on the Facebook page for Hermiston Cinco de Mayo 2018.
Finally, also this Saturday and also at EOTEC, the Coastal Farm & Ranch Challenge of
Champions bull-riding event. That's the one we've been giving tickets away to this week.
If you aren't lucky enough to snag one of our remaining sets, tickets are $14 in advance
or $17 at the door. That will also be taking place at EOTEC on Saturday. Gates open to the
rodeo arena at 6, and the action begins at 7:30. You can contact Bonney's Ag and Auto
Repair for advance tickets.
FFA Hosting plant sale May 4, 2018
This afternoon, Hermiston FFA will have a plant sale on Friday, May 4, from 3:30-6:30 p.m.
and on Saturday, May 5, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
The students will be selling hanging baskets, a few vegetables, geraniums, succulents, and
Stop by the high schools greenhouse to participate.
Gas leak, semis near construction May 2, 2018
A gas leak in Hermiston yesterday afternoon after construction workers hit a two-inch gas
line around 2 in the afternoon. Residents in the area of West Orchard Avenue evacuated for
about an hour as a precaution. The area around 11th Street facing multiple construction
projects right now, including the work continuing on the traffic light installations on
11th Street at Elm and Orchard.
Passenger cars can avoid the area to avoid the construction, but that doesnt apply
to commercial vehicles.
"We do get a lot of truck complaints, but that's where they're going to have to stay
is on those state roads," Police Chief Jason Edmiston said.
Officials advising commercial vehicles should not attempt to travel down other streets,
and Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan adding that was a question ODOT asked while
planning the traffic light projects if commercial trucks could use Highland as an
alternate to 11th.
"The short answer was 'no,'" Morgan said. "The trucks are just going to
have to deal with the construction for now."
Passenger vehicles, of course, able to avoid 11th during the construction but reminded to
follow all rules if driving in that area. The city also has construction projects in
various stages impacting downtown with the festival street and Harkenrider Center
as well as projects at Newport.
Victims emergency support approved in Morrow County May 2, 2018
More victims support coming to Morrow County. District Attorney Justin Nelson says in
cases like domestic violence, families may have to stay in shelters in Hermiston or
Pendleton, and the additional county funding will help keep victims closer to home.
"We asked and received some additional funding to provide emergency assistance for
victims in Morrow County," Nelson said. "We want to take some of the stress off
Nelson says the funds could be used for items like rent assistance and hotel stays as well
as transportation. Nelson says, for example, victims of child abuse may need to travel to
La Grande, and the funds could be used to help transportation.
That funding approved as part of the 2018-19 budget for Morrow County.
Resolutions, budgets, and changing councilors May 1, 2018
Rates, resolutions, and a resignation tonight during the Umatilla City Council meeting.
The council facing five resolutions tonight, from raising rates at the RV Park to
approving the bargaining agreement between the city and the police union. The council
meeting will also include a public hearing for a sewer line extension from the city of
Umatilla to the U.S. Army Depot thats required for the city to be able to
provide sanitary service to the depot and any future development on the site. If that
wasnt enough, theyre also consider awarding a contract for IT services to the
Intermountain ESD and make two proclamations: one for mental health awareness and a second
for Police Week and Peace Officers Memorial Day. Finally, the council will accept
the resignation of councilman Mark Ribich.
Ribich saying he plans to continue his work with the Umatilla Chamber board but is
stepping away from the council to focus on re-establishing local control and use of ACOE
lands in the Umatilla Urban Growth Boundary.
That meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Umatilla City Hall.
Budget season underway for local cities, and itll be one of the major discussions
during tonights Stanfield City Council meeting. During the meeting, newly appointed
city councilor Ralph Parrish expected to be sworn in, and the council will take comments
from the audience. That meeting begins at 7 in the city council chambers on West Coe
Avenue in Stanfield.
The Boardman City Council also meeting at 7. Among regular business and public comment
time, the council will consider changing the date for the July meeting right now on
July 4 as well as meeting in a closed-door, executive session to discuss personnel.
That begins at 7 at Boardman City Hall.
Screen-free week begins May 1, 2018
This is screen-free week, a national initiative to focus on connecting in real life - not
Angie Treadwell, with OSU extension, is one of the coordinators of local events through
her work on the Healthy Communities Coalition. This year her committee is partnering with
the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce, Umatilla County Health, Umatilla-Morrow County Head
Start and other groups to offer an event in downtown Hermiston to align with the chamber's
That event running from 4:30 to 7 on Thursday night and including business sales and
events, children's games, healthy foods, Zumba, floral bouquets, prizes, and an appearance
by the Tooth Fairy. Find out more about Screen Free Week at Hermiston Downtown on the event Facebook page.
All events are free. Screen Free week continues on Friday and Saturday with the on-site
registration for the Lovin' Spadefuls Community Garden.
You can contact the OSU extension, or Good Shepherd's Education Department for more
information on screenfree activities. Screenfree week runs through May 6 this year.
Mega Dairy files for bankruptcy April 30, 2018
The owner of mega dairy near Boardman filing for bankruptcy. The Lost Valley Farm
scheduled to auction thousands of heads of cattle after defaulting on bank loans, but
owner Greg te Velde filing for bankruptcy freezing all actions by creditors, including
that auction. The statesman journal reporting Lost Valley Farm and te Velde lists
liabilities between 100 million and 500 million dollars to more than 200 creditors. He
owes about $360,000 in back taxes owed to Morrow County.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture sued te Velde earlier this year alleging waste from
the dairy was endangering nearby drinking water. Last month, the state reached a
settlement with te Velde to run the farm in a limited capacity until it can prove the
waste treatment system is working correctly.
Echo gym will not be done by graduation April 30, 2018
Speaking of construction, some bad news for the Echo School District. The district is in
the midst of a bond-funded construction project and had planned on having this years
graduation in their new gym.
[echo not for lack of try]
Echo superintendent Raymon Smith says with the construction push, they would have to cut
corners in quality and safety that the district and its contractors were not comfortable
with. Instead, this years graduation ceremonies will be outside.
Smith says theyre already asking Mother Nature for good weather on that day.
Fisherman who drowned saving son identified April 27, 2018
The father who drowned saving his son on Wednesday has been identified.
35-year-old Juan Carlos Armenta Madrigal, of Umatilla, identified as the man who saved his
son after the boy slipped into the Columbia River. The family had been fishing near the
Umatilla Marina on Wednesday evening when the boy slipped into the river and the father
jumped in to save him. The 7-year-old was treated for hypothermia. Neither the boy or his
father knew how to swim, and neither was wearing a life vest.
The Umatilla School District providing counselors and support staff for students this
Drug Take Back Day tomorrow April 27, 2018
Tomorrow is the National Drug Take Back Day, and the Hermiston Police Department is one of
the sites participating in the nationwide event. Eastern Oregon Prescription Drug Overdose
Prevention Coordinator Mike Stensrud says prescription drug misuse is a major issue in
Umatilla County - and all of Eastern Oregon.
"Eastern Oregon has - actually two of the four counties have the highest
prescribing rates (of opioids) in the state," Stensrud said. "It's really a wide
Stensrud has said many of the abused drugs - especially opioids - come from unused
prescriptions. That's where the drug take back day comes in. It's an opportunity to get
your unused prescription medications out of your house. Cam Strohm, with the Drug
Enforcement Administration, says prior to the take back days there wasn't a method to
dispose of medications.
"DEA saw an opportunity to provide a service, working with out partners, to take
those unwanted and unused drugs out of circulation," he said.
There will be 60 locations in Oregon where you can drop off medications, including at the
Hermiston Police Department. HPD saying the prescription drug box in the lobby is
accessible during normal business hours, and anyone can drop off unused prescriptions. The
drug take back day is a good reminder to do so.
For more information on the drug take back day in Hermiston or the HPD drug box, call
Walk in Her Shoes, Umatilla museum auction tomorrow April 27, 2018
Saturday, the fifth annual Walk in Her Shoes fundraiser and awareness event for domestic
violence services. The event at Riverfront Park in Hermiston runs from 9 in the morning
until noon. Participants will move through a domestic violence scenario, choosing from
limited options. Kathryn Chaney says the event is eye opening for many people.
"It's a good exercise and a good opportunity to develop empathy for those in the
situation," she said.
Officials says despite its serious nature, sexual assault is still one of the most
underreported and misunderstood crimes in the United States.
The walk is $15 if you'd like to receive a t-shirt, and they are also hosting a raffle
during the event. All proceeds go to Domestic Violence Services.
Also this weekend, the Umatilla Museum and Historical Society is having an auction at the
museum at 1 p.m. on Sunday. To raise money, they're auctioning antiques and historic
memorabilia that they have duplicates of.
Heppner burning beginning April 26, 2018
Burning south of Heppner could begin today. The Heppner Ranger District preparing for a
250-acre burn near Sunflower Flat, thats about 20 miles south of Heppner. The burn
designed to reduce the amount of dead and down fuel sources to reduce the risk of
wildfire. The burning will cause smoke impacts for two to three days after ignition is
complete. The district saying under the right conditions they could begin burning today
and continue into next week.
For more on the Umatilla National Forest and prescribed burning, you can visit the
facebook page Umatilla NF or contact he Heppner Ranger District.
Community, legislators talk student success April 26, 2018
The Oregon Legislatures Joint Committee on Student Success in Hermiston yesterday.
The Joint Committee for Student Success talks with Hermiston High School
students during listening sessions on Wednesday.
The committee touring multiple sites in Umatilla and morrow counties, meeting with
students and business leaders, and hearing from the community, and Rep. Greg Smith, who
serves on the committee, says this trip is an opportunity to introduce other state
legislators to the offerings on the east side of the state
"I think the message throughout today is the collaboration between the education
community and our industry," Smith said. "It's a great opportunity for
legislators to see how great our youth are and to share with them how great it is living
13 of the 14 members met with students from Hermiston, Umatilla, Stanfield, Irrigon,
Boardman, and Echo in listening sessions yesterday morning. Hermiston High School student
Derek McBride says the students were able to share their perspectives.
"We're hoping they pick up just the aspect of schools, how things are run, and a
community that our students and teachers actually help students," he said.
The Joint Committee for Student Success talks with Hermiston High School
students during listening sessions on Wednesday.
Electives, robotics, overcoming challenges, high school graduation, school lunch, and even
the block schedule. Officials saying part of the program was to learn about school
districts across the state but also to find out what pieces keep students engaged. During
a public hearing last night, comments also added in tax issues, STEM and vocational
training. Written comments can still be submitted. Those who wish to submit written
testimony can also do so through email@example.com.
For more information on the committee, click here.
Stanfield celebrates trucks, tractors - and trees April 26, 2018
Tonight, Trucks, Tractors and Trees in Stanfield. Trucks and Tractors is an annual event,
but Cecili Longhorn says because Stanfield is a tree city, they're incorporating in an
arbor day celebration.
"Not only will we have trucks, tractors, school busses for kids to see, we'll also be
giving away two large trees, and the first 50 kids will be able to plant trees," she
One hundred children will also be able to paint stepping stones, and, of course, children
will be able to get up close and personal with the vehicles, many of which will be on
scene thanks to volunteer time and effort by local farmers and emergency responders, as
well as local businesses like Umatilla Electric.
Longhorn saying it's an example of the community coming together to make an event happen,
including farmers and ag producers who take a night out of a busy time of year to show off
their equipment .
Trucks, Tractors, and Trees from 5 to 7 tonight in Bard Park.
Joint Committee on Student Success coming to Hermiston April 24, 2018
The Oregon Legislatures joint committee on student success will be in Umatilla and
Morrow counties tomorrow on its statewide tour, including a public hearing when anyone can
comment or ask questions. That forum will be from 7 to 9 p.m. April 25 at the Hermiston
High School auditorium. Participant comments will be limited to two minutes, and the group
is particularly interested in where the public would like to see the states
education investments go, and how to pay for education through tax or spending reforms.
Signups for public testimony begin at 6:30. Those who do not want to give testimony do not
need to sign up and may still attend the hearing to listen. Those who wish to submit
written testimony can also do so through firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the committee, click here.
BMCC announces vet tech partnership April 24, 2018
Blue Mountain Community College to offer a veterinary tech program through an agreement
with Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas, the college announced today. BMCC currently
offers a one-year Veterinary Assistant Certificate program and planned to launch a
two-year associate veterinary tech program as part of the new FARM (Facility for
Agricultural Resource Management) facility on the Pendleton campus; however, faced with a
cost of a quarter million dollars to launch that program, BMCC now saying theyve
approved an agreement through distance learning veterinary tech program at Colby Community
College offers, where students will do prerequisite work at BMCC then transition into the
distance program. Find out more at
Umatilla bond updates - and extra money April 23, 2018
Part of the Wellness Program in Umatilla is the districts summer feeding program,
which will be a little different this year because of construction at McNary Heights
Elementary. Child Nutrition Director Ricki Lynn Larson says they will still offer a summer
feeding program, focusing on park locations, while construction begins on the new
gymnasium and expanded kitchen at McNary. District Superintendent Heidi Sipe saying the
district received good news this month about its bond: theyll receive more than
$600,000 in energy rebates and funding.
"It's things like when we went into this, we weren't anticipating buying any new
furniture for the facilities and we'll just continue repairing what we have," Sipe
said. "What this means is if a desk breaks, we can replace it, which is so
Summer projects in Umatilla going out for bids this time, and work beginning to replace
the roof at Clara Brownell Middle school. Sipe saying that will cause some parking issues
at the middle school and high school because of staging.
"That's all very doable. We're very excited to get that new roof on the middle school
- every wind storm we lose a few shingles," she said.
Construction to continue this summer at Clara Brownell and McNary Heights Elementary
School. You can find project updates and design images on the districts website.
Stanfield to consider bond April 23, 2018
Speaking of bonds, the Stanfield School District may be considering one in the future.
Superintendent Beth Burton says the district is working with Design West on longterm
facility planning, and that will help set priorities.
"We are still in just the really gone out to the talk to the community much yet,
which really needs to happen, but we didn't want to do that until we finished the longterm
Burton says the planning will be done at the end of this month, then theyll begin
making a list of priorities and talking with the community about needs for the district.
Council to consider UMCHS leases at airport April 22, 2018
Classroom space and the bus barn for Umatilla-Morrow County Head Start could be moving to
the Hermiston Airport. The Hermiston City Council considering two ground leases, each
about an acre, during its meeting tonight Each lease claims about a one-acre part of the
citys 28 acres of undeveloped land land north of Airport Way. The bus barn lease
would be $2,200 per year; the classroom space about 2,100. A presentation from Lifeways
during tonights meeting of the Hermiston City Council and Urban Renewal Agency. The
urban renewal agency meeting will follow directly after the council meeting. The council
meetings typically begin at 7; however, tonights meeting is scheduled to begin at 6,
thats at Hermiston City Hall. Find the full
The Hermiston School District considering a contract with Chartwells for food service
management and hearing a presentation from Armand Larivie Middle School during its work
session tonight. That will be at Armand, and it begins at 6:30 p.m.
McNary Heights wins wellness award April 22, 2018
Officials presenting a big award and a big check to McNary Heights Elementary today. The
school receiving a School Wellness Award from the Oregon Department of Education, and the
Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council sponsored a $2,500 grant to accompany it. Angie
Treadwell, with OSU Extension, nominated McNary Heights for the award in recognition of
the wellness efforts at the school, including Breakfast After the Bell, the McNary
Marathon, and the summer feeding programs. Fuel Up to Play 60 Ambassador Anthony Newman, a
former NFL Player, spoke to the students as part of the award ceremony and recognition.
Looking at a long list of accomplishments, Newman says he's impressed
"I've been to a lot of schools and talked to a lot of schools," Newman said.
"This one? It's impressive. You do a lot for the kids."
Treadwell says the Hermiston School District and Morrow County School District have also
received grants from the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, but this school wellness
award for McNary is something new.
ODE recognized three schools in the state with Wellness Awards for outstanding school
wellness programs. The other two schools this year are Madison Elementary in the Coos Bay
School District and Vern Patrick Elementary in Redmond. You can hear more about the award
by listening to Friday's Odds & Ends program.
McNary Heights celebrates Earth Day April 20, 2018
Hundreds of McNary Heights Elementary students made an annual trek to McNary Lock and Dam
yesterday to celebrate Earth Day, learning about water and environment, pollution and
identifying invertebrates in pond water.
McNary Elementary students walk through a trail at McNary Lock and Dam on
For many of the presentations, students in Umatilla High Schools advanced biology
class lead the younger students through activities. Courtney Daniel was part of a team
that into ponds to pull samples of water and show invertebrates to the younger students.
"I was nervous about coming and having it not be very good weather and be really
difficult, but we've had so much fun," Daniel said. "We've been doing macro
invertebrates, and the kids have been having a lot of fun, finding cool stuff, and I think
a lot of that is because of the weather."
Nearby, a team of Roberto, Rueben, and Ivan walked students through the process of
creating a water filtration system. Students selected materials then tested their
hypothesis. Roberto says its harder than it looks and not everyone completes the
"We've had about five in each class that get it right," he said.
In addition to the presentations at the annual Earth Day, students were able to have a
picnic lunch. Avery Gutierrez says shes glad her school offers this event every
"I like it - the walking and just looking at everything," she said. "And it
teaches us about the environment and how we can make it better."
In continuation of Earth Day celebration, Umatilla leadership students working on a
clean-up day today.
CBMS names Guentert new principal April 18, 2018
Umatilla School District ahs named Dawn Guentert as its next Clara Brownell Middle School
principal, replacing Liz Durant. Guentert ahs been with Umatilla for 10 years, including
as a science teacher and instructional coach. She says that experience lead her toward the
new position, and she plans to continue the momentum.
Guentert will work with the current staff and principal through the spring to help with
the transition to administration.
Financial aid night at HHS April 18, 2018
For questions on paying for college next year and what your financial aid package means,
counseling staff at Hermiston High School are hosting an understanding financial aid
package night in the schools library. It starts at 6 and will last about an hour.
Counselor Melody Bustillos says theyre looking to offer individualized support.
Bustillos says bring your financial aid packages and college log-ins for that
individualized support, and College Bound Coordinator Liz Marvin says its geared at
students attending a four-year college next year regardless of where. Both
Bustillos and Marvin saying you dont have to be a Hermiston High School student
or any high school student at all to attend.
Contact Hermiston High School counseling for more information. That again begins at 6
tonight at the Hermiston High School library.
Paving work resumes Monday on 730 April 18, 2018
On April 23, work expected to resume in a paving project along US 730 in Umatilla, between
Old River Road and Willamette Street. The work, between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m., will cause some
temporary closures of the Interstate 82 on and off ramps in Umatilla. Travelers can also
expect flaggers, rough pavement and delays up to 20 minutes at a time during that work.
Its expected to be completed by the end of May.
BMCC launches 20th Arts & Culture April 17, 2018
This week, Blue Mountain Community College is talking arts and culture. The 20th annual
festival began yesterday in Pendleton, and the first presentation in Hermiston is today.
At 1 this afternoon, visiting artist Natasha Ria el-Scari (will be in Hermiston, on the
BMCC Campus. Ria el-Scari is a poet who is a performance poet and this year's Artist in
Residence for Arts & Culture Festival.
The theme is global perspectives. In Hermiston, the main days for Arts & Culture are
Wednesday and Thursday. Presentations scheduled for each hour 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on
Wednesday with presentations ranging from "In Science We Trust," an Oregon
Humanities Conversation Project, to interactive African Drumming. On Thursday, the
presentations will cover the story of a Holocaust survivor, immigration rights, and Wayne
Yamamoto, a World War II Japanese-American internee who will host a "fireside
chat" format presentation and discussion.
On Thursday, they'll also have games and an Alpaca display at the Hermiston campus. All of
those events are open to the public. Find the full schedule of presentations here, and
you can contact BMCC Hermiston for more information.
Judge Hill visits HHS April 18, 2018
On Friday, students at Hermiston High School met with this year's distinguished alumnus,
Judge Dan Hill, to ask questions and take a first step toward a mentorship. In a full day
on the campus, Circuit Court Judge Hill met leadership students, students at the ILC
building, as well as civics and econ students, and the judge said he was impressed with
students engagement - and their questions.
Circuit Court Judge Daniel Hill speaks to students at Hermiston High School on
Students were able to ask questions on everything from what a judge does, how hill
approaches leadership and even, how to avoid jury duty.
"It's been going really well," Hill said Friday. "I've been impressed with
the classes, the students asking articulate questions and responding in articulate
HHS Assistant Principal Scott DePew says the distinguished alumnus program highlights one
HHS graduate to help inspire students for what they can achieve after graduation. This is
the first year the school district has involved an alumnus in a mentorship program during
the school year.
"I'm just looking forward to this time frame and this mentoring, which I really
enjoy," Hill said. "Try to get some questions, answer some questions, and maybe
resolve some misconceptions about the judiciary."
Hill will also serve as a featured speaker during the Hermiston High School commencement
ceremonies in June.
Umatilla Robotics hits the road April 18, 2018
In other school news, the Umatilla FIRST Robotics Competition team boarded a yellow bus
over the weekend to head to the World Finals in Houston. Umatilla Superintendent Heidi
Sipe says the team only had a week notice after winning the Chairmans Award at the
Pacific Northwest Finals last week, so they depleted their start-up funds for next season
to make the trip. The team expects to kick off funding raising when they return from the
trip next week. You can follow the progress on the Facebook page, website, and other
social media pages for Umatilla Robotics. Competitions at the World Finals will be
streamed online. Umatillas team is team 4125, confidential.
Boardman, Stanfield meeting this week April 18, 2018
A special meeting of the Boardman City Council tomorrow night. That begins at 6 at
Boardman City Hall. The action again focused on an ordinance for port vacation and
rededication this one is the second reading and decision on that. There will also
be time for public comment.
The Stanfield City Council appointing a new city councilor and discussing outdoor burning
during its second meeting on the month. Also on the agenda, changes to master water
metering. The city has been accepting letters of interest for its vacant council seat and
is expected to review those letters and select a new council member. Anyone who has
submitted an application is encouraged to attend that meeting tomorrow to answer questions
the council may have. The council will also meet in an executive session for the city
managers evaluation. That meeting begins at 7 in the council chambers of west Coe
McNary wraps up annual marathon April 13, 2018
For the past two weeks, students at McNary Heights Elementary have been competing against
themselves in an annual tradition more than three decades long: the McNary Marathon.
Students run in the McNary Marathon outside McNary Heights Elementary on
The students themselves, many take it as a challenge, and as they filed out on Thursday
for the final day of the marathon, many took to the field running - literally.
"It's fun. I like to run," said third-grader Rueben, who had 57 laps - more than
anyone else in his class - halfway through Thursday's recess. While he set out to beat a
personal goal - and do as many laps as he could - fourth-grader Zoe says she prefers
"It's kind of fun because you get to walk along with your friends, and sometimes your
teachers go out there," she said.
Vice principal Nicole Coyle punches a card for a student, indicating another
Multiple students say the marathon is about doing their best. Staff say its about health,
keeping kids active and preparing for other outdoor events , such as the annual hike to
McNary Lock and Dam for Earth Day. Principal Rick Cotterell says It's also about carrying
on a tradition.
"It's a time-honored tradition, and we plan to continue it year after year,"
The school is calculating total punches and laps, and they'll reward the boy and the girl
with the most laps from each class during an assembly next week.
Candidates talk economics, mental health at forum April 12, 2018
Economic development. Financial stability and mental health taking center stage last night
during a candidate forum at Armand Larive Middle School.
About 75 people came out to hear from Five county commissioner and 8 Hermiston city
On the county commissioner side, the forum featured incumbents George Murdock and Larry
Givens as well as the candidates running against Murdock for position one, Rick Pullen and
Tom Bailor, and and john Shafer, who is running against Givens.
When asked what the most pressing issue was for the county, Pullen and Givens said
economic development, Murdock answered housing, and Shafer and Bailor both targeted mental
health. Bailor said while discussion on opioids is important, its not the only drug
problem that has an impact on mental health.
"A lot of people are worried about opioids, but Umatilla County is the poster child
for methamphetamine, and we need to address that," he said.
Candidate Bailor proposing putting together a county behavior health committee to study
that issue at the county level. Shafer talked about mental health through bringing in more
"What I'd like to propose for mental health is, No. 1, we need to get more providers
into Umatilla County," he said.
The candidates also spoke about increased funding for the Umatilla County Jail and their
take on economic development. Pullen says not all economic development is created equal.
"Big industries are great. They bring in a lot of tax revenue ... but we need the
jobs that are going to bring in lots of employment, not just five or six employees and a
good tax base - jobs," he said.
After the county commissioner forum, eight of the nine candidates for Hermiston City
Council also speaking about city issues, including the role of a city council, fiscal
responsibility in the city and the Eastern Oregon Trade and event center.
The forum was broadcast and recorded by Armand Larive middle school students and staff,
and you can view that on demand here.
Boardman School Emergency Drill is tomorrow April 12, 2018
Tomorrow, April 13, the emergency drill in Boardman schools. Its a partnership with
the Morrow County School District, Boardman Police, and Morrow County sheriff.
Tomorrow is not a school day for Morrow County, so most students will be away from
campuses during the event. Some students those from Boardman High School who have
been cleared to participate will participate, as well as staff and other volunteers
who will role-play as students and parents. Staff from other school districts will
observe, and Intermountain ESD Superintendent Mark Mulvihill says this is the first major
drill since many safety procedures were put in place.
The drill will include emergency responder, and theyre asking the community to be
aware the drill will take place and to avoid the area during drill activity.
Text-to-911 services go live April 11, 2018
Text-to-911 services now available. Umatilla County 911 Communication Center,
Milton-Freewater Police Department Dispatch and John Day Emergency Communications Center
making a joint announcement yesterday that the service is now live.
Dispatch saying they still prefer the those in an emergency to call, but texting is an
option for those who cannot because of the type of emergency such as a home
invasion or domestic violence or those who are hard of hearing The press releasing
saying the main thing to remember is call if you can, text if you cant.
Officials also saying when texting to 911 for an emergency, the first message should be
the location of the emergency (including city) and the type of emergency help needed
(police, fire, or medical). Keep text messages brief and concise; using full words. Stay
with your phone, and be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911
As of right now, you cannot include 911 in a group text, and photos, videos and emoji
cant be sent.
Text to 911 service is not yet available statewide in Oregon If you send a text to 911
from a city/county without Text to 911 service, you should receive a message saying that
there is no text service to 911
available at this time. For more information, go to www.nwtext911.info
Crashes close I-84 April 10, 2018
The Eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 closed this morning because of an incident that
occurred before 5:30 a.m. at MP 188 While the incident was initially reported as a
wreck, some reports now saying a pedestrian was involved.
The closer today on Interstate 84 following a wreck yesterday morning where two soldiers
received minor injuries. An SUV crashed into the back of their Humvee on I-84, and the
impact flipped the military vehicle off the shoulder of the interstate and onto its top,
and two soldiers were transported to St. Anthonys hospital in Pendleton. The Humvee
was part of a convoy from Joint Base Lewis Mcchord headed toward Idaho. The driver of the
SUV reportedly cited for following too close. Update, April 11:
The Eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 closed yesterday morning, and Oregon State Police
releasing more information on the incident that killed a pedestrian. OSP saying
49-year-old Rosialy Tiffany of Kennewick was crossing the travel lanes of the Interstate
when she was struck by a station wagon, driving by 41-year-old James Creel of Portland.
Tiffany had left her vehicle, and for unknown reasons, attempted to cross the freeway when
she was struck. She was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The freeway was closed down and traffic had to be routed through the town of Echo for
about four and a half hours during the investigation.
Creel was not injured in the incident. Alcohol, by Tiffany, is being considered a
contributing factor in the crash. No photos will be available of this crash.
Candidate forum April 10, 2018
Tomorrow, a candidate forum at Armand Larive Middle school. The forum to feature those
running for Umatilla County Commissioner as well as the nine candidates for Hermiston City
Debbie Pedro, with the Hermiston Chamber, says almost a dozen candidates have so far
agreed to participate. The event begins with a meet and greet at 5:30, followed by the
county commissioner forum at 6. A brief intermission will take place after the
commissioner forum, and the city council candidates will follow. Contact the Hermiston
Chamber of Commerce for more information.
The Boardman Chamber of Commerce is also hosting a candidate forum. That one will be April
18th and will feature candidates for Circuit Court Judge and Morrow County Commissioner.
Stanfield has city council opening April 10, 2018
If youre interested in being involved with city politics and you live in Stanfield,
they are now accepting letters of interest for a city council position. The position open
after the death of councilwoman Pam McSpaddon
City Manager Blair Larsen says the city council hopes to interview and appoint someone at
the April 17 meeting.
To be a city council member in Stanfield, you must be a legal voter and have been a
resident for at least two years.
Umatilla Robotics heading to Worlds April 9, 2018
Umatilla Robotics is again heading to the FIRST Robotics Competition world championships,
this time in Houston. The team receiving a regional chairmans award over the
weekend, which qualifies them for the worlds competition in Houston. Thatll be in a
couple weeks the robot already crated and ready to go the team cannot work on
the robot between competitions.
Council talks NE Hermiston water project April 9, 2018
Anderson Perry will likely design and provide oversight for the Northeast Hermiston Water
System Expansion project. The Hermiston City Council voting on that during tonights
council meeting. The preliminary authorization by the city council including just under
$800,000 for design engineering, construction engineer, cultural resources reporting and
construction monitoring. The fee estimate from Anderson Perry coming in at $640,000.
The council also has a supplemental budget hearing for the Hermiston Urban Renewal Agency
and a closed-door, executive session for discussion of property transactions.
That meeting begins at 7 tonight. Find the full
School Board meeting at 6:30 April 9, 2018
Also tonight, the Hermiston School Board of Education expected to officially hire Dan
Greenough as the new principal at Desert View Elementary. Theyll also have reports
on graduation rates and enrollment as well as accepting resignations and meeting in an
executive session on labor negotiations. Follow
this link for more on tonight's Hermiston School Board meeting.
Judge Hill named distinguished alumnus April 9, 2018
In other school district news, Judge Daniel Hill named the Distinguished Alumnus for
2017-18. Judge Hill graduated from Hermiston High School in 1979. In January 2005, Judge
Daniel Hill began serving as the Circuit Court Judge, 6th Judicial District for Umatilla
and Morrow Counties in the Oregon Judicial Branch. Judge Hill is a Brigadier General, US
For the last three years, nominations for this recognition were open in November and the
alumnus announced in May. The process changed this school year to provide the alumnus an
opportunity to serve as a mentor to students since the start of the school year.
On Thursday, June 7, Judge Hill will be a featured speaker at the HHS commencement
ceremony: 7 p.m., at the Toyota Center in Kennewick, Washington.
Stuff the Bus raises $22,000 worth of items April 9, 2018
Over the weekend, Leadership Hermiston hosting a Stuff the Bus donation drive.
Between busses set up at Walmart, Fiesta Foods, and Safeway, the group collecting almost
$22,000 worth of goods as well as $718 in monetary donations. The items donated to Agape
House, Hermistons Domestic Violence Shelter, the Hermiston Warming Station, and
Desert Rose Ministries. The cash will be distributed to those same groups through the
Hermiston Chamber of Commerce.
Umatilla County Fair announces Main Stage Entertainment April 6, 2018
The Umatilla County Fair announcing its 2018 entertainment:
AUG 7 TUE
AUG 8 WED
AUG 9 THU
AUG 10 FRI
AUG 11 SAT
Tickets are now on sale. Any concert seating tickets do require fair passes or tickets as
Clean-ups continue tomorrow despite weather April 6, 2018
Despite the wind and possible rain tomorrow, clean up events not being cancelled because
of the weather. Umatilla City Manager Russ Pelleburg says theyre hoping volunteers
will still come out tomorrow for their annual Slam Dunk the Junk
"Last year was our biggest year of cleanup in town - it was a great success - and
we're hoping the weather doesn't throw too much of a damper on things tomorrow,"
You can contact Umatilla City Hall for more information.
Tomorrow is also the final day of the Umatilla County Clean Up - week 1 at Sanitary
Disposal as well as the hazardous waste day at the North Morrow Transfer Station, and the
"Stuff the Bus" donations drive in Hermiston.
Tomorrow is also the citywide yard sale in Stanfield, and many of them will be set up at
the little league fields in Stanfield, beginning at 10 in the morning. City Manager Blair
Larsen said yard sales will happen across the city.
"We'll have a map available showing you everyone in Stanfield and Echo, where the
yard sales will be," he said.
To be included in the map, sellers paid a small fee. That money is going toward
Stanfield's Movies in the Park.
Steps taken to bring back drug court April 5, 2018
Drug Court will be returning to Umatilla County.
The Umatilla County Commissioners yesterday approving a new plan to partner with Community
Counseling Solutions to reboot the drug court, which was dissolved almost exactly a year
ago due to funding issues. The program provides support for those struggling with
addiction. The new, smaller drug court program is expected to start in July.
April 4, 2018
It is clean-up week across Umatilla and Morrow counties.
In Umatilla county, sanitary disposal taking loads of garbage and lawn debris up to 454
pounds excluding tires for free this week.
Hermiston Parks and Recreation director Larry Fetter says the Clean-up week is the first
stage of the Clean-Sweep Events for Umatilla county. The offer continues through Saturday.
Saturday is also the Slam Dunk the Junk clean up event in Umatilla, and on the Morrow
County side, its the Hazardous Waste Event for Morrow County residents. Theyll
be taking paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, filters all those hard-to dispose of
items. In Morrow County, that hazardous waste event is this Saturday at the Morrow County
North Transfer Station. In Umatilla County, its next Saturday April 14 - at
Umatilla Electric Cooperative.
The Umatilla County recycling event From 9-3 on April 14, and again, that Boardman Event
is this Saturday from 9 until noon. This month, the City of Boardman is also offering
garbage vouchers to residents. You can contact the city of Boardman for more information.
For the Umatilla County events, contact Hermiston City Hall or Umatilla Electric
Stuff the bus this weekend April 4, 2018
Also this Saturday, the Stuff the Bus event to bring collect items for Agape
House, the Hermiston Warming Stations, Desert Rose Ministries, and the Hermiston Domestic
Its a project from the current Leadership Hermiston class, and theyre
collecting items from trash bags through chicken noodle soup, light bulbs to socks, as
well as baby diapers, other nonperishable foods and hygiene products.
The items will be collected on Saturday then delivered to the four nonprofit
organizations. Aimee Cook, the project chairwoman say the goal is to fill the busses.
Stuff the bus running from 8 to 5 on Saturday at Fiesta Foods, Safeway and Wal-mart. You
can watch for the yellow school busses with banners or talk to the Leadership Hermiston
members theyll be wearing lime green shirts.
Wyden talks guns, DACA, robotics April 4, 2018
US Senator Ron Wyden holding his Umatilla County Town Hall meeting this morning at
Umatilla High School to a crowd of county residents and Umatilla students. More than half
of the question-and-answer session focused on gun violence with comments from both
community members and students. Wyden saying shootings have become common place.
"This is not normal - we are better than this," Wyden told the audience.
Wyden approached what he called common sense gun policy, which had three main points:
"What I want to do is really three things: One, I want a background check every time
a gun is sold in America," he said. "Every single time."
The second point is banning bump stocks and the third, lifting restrictions so the CDC can
research gun violence. Questions also covered support for agricultural supporters and
veterans, against privatizing VA care and in favor of the secure rural schools bill and
DACA students. Wyden presented the Umatilla Robotics team with a flag that had flown over
the capitol, and the team presented him with a T-shirt, making him an honorary member of
FRC Team Confidential.
Wyden continues his Eastern Oregon circuit today with his Morrow County Town Hall. That
begins at 9:15 at Riverside Jr/Sr High School.
Parking lot demolition begins April 4, 2018
Construction beginning in the parking lot behind the Hermiston Public Library this week,
and if you're hoping for a spot to park behind the library, it's not going to be there.
Crews beginning the demolition process on the upper parking lot behind the library in
preparation of grading work for a parking lot overall. That's good news for the long term,
and bad news for anyone planning on attending library programs, like morning story times.
Librarian Mark Rose says they'll have signage pointing parents to the front doors instead
of the customary back entrance.
"We still want to continue doing everything we can to engage the community," he
Rose says they have no plans to cut programs during the construction, which should be
completed in early summer - and, with any luck, before the summer reading programs begins.
The parking lot changes will make a gradual incline in the parking lot that was formerly
in multiple levels. The changes will add about 40 parking spaces and serve the library,
the city's building department, the Harkenrider Center.
Hermiston and GEODC announce loans April 4, 2018
The city of Hermiston also announcing a housing rehabilitation program yesterday.
No-interest loans available up to $20,000 for repairs including structural repairs,
electrical, plumbing and heating system repair or replacements. Its a program funded
by a Community Development Block Grant and now being issued through the Greater Eastern
Oregon Development Corporation. You can visit the website for the corporation at
www.geodc.net for more information.
Lavender Festival cancelled for 2018 April 3, 2018
No lavender festival this year. The annual June festival typically a benefit for Agape
House, but executive director Dave Hughes says theyve cancelled this year because a
late frost damaged the lavender plants.
"We have taken the attitude that it's such a wonderful event, and it's so wonderful
when the lavender is in blossom, that we will just cancel it this year so we can provide a
quality event when the flowers are beautiful," Hughes said.
That event typically the last Saturday in June, and Hughes says they do hope to bring that
back in 2019.
Wyden hosts town halls this week April 3, 2018
This morning, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden hosting his Umatilla County Town Hall for the year.
That begins at 9:30 at Umatilla High School. It is open to the public, and no reservations
are required. The Morrow County meeting at 9:15 tomorrow morning at Riverside Jr/Sr High
City councils talk bills, budgets, and property tonight April 3, 2018
Tonight, the question of whether water and sewer bills should be in the name of the
property owner. Thats one discussion the Stanfield City Council will have tonight.
Theyll also discuss potential burn ordinance amendments, projects to include in the
next budget, and the citys need for improved meeting and office space. During that
same meeting, the Stanfield Police Department will also give its 2017 year-end report.
That meeting is at 7 tonight in the Stanfield City Council Chambers on Coe Avenue.
The Umatilla City Council updating and renewing franchise agreements tonight. On the
agenda, franchise agreements to Lightspeed Networks, CenturyLink, Zayo group and Eastern
Oregon Telecom. They'll also have a proclamation and announcements about Arbor Week in the
city. That meeting begins at 7 tonight at Umatilla City Hall.
And the Boardman City Council will be working on a budget contingency transfer, and
rededication of property in the Port of Morrow. That meeting begins at 7 at Boardman City
Hall. You can contact any of those city governments for more information on their
Way of the Cross today March 30, 2018
This afternoon, a re-enactment of the Stations of the Cross through Hermiston for Good
Friday, a recognition of the crucifixion of Jesus. The annual Way of the Cross
begins at noon tomorrow in the parking lot at Our lady of Angels Catholic Church. Father
Maxwell said the church continues the tradition every year.
"Everybody is welcome, and I recommend anyone attend who would like to attend,"
he said. "By acting out these various points that Jesus suffered on his way to
Calgary, it helps us know the depth of the love he has for us."
Youth from the church will take on many of the roles in the re-enactment, including Jesus,
Roman guards, and other Roman citizens. Father Maxwell says the young people choose to
"They have a little fun while they're doing it, but at the same time, these young men
and women, they pray before they go, and they really try to make this not just a play but
an act of love," he said.
The Way of the Cross will follow multiple stations on a path from the church to the
Hermiston Butte. If you do participate, dress for the weather, for the walk, and for
climbing a portion of the butte.
Umatilla Museum grand opening March 30, 2018
This weekend is Easter, and next weekend is the grand re-opening of the Umatilla Museum.
On April 7, itll be the new season opening for the museum and also the debut of many
changes. To prepare, theyre looking for volunteers and members.
Museum board members say theyre asking volunteers to work 2-hour shifts. Those who
volunteer a four-hour shift will also receive vouchers for gas and lunch. For now, the
museum will be open from 10-2 on Fridays and 10-6 on Saturdays.
The Umatilla Museum in the former Umatilla City Hall, police department, and jail, on
Sixth Street. They also have a benefit auction scheduled for Sunday, April 29. We will
have more details on that next month.
You can call 541-626-2099 for more information or to volunteer with the museum.
BMCC receives national award March 30, 2018
Blue Mountain Community College honored for excellence in advertising this week, taking
home a Gold Paragon Award during the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations
(NCMPR) annual conference in Las Vegas. BMCC receiving the award for its In A
World radio ad.This is the first NCMPR Paragon Award BMCC has received.
HPD investigating shooting March 29, 2018
Shots fired near Newport Park last night. Hermiston Police saying the report of gunshots
came in just before 8:30 last night. Officers responding found a dark colored Honda sedan
with several bullet holes in it. Preliminary investigation finding three occupants of the
Honda were in an argument with a male in a light-colored SUV. When one of the Hondas
occupants broke out the back window of the SUV with a bat, the male in the SUV pulled a
firearm. The three fled the scene, and the male in the SUV allegedly pulled up to the
unoccupied Honda and shot at it multiple times. Police have not reported any injuries in
the incident, and it is an ongoing investigation.
Newport streets project gets green light March 29, 2018
The Hermiston City Council this week approving a contract to redo several streets around
Newport Park, including a rebuild on Newport Avenue between 5th and 7th. Work will begin
in the next month, and it should be complete late summer.
The project is mainly funded through the occupancy tax on electric bills the council
approved last year in the capital improvement plan. That tax is dedicated to funding
"This is essentially the first project funded with those new funds coming in,"
said Mark Morgan, assistant city manager. "They'll be going in and rebuilding those
roads to make a better connection."
For some areas of Newport Avenue, it will be the first time a street has been properly
constructed in the area. As part of the project, the city also piloting a grant-program to
provide matching funds for city residents installing sidewalks.
Crystal Apple deadline this weekend March 29, 2018
It is spring break, but one reminder related to area schools this week the deadline
for nominations for the InterMountain ESDs Crystal Apple awards is this Sunday. You
can find the nomination form on the ESDs website. Nominees can be any full-time or
part-time employee in any of the ESDs 18 component school districts in Morrow,
Umatilla, and Union counties.
Traffic light work begins March 28, 2018
Work picking up this week and next to install new traffic lights on 11th. The lights going
in at the intersections of Elm and 11th and Orchard and 11th. Assistant City Manager Mark
Morgan says they expect the projects to be completed in the fall, although many of the
heaviest traffic impacts will be this week with light poles and arms installed months
before the "They'll non active until mid to late fall while they're doing a lot of
work underground, so it's going to look like it's done long before they're active,"
Work will take place paving at both intersections as wells as flaggers and lane
restrictions on Elm, which will also have an expanded turning lane installed as part of
the construction project. City officials recommending slowing down or avoiding the areas
during construction, if possible Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says the police
department has received grant funding to help with visibility patrols during the
construction to make sure drivers follow the law and keep the roads - and the construction
sites - safe.
"This is not about us writing tickets," Edmiston said. "This is about us
making sure that everyone traveling through the area is operating safely and that the
workers doing the work are as a safe as possible."
Morgan saying drivers can expect those primary traffic concerns to take place over the
next few weeks. The city also moving forward with projects around Newport Park and the
Festival Street. Both of those expected to be complete this summer.
Commissioners consider modulars for fair office March 27, 2018
The City of Hermiston last night voting on changing governing boards at the Eastern Oregon
Trade and Event Center, but it isnt the only change going on as part of the
transition. Umatilla County negotiating an agreement to turn over its part of ownership of
the facility to the city. Now, the Umatilla County Commissioners are considering putting a
modular building on the property to house staff for the Umatilla County Fair.
"We have a particular need right now, along with the change in our status in EOTEC,
for the county fair to have an office on the EOTEC property. That was part of our
settlement with the city of Hermiston," said County Commissioner Bill Elfering.
Elfering said theyre looking at using modular buildings from the Milton-Freewater
School District. With school construction replacing modular classrooms, that district
releasing unneeded modular buildings
"We could, with the permission of the city of Hermiston, put one of those up as an
office building at least temporarily until they're in a better position to building
something permanent that would be more suitable to the site," he said.
The county authorizing purchase of two of those buildings if they are able to the
district selling them in a first-come, first-served basis.
Echo Schools amp construction in spring break March 26, 2018
It is spring break in area schools, and in the Echo School District that means amping up
on construction on its building expansion and renovation.
"Really focused this week on doing a big push and bring in extra crews to do a lot of
connection pieces where the old building and the new building are going to connect,"
Echo Schools Superintendent Raymon Smith said.
Smith says theyll also be working on site grading and sidewalks while they
dont have the traffic that happens during a school day. Smith said they're working
to make the next week a busy but productive week.
You can follow construction projects at Echo Schools on their website construction page.
EOTEC board changes March 26, 2018
Formation of a new EOTEC advisory committee on the agenda at the Hermiston City Council
meeting tonight. Theyll also be repealing the EOTEC Authority board. The change in
management groups following the citys takeover of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event
Center. The City Council also considering a contract to repave streets surrounding Newport
Park. That meeting beginning at 7 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. Follow this
link for the full agenda.
Erickson receives fire honor March 23, 2018
Yesterday, State Fire Marshal Jim Walker presenting the Office of State Fire Marshal's
highest awards for outstanding achievement in fire prevention and safety education during
the Oregon Fire Marshals Association's annual conference today.
The Golden Sparky is awarded to a fire service agency or individual for outstanding
achievements in fire prevention and safety and the Silver Sparky is awarded to a civilian,
company, or non-profit organization for outstanding achievements in fire prevention and
The Golden Sparky award was presented to Umatilla County Fire District #1 Public Educator
Gretchen Erickson and the Silver Sparky was presented to the Pendleton Lions Club.
Livestock district to go to Hat Rock voters March 23, 2018
Residents of the Hat Rock will have two ballots this spring as they consider not only the
May election but also the creation of the Salmon Point Livestock District. The area
currently open range, where cattle can graze freely and do not have to be fenced in.
County Commissioner Bill Elfering saying the livestock district proposal comes from
residents who have suffered property damage from cattle. Supporters of the open range say
the cattle have been there since the 1960s, before most of the areas homes were
built. The petition going before the Umatilla County Commissioners on Wednesday. The Board
voting to allow area residents to vote on whether or not to create the district. That vote
will be April 17.
One DUI arrest in St. Patrick's Patrols March 23, 2018
The results are in from the St. Patricks Day enhanced patrols.
On March 17, the Umatilla County Sheriffs Office making just one DUI arrest on the
holiday 20-year-old Joel Dominguez Jr., of Umatilla, charged with driving under the
influence of marijuana. A release from the sheriffs office saying this is the second
time Dominguez has been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana he
was last arrested in March of 2017. That case is still pending in court.
Enhanced and high visibility patrols are funded through grant money from the Oregon State
Sheriffs Association. They take place on days with a higher than usual risk of
driving under the influence injuries and deaths. The next patrol scheduled for Cinco de
Mayo weekend May 4-6.
Sheriff warns of warrant scam March 22, 2018
More scams going around, this time a warning from Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan. He
says its called the warrant scam. A scammer calls claiming to be with local law
enforcement and that a local judge has issued a warrant for their arrest, often for an
issue like failing to appear for jury duty.
"A lot of times, they'll even name our local judges, 'Judge Brower has issued a
warrant for your arrest for your failure to appear at jury duty and to avoid being taken
to jail, you can avoid that by posting bail,'" Rowan said.
Rowan saying the scammers demand the victims purchase pre-paid gift cards to pay the fine
or bail amount. Rowan saying a local victim recently lost $3,000 in a similar scam, adding
there are two major issues with this scam: the gift cards and the phone call itself.
"We do not call people and let them know there's a warrant for their arrest," he
said. "We usually show up and take them into custody."
Rowan also saying there is no legitimate reason to have to go purchase gift cards for an
immediate payment and thats a good sign the call is a scam. He says hang up and call
the organization directly, whether its law enforcement or the IRS. If you have been a
victim of a scam, report it to local law enforcement.
She Also Served is this weekend March 22, 2018
This weekend, a reminder she also served. The Boardman-based event is a two-day Eastern
Oregon celebration of women veterans.
"When people think of veterans or those who served, they too often do not think of
women veterans," Oregon Women Veterans Coordinator Elizabeth Estabrooks said.
"One of my tasks is to really help people shift that thinking so when they think
veteran, they don't just think men, but they add women on there as well."
part of the goal of She Also Served is to remind people about women veterans as well as to
celebrate their service. The event begins at noon tomorrow at the SAGE with the opening of
the I Am Not Invisible gallery, a display of photos and the back story of 22
Oregon women veterans.
"It's a beautiful, touching, powerful exhibit," she said.
I Am not Invisible will be on display through 5 in the afternoon on Saturday.
Also during the event, a reception featuring a guest speaker and buffet dinner begins at
4:30 tomorrow evening. That is free and open to the public, but RSVP is required. On
Saturday, She Also Served continues with a screening of the documentary,
Lioness at 11. For more information, call Morrow County Veterans Services at
922-6420 or visit the website visitsage.com.
Candidate forum scheduled March 22, 2018
A candidate forum scheduled in Hermiston. The Hermiston Chamber inviting all who have
filed for positions on the Hermiston City Council and Umatilla County Commissioners to
participate in the forum on Wednesday, April 11. The first half those running for
Hermiston City Council beginning at 6 in the evening , followed by the county
commissioner position at 7:30. For more information call the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce
Wyden announces town halls March 22, 2018
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden announcing town hall visits in Umatilla and Boardman in early April.
Wydens annual Umatilla County Town Hall will be at Umatilla High School on April 3.
That starts at 9:30. Wyden will appear in La Grande for his Union County Town Hall that
afternoon and will be back on this side of the blues at 9:15 on April 4, when hell
host a town hall at Riverside Junior/Senior High School for the Morrow County Town Hall.
Wyden has held town halls in all 36 counties in Oregon every year since he was elected
senator in 1996.
Find more information on the town halls and their locations by clicking here.
Stanfield man dies in motorcycle-semi crash March 21, 2018
A Stanfield man dying yesterday in a crash on the Stanfield/Echo interchange at Interstate
84. Oregon State Police saying 40-year-old Jason Blankenship, of Stanfield, was riding a
motorcycle southbound over the overpass and collided with a commercial truck just after 2
in the afternoon yesterday. Blankenship was declared deceased at the scene. The driver of
the commercial vehicle, Roberto Rodriguez Dias, was not injured. The overpass and
eastbound on/off ramps closed for more than three hours yesterday. OSP is continuing the
Morrow County schools looks to add behavioral classroom March 21, 2018
The Morrow County School District working on piloting a program to focus on behavior
issues in elementary classrooms. Morrow County Superintendent Dirk Dirkson says
theyre Focusing on ways to help students in K-5 and focusing as early as possible.
"We're looking at kids, specifically in K-1, that really act out," he said.
"We are trying to really get a behavior classroom established so we can give them the
skills with t he mental health support they need, and their education. A safer environment
for them and for others."
With the focus on school safety and mental health, Dirkson says theyre working to
give young students support and strategies for dealing with difficult times before the
issues escalate when students become teenagers.
Dirkson says it seems like there is an increase in the number of young students having
behavioral issues in class, but theres also more attention to the issue.
HPD still receiving scam reports March 20, 2018
The Hermiston Police Department warning again about scam, particularly IRS related scams
at this time of year. HPD continuing to receive reports of scammers calling local
residents, pretending to the be from the IRS and saying if the victim does not immediately
pay money to the fake IRS agent, they could be arrested or fact other charges. The IRS
will not make first contact over the phone they prefer first contact by mail
and will never demand immediate payment.
HPD recommends to learn more about how to protect yourself and people you care about from
scams, review these resources: AARP Fraud Watch
Network: Oregon DOJ
Scam Alert Network
Clean-ups scheduled in April March 20, 2018
The City of Boardman sponsoring a community-wide clean-up during the month of April.
Its designed to have boardman residents clean up and dispose of yard debris and
hazardous materials. The City has garbage vouchers available, with a fifty dollar limit,
to residents of the City of Boardman. The vouchers
are valid during the month of April at Finley Butte Landfill and the North Morrow Transfer
In conjunction with the month-long clean up, Morrow County North Transfer Station will be
hosting a free Household Hazardous Waste Event on Saturday April 7, 2018 from 9 a.m. - 12
p.m. for all Morrow County residents. They will be collecting all paints, batteries, oils
and filters, household cleaners, glues and much more. Garbage vouchers are not required
for disposal of these items.
City residents may pick up their vouchers at Boardman City Hall at For more information on
this program, call Boardman City Hall at 481-9252.
Hermiston offering three clean sweep events. The first, a clean up week with Sanitary
Disposal from April 1-7, a recycling event on April 14 free disposal of hazardous
materials then a community clean up in partnership with I Love My City on April 21.
You can find out more on any of those activities by contacting Hermiston Parks and
Sheriff's Office plans patrols for St. Patty's Day March 16, 2018
A DUII and high visibility event bringing enhanced patrols this weekend for law
enforcement with the St. Patrick's Day Holiday and related celebrations. Umatilla County
Sheriff Terry Rowan says there's been a decline in the number of fatality accidents- both
in Umatilla County and statewide.
"I think that can be contributed to enhanced patrols out there some of those efforts
in getting out there and taking care of those that choose to overindulge with alcohol
and/or with drugs and get behind the wheel," Rowan said.
The grant-funded high visibility events put additional patrol vehicles on the roadways to
watch for distracted and under-the-influence drivers. The most recent patrol, over the
Super Bowl weekend netted two DUII arrests, five citations and seven warnings for traffic
Students walk out against gun violence March 15, 2018
More than 300 students at Hermiston High School participating in a walk out this morning,
part of a nationwide effort to both recognize those who died in the Stoneman Douglas
school shooting last month and to support policy changes to protect against gun violence.
Students chanting, "Save our children, not our guns," "Policy and
Change," and other statements against gun violence, focusing on change and
"Children are the future. This should be a change. There shouldn't be gun
violence," Senior Damaris Madero Carrillo said, her voice strained after chanting.
"A small community is a much bigger voice when we're all together to make a stand, to
make a difference."
Sophomore Paul said prevention measures can include more strict background checks,
limiting violence in media, and increase mental health.
"There isn't enough treatment for mental health issues," he said. "It's
spiraling out of control and there are ways to fix it."
In addition to the walk-out, students also having the opportunity to fill out post cards
today to send to local, state, or national elected officials, and theyre continuing
to support the schools We Care program, as well as encouraging students
to walk up and help prevent student isolation.
Principal Tom Spoo said students behaved well.
"I felt the kids did extremely well," Spoo said. "They were organized, they
were peaceful. They left class at 10, and at 10:17, they went back to class."
Students also participating in the national walk out in other local school districts. In
Umatilla, students had class discussions on school safety plans, reporting options and
opportunities to reach out to others to keep schools safe, and the Stanfield Secondary
School student government hosted an assembly, inviting representatives from Lifeways to
speak about mental health and school resource officer to speak about reporting options.
HPD detains student March 14, 2018
Hermiston police detaining an Armand Larive Middle School student for making a threat he
was going to shoot somebody in the head. That threat made on school grounds
during school hours. HPD saying the investigation revealing the statement made for
attention rather than as an active threat, but the student was lodged by the Umatilla
County Juvenile Department and charged with first-degree disorderly conduct. HPD saying
they take these kinds of statements seriously and are holding students accountable.
Stanfield names principal March 14, 2018
Stanfield School District has hired Steve Sheller as new principal for Stanfield Secondary
School. Hes a science teacher, coach, and yearbook advisor and would take over the
role with on July 1 with the 2018-9 school year.
The Stanfield School Board meeting tonight at 6 in the district conference room. Also on
the agenda, the licensed staff list for the next school year, an enrollment report, and
appointments to the budget committee.
Heppner ready to go green March 14, 2018
Tomorrow night, the 36th annual Wee Bit OIreland festival kicks off in Heppner with
the play, Searching for Meaning at the Parish Hall, launching a full weekend
of events. On Friday, theyll open vendor square, the arts & crafts show, and the
friends of the library book sale. The Morrow County Heritage and Agricultural museums will
be open, and theyll have both an Irish Dinner and a new event, Murrays Irish
Beer and Wine Fest.
Theyre also bringing back a couple new events on Saturday: Bed Races and the
O'Planky race. Heppner Chamber Director Sheryll Bates says the 5K run will return, the
welly toss, and childrens activities, and a 1, the Great Green Parade, followed by
the bouncin leprechauns fun zone at the elementary school and other Irish
entertainment in downtown. The sheepdog trials run on Saturday and Sunday.
You can find the full schedule of events on the website for the Heppner Chamber
HPD to respond to fire alarms March 12, 2018
A policy change for the Hermiston Police Department. Effective today, officers will
respond to all fire alarm activations at public and private schools within Hermiston.
Police Chief Jason Edmiston says the policy change comes from discussions with area
schools and an awareness that fire alarm activations have been used in some school
shootings as a way to draw people out of rooms and into open areas.
"Our intent is 100 percent about the safety of our students and staff," Edmiston
said. "Piece by piece we're making changes, again, to focus on the safety of the
Edmiston says this is in conjunction with the civilian response to active shooter training
the department has offered over the past two years. Officers training more than 2,000
people over that time. The police chief saying when officers arrive at a school, they will
equip safety equipment, including ballistic helmets and body plating.
"This is not about scaring anybody or an inappropriate show of force," he said.
"This is about making sure our officers are equipped with tools to keep them as safe
Edmiston saying the department is releasing this information in advance so the public
knows it may appear there is an active situation at a school when it could be a simple
fire alarm pull. The chief saying any students caught pulling alarms without cause could
be charged with disorderly conduct and held accountable
Council talks water, School Board recognizes classified March 12, 2018
H2O on the agenda for the Hermiston City Council tonight. The council considering
financing a water tower, water storage and distribution financing. The water storage tank
and distribution system would be in the northeastern area of town. The preliminary
estimates for the project coming in about $4.5 million, and a report suggesting the city
and Umatilla county planning to pay portions of that with the enterprise zone tax
abatement agreement from the Lamb Weston expansion.
During the meeting, theyll also create an EOTEC advisory committee and discuss the
council goal setting report. Before the council meeting, the group having a special work
session to tour the Harkenrider senior center an Carnegie building department. Find the
full agenda here.
For the Hermiston School Board, theyll recognize the classified employees of the
year, talk enrollment and discuss financial planning parameters. Those board decisions
help drive the districts budget. The board will also have a closed-door, executive
session tonight. Follow this
link to view the full agenda.
'Meet and Greet' for principal finalists March 12, 2018
Hermiston School District will host a meet and greet event with finalists for
the Desert View Elementary principal position tomorrow. That runs from 4:45 to 5:30
tomorrow in the library at Desert View. Two of the four finalists Bruce Neil and
Daniel Greenough will be present. The other two, Mona Berry and
Paul Grimaud , will be unable to make it. The meet and greet session is scheduled for
Berry is a director of curriculum and instruction with Global Education Excellence in
Michigan; Greenough is the current principal of Pendleton High School and Hawthorn
Alternative School in Pendleton; Grimaud is the vice principal for American Creativity
Academy in Kuwait, and Bruce Neil has severed as head of Ferndale Elementary School for
five years, prior to that, he was the superintendent an elementary principal in the Cove
School District for five years.
The meet and green open to staff and community.
Umatilla Robotics Team wins Chairman's Award in local contest March 9, 2018
Did you miss today's Odds & Ends program talking about Team Confidential's Chairman's
Award Team and singer/songwriter Jackie Lynn? Listen to the full
interview here, and see the Umatilla Chairman's Video below:
Suspect still at large after manhunt March 8, 2018
36-year-old Naythan Olney again avoiding arrest yesterday after a manhunt across the west
end of the county. Olney wanted for a hit-and-run that injured a Hermiston Police Officer
in February. After a reported sighting of Olney in Hermiston, a Umatilla County
Sheriffs Office deputy responding and saw a 2017 Chevy Pickup leave the home a high
speeds the pickup had been reported stolen out of morrow County. The deputy
followed the pickup until it drove off the road and across an open field then onto Bridge
Road heading west. Umatilla Police picked up the pursuit, tracking the pickup as it drove
on and off road heading toward the interstate. The suspect then abandoned the vehicle near
I-82 milepost 2 and headed toward the river. A grid search on foot commenced with law
enforcement from multiple agencies, but they were unable to locate Olney.
The stolen vehicle was recovered and is being processed. A release from Umatilla County
Sheriffs Office saying Olney has been known to carry a handgun, and if anyone has
information or sights him, they are asked to call 911 immediately and not approach.
Schools look at prevention March 8, 2018
The manhunt searching for Naythan Olney causing a lock out at Umatilla High School and
Clara Brownell Middle School. The district saying the schools were put on lockout
where school continues as normal but no one is allowed in or out of the buildings
while police conducted a search in the area. The school lifting the lock out once the area
near the school had been fully searched.
The Umatilla incident following an incident on Friday where a Pendleton student was taking
into custody after making threats about shooting schools. A mental evaluation determining
that the teen was a threat to himself or others and putting a mental health hold on him.
Last week there was also a rumor of a potential threat to Hermiston High School where
Hermiston police investigated and determined the threat unsubstantiated. Intermountain ESD
Superintendent Mark Mulvihill says the way schools and law enforcement are responding are
an example of the preventative measures school districts have adopted over the years.
"We often talk a lot about after the fact and our response, but every single day we
have kids in crisis, families in crisis," Mulvihill says. "Between local law
enforcement and schools, we've really improved our ability to prevent these kinds of
Mulvihill saying the Umatilla School District, for example, handling the situation quickly
and efficiently, both with action at the school and notification to the public. He says
these kinds of events are emotion, but the public should trust that schools and law
enforcement do have policies in place.
Multiple local school districts - including Umatilla and Echo - beginning construction
projects to redesign schools for safety. and in order to lock down perimeters of schools,
as in the situation in Umatilla. As part of its statement yesterday, the Umatilla School
District saying they will always take the most cautious option when children are involved.
Contested election races March 7, 2018
The filing deadline closing yesterday for the May 15 election.
On the Hermiston City Council, incumbents Lori Davis, Doug Smith, and Jackie Myers filing
Mark Gomolski and Jackie Linton filing to run against Davis. Myers will face off against
Kyran Miller. Michael Engelbrecht running against Doug Smith, and Shean Fitzgerald is
running against Roy Barron. Both are neewcomers.
At the county level, both commissioner positions will be contested races. Tom Bailor and
Rick Pullen filing to run against George Murdock for county commissioner. Murdock is
running for re-election as is fellow commissioner Larry Givens. Athena mayor John Shafer
is running against Givens.
Chamber receives $1 million for new building March 6, 2018
Good news for the Greater Hermiston Chamber of Commerce: $1 million in funding from the
state to build a new chamber facility. Chamber director Debbie Pedro says the chamber
board will meet this week to determine the priorities and goals in regards to the funding.
"We're very thankful," Pedro said. "Just very, very thankful."
The chamber formerly housed at the Hermiston Community Center but moving in January into
the Cornerstone Plaza after the city took over operations of the community center. Pedro
says the chamber does not own property and just found out about the grant on Friday.
Boardman FFA receiving $2,500 March 6, 2018
Good news also coming from Riverside Jr/Sr High School. The schools FFA receiving a
$2,500 grant through the Americas Farmers Grow Communities program, sponsored by the
Monsanto Fund. Riverside FFA will use the funds to attend the Oregon State FFA Convention
as well as upcoming FFA competitions. The Grow Communities program provides farmers the
opportunity to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit of their choice. The group thanking
Morrow County farmer Joe Taylor for directing the funds to the FFA program.
In other Boardman news, the Boardman city council meeting tonight. On the agenda,
the city manager review and a resolution for SDC Waivers.
Umatilla to take over Lind Road March 6, 2018
The City of Umatilla also meeting tonight, and theyll be taking over a portion of
Lind Road. Its a county road right now, but city manager Russ Pelleberg says he
expects the city to take over the bulk of that road tonight, making it a city street.
That one is ordinance number 8-22 for the city. Theyll also vote on resolutions
signing agreements with Kuhn Law offices, for general city attorney services, with CIS for
actuarial services and with the Department of the Army for an easement for pipeline
Both those meetings begin at 7 and both will be at their respective city hall
20 vehicle crash closes 84 March 5, 2018
Twenty vehicles involved in a collision that closed Interstate 84 for 12 hours from
Saturday to Sunday. Oregon State Police troopers responding to a report of a multi-vehicle
collision between Pendleton and La Grande at about 6:20 Saturday. The crash involved seven
commercial motor vehicles and 13 passenger vehicles involved. Investigators estimate that
nine occupants of the collisions were transported to area hospitals for treatment and five
of those were in serious condition. Because of the complexity of the investigation, no
names will be released at this time.
OSP releasing this image from the scene of a 20-vehicle wreck on I-84.
The preliminary investigation revealed speed and black ice were contributing factors
creating a domino effect resulting in the multiple vehicle collisions. Injured persons
were transported by Life Flight and ambulance to St. Anthony's Hospital in Pendleton and
Kadlec Regional Medical Center, in Richland, WA.
ODOT closed Interstate 84 westbound lanes until it was reopened at 8:00 a.m., on March 4,
2018. This is an on-going and extensive investigation. More information will be released
Umatilla Robotics wins award March 5, 2018
Also over the weekend, the Umatilla Robotics taking the Chairmans Award again
in the FIRST Robotics Competition. This time at the Clackamas Academy of Industrial
Sciences. The Chairmans Award is the most prestigious award at FIRST, it honors the
team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose
and goals of FIRST. Its the fifth time Umatilla has received the award in
every year since 2014.
It was created to keep the central focus of FIRST Robotics Competition on the ultimate
goal of transforming the culture in ways that will inspire greater levels of respect and
honor for science and technology, as well as encouraging more of todays youth to
become scientists, engineers, and technologists.
HPD, HSD say shooting threat not credible March 2, 2018
Hermiston Police clarifying last night no credible threat made to attack local schools
A rumor circulating through high school students and parents yesterday that a threat had
been made to Hermiston High School today, but HPD saying they investigated and found no
credible threat. The release from HPD saying there were rumors of a threat based on a
misinterpreted joke between students. The student and family cooperating fully with the
investigation and allowing law enforcement to search their property.
Bi-Mart changes gun rules March 2, 2018
On the subject of threat to schools, with school shooting and gun sales debate nationwide,
Bi-Mart announcing yesterday a change in policy: Theyre upping the age limit to
purchase a firearm to 21. A release from the company saying their goal is to support
responsible firearm use and make a positive contribution to the local, regional and
national discussion of this issue. Bi-Mart carries products supporting shooting sports and
hunting community, but does not sell assault type weapons. The release stressing Bi-Mart
has never stocked or sold AK or AR platform rifles or bump-stocks and we do not stock high
capacity magazines for these firearms. Bi-Mart officials saying they will continue to make
choices based on what is best for members and the communities they serve.
Made to Thrive opens garage sale this weekend March 2, 2018
Shifting focus now, today is the fifth annual Made to Thrive Garage Sale. Nonprofit
founder Kriss Dammeyer says all funds raised in the sale will go to Made to Thrive, to
help pay for participation fees for kids to join sports, music, dance, swim passes, summer
The Garage Sale a primary fundraiser to bring in that money. Its at the Hermiston
Community Center, and the sale running from 3 to 7 this afternoon and from 8 to 2
If you have free time this morning, they are also looking for volunteers to help organize
the donated items this morning during the donation period. Donations being accepted at the
Hermiston Community Center from 8 to 3.
Police Chief reflects on crime rates March 1, 2018
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says while crime is up 9 percent over 2016, it
still down 20 percent over the 10 year window, despite seeing 12 to 15 percent growth in
population over that time. As we mentioned yesterday, the one area he is taking a close
look at is aggravated assault, which he says is on an upward trend.
"We're only talking 36 incidents, but one incident is one incident too many," he
In 2017, Edmiston says the suspects in aggravated assault cases ranged from 17 to 48 years
old, the victims ranged from 6 years old to 64. 90 percent of the suspects were male. He
says there is a small silver lining, however.
"According to the latest FBI statistics, aggravated assaults across the nation are
cleared with an arrest on average 54 percent of the time," Edmiston said. "Last
year, we cleared 86 percent, so I'd like to think we're doing a good job, but there's
still more to be done."
The annual report from HPD analyzes crime trends in the Part 1 crimes that are reported to
the FBI each year. Those include four personal crimes, included aggravated assault and
murder, as well as four property crimes, including burglary. Cases of rape saw a decrease
while the city had increases in larceny and auto theft.
UCFD#1 responds to fire at Stanfield IdaPro plant Feb. 27, 2018
Another fire at the IdaPro 3D Dehydration Plant in Stanfield yesterday. Umatilla County
Fire District 1 saying the call came in around 11:30 yesterday with a fire in the bagging
house the same location as previous fires. Firefighters arriving found fire and
smoke from the bagging house, deploying hose lines and attacking the fire. Firefighters on
scene for just under three hours.
The plan dehydrates vegetable matter, primarily potatoes, for use in dog food. It was
after another fire in the bagging house last February that Stanfield
residents began complaining about odors from the plant. The company installed new
scrubbers, but complaints about the smell have continued.
Umatilla County Fire District one saying they responded to multiple EMS calls while the
fire was going on, and that its an example of the extra staffing making a
HPD officer injured at traffic stop Feb. 27, 2018
A Hermiston Police officer injured Saturday during an attempted arrest. One of the two
suspects has been arrested 0 the other is still at large.
A release from HPD saying an officer attempted stopped a Toyota Camry for a traffic
violation near third and Gladys at about 3 a.m. on Saturday. The officer, believing the
vehicle had been stolen, called for backup. The officers were attempting to detain
36-year-old Nathan Olney, of Hermiston, and 30-year-old Lucia Madrigal, of Boardman, when
the vehicle sped away. One of the officers being dragged 30 yards before being thrown
free. He was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center, treated and released after receiving
more than 15 stitches and having glass removed from his skin.
Officers found the vehicle abandoned a short while later. Inside the vehicle, tools and
electronics from a burglary outside of Hermiston. Saturday afternoon, the Morrow County
Sheriffs Office took Lucia Madrigal into custody. Shes been charged with
unauthorized use of a vehicle and first-degree criminal mischief. Officers continue to
search for Nathan Olney, and HPD says they believe he is armed. Anyone with information
asked to call 911 or 567-5519.
County, Sheriff talk funding Feb. 27, 2018
A new budget for Umatilla County, and County Commissioner Bill Elfering says this year is
drastically different from last year.
"This time a year ago, we had about $3 million of gap and we had to find a way to
close that gap," Elfering said. "At this point, the budget is together, and it's
The Umatilla County Sheriffs Office is one of the departments completing its budget
early for the county. Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says in addition to his county
budget, hes also asking the state for $1 million for modifications to the county
jail to help address inmates who need to detox from drugs or alcohol or who need to
meet with mental health professionals.
"We're trying to create a safe environment to allow the mental health professionals
come in and do their pieces," Rowan said. "Creating additional space in the jail
isn't really an appropriate answer to that, but our hand has been forced because some of
the other mental health components haven't worked correctly."
Rowan says the number of beds for people in crisis, whether drug or mental health related,
have been diminishing across the state for the past two decades, from 50,000 bed down to
He says the county is continuing stakeholder discussions with groups in Umatilla County
including law enforcement, health professionals, and mental health providers.
Rowan says the project early estimate is about $800,000, but he has requested $1 million
to help with any unexpected expenses as well as the need to potentially update the camera
system and control panel.
County names review group Feb. 23, 2018
Umatilla County has a charter review board. The charter is supposed to be reviewed every 5
years, although this review is 10 years since the previous. The committee has nine people
five of which come from the west end of the county. County Commissioner Bill
Elfering says the members applied and were appointed this week to the board.
The County Commissioners this week appointing 9 county residents to the board. They are
Sally Anderson Hansell of Hermiston, Jerry Baker of Athena, Genna Banica of Pendleton,
Daniel Dorran of Hermiston, Mark Gomolski of Hermiston, Michele Grable of Pendleton,
Jennifer McClure Spurgeon of Weston, Donald Miller of Milton-Freewater, and Kim Puzey of
Elfering says the group will review operations at the county, including the role of the
county commissioners. Any recommendations that require changes to the way the county is
governed will go to voters.
Hermiston DMV office moving Feb. 23, 2018
The Hermiston DMV office will be closed Wednesday, March 7, through Friday, March 9 , so
it can move to a larger location
The new office, which will be located at 810 South Highway 395, the former umpqua bank
location near Safeway. The new facility to offer more lobby space and additional parking.
Office hours will remain the same: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday except
Wednesdays, when the office opens at 9 a.m. The office will close at 5 p.m.Tuesday, March
6, and reopen at 8 a.m. Monday, March 12.
The Hermiston DMV opened in its current location in 1981 with four counters to serve
customers and added a fifth counter in 1999. Over the following two decades, the
areas customer needs outgrew the offices lobby and parking lot capacity.
Any time you need to visit a DMV office, first check www.OregonDMV.com to find office
hours and locations, and to make sure you have everything you need before your visit. You
also can do some DMV business from home at OregonDMV.com. You can renew your vehicle
registration, file a change of address or file notice of the sale of your vehicle online
without getting in line at an office.
Bounds, Finley named man, woman of the year Feb. 22, 2018
Hermistons Distinguished Citizen Awards Banquet last night.
At the end of the evening, Roger Bounds named the newest Hermiston Man of the Year.
Roger Bounds named the 2018 Hermiston Man of the Year.
Bounds saying someone must have made a mistake in giving him the award before adding he
was shocked and honored.
The woman of the year was Chris Finley, longtime resident and volunteer.
"I'm not normally speechless, but I really am," she said with a laugh.
Dorothy Smith presents Chris Finley with the Woman of the Year award during the
Hermiston DCA Banquet on Wednesday.
The Bob Severson Rotary Business of the year went to Mike and Jonette Atkinson of Atkinson
Staffing, and a new award this year the nobel laureate saw its inaugural
presentation go to Greg Smith.
Two Awards of Merit also given out last night one to the staff of the
Walmart Distribution Center and one to Alice Newman
"My family did lie very well to get me here," a shocked Newman said. "My
husband was like, 'I have to go for the fair, so will you come up on stage with me?' I
said, 'No. I stay in the background.' I do the things I do because I like to be in the
background and help people. I don't like to talk."
Two Hermiston High School students honored with the Altrusa Outstanding Young Citizens
Awards Gabriella Aceves-Galindo and Kyle Ketchersid. The Fire Service Award
presented to Eldon Marcum.
During the event, the educators of the year for the Hermiston School District also
honored. The distinguished citizen awards presented by the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce.
Officials saying theyre already taking nominations for next years event.
Walden joins Opioid roundtable
Feb. 22, 2018
Congressman Greg Walden presenting one of the awards at last nights DCA. While in
Hermiston, he also participated in a roundtable discussion on opioids at Good Shepherd
"Part of what I learned is we probably need more incentives to get more physicians
trained up to provide the drug addiction treatment suboxone," Walden said.
Walden says the roundtable also highlighted the need to make grants competitive for rural
areas and small communities.
Walden saying at the federal level they are also cracking down on distributors of opioids
and working on developing some sort of take back program to get unused opioids out of
Get hunter education certified now Classes coming up in Umatilla County
Hunter education classes offered in Umatilla County
Feb. 22, 2018
The class is required for anyone under age 17 and under to hunt in Oregon, and
encouraged for adults, too.
The following classes are coming up in Umatilla County:
? Umatilla Tribal Police Dept, Pendleton, March 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 from 6-8 p.m. and March
10 9 a.m.-noon
? Hermiston (Fox Harvesting Gravel and VFW Hall), March 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 7- 9 p.m.
and March 17 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.,
? Moro, March 29 and 30 from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and March 31 8 a.m.-noon
? Hermiston (Fox Harvesting Gravel and VFW Hall), April 3, 4, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24 from 7-9
p.m. and April 14 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Field days (for independent study students who have completed workbook or online course):
? Hermiston (Fox Harvesting Gravel), May 19, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
? Hermiston (Fox Harvesting Gravel), June 9, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
ODFW offers two types of hunter education classes: a traditional classroom experience held
over several days with most material covered in the classroom by certified volunteer
instructors, or an independent study option, which can be done from home via a workbook or
by taking one of the four online courses available. Adults can complete the entire course
online but independent study students age 17 and under also need to attend a field day to
receive their hunter education certificate.
To register, provide the youths Hunter/Angler ID# (which is printed on all ODFW
documents and stays the same from year to year) or select New Customer. You
can also sign up at any license sales agent. Registration for an independent study field
day or traditional class costs $10 and some of the online courses also charge an
additional fee (ranging from $13-29 but a free online course is available).
Hunter education classes cover important issues including firearms safety and handling;
hunter ethics and respect for private landowners; wildlife management and identification;
hunt preparation and techniques; survival; and introductory bowhunting.
Hazmat cleans up spill on 395 Jan. 20, 2018
Hazmat cleanup redirecting traffic on Highway 395 yesterday afternoon after a crash
between a chevy pickup and a semi truck spilled diesel onto the highway.
Law enforcement redirect traffic during clean up of a diesel spill Monday
Hermiston Police saying the crash happened at about 2 in the afternoon when a Chevy pickup
traveling northbound on Highway 395 near the water tower drifted into the southbound lanes
and struck a Peterbilt tractor trailer, rupturing the drivers side fuel tank of the
semi and spilling a large amount of diesel. Umatilla County Fire District 1 Hazardous
materials personnel arrived on scene for containment. The driver of the semi was
uninjured, and the driver of the pickup 68-year-old James Zimmerman, of Hermiston
was taken by ambulance to Good Shepherd Medical Center with minor injuries. HPD
saying there were no signs of impairment from any of the parties involved. The cleanup
taking about two hours yesterday afternoon.
Stanfield Council meets tonight Jan. 20, 2018
Stanfield Council meets tonight at 7 in the council chambers at 10 W. Coe Avenue. On the
agenda, adoption of the water system master plan, a resolution bringing a student
representative to the city council and a decision changing how often the council meets.
Currently, the city council meets the first Tuesday of every month with an optional third
Tuesday meeting if needed. If approved, the new schedule would make the third Tuesday
meeting a regular meeting, so the council would meet twice a month, every month.
Power outage hits Hermiston Jan. 19, 2018
More than 12-thousand homes and businesses lost power on Saturday after a wind gusts of up
to 50 miles per hour blew a tree into a transmission line northeast of Hermiston just
after 3 in the afternoon on Saturday. Umatilla Electric Cooperative saying the outage
affecting eight substations in the Hermiston, Stanfield, and Umatilla areas. The first
substation at Juniper Canyon - was back on line at 5:38 p.m., followed by the
Feedville Substation 10 minutes later. Most of the power was restored by 6:30 p.m.
HHS launches "We Care" campaign Jan. 19, 2018
We Care. You are loved. You are not alone. Those are three of the signs up at Hermiston
High School this month as the school moves forward with its "We Care Project," a
movement that began with students and is now reaching out to the community.
Student government advisor Dave Rohrman says the program began with the 37 students in ASB
leadership. Facing student losses over the past year, students started a discussion of
what they could do. to make a difference, especially for people feeling isolated, like
they have no where to turn or no options.
Posters have been put up in the high school, and theyre now turning a focus to a
community campaign as well. Rohrman says the next step is to bring yard signs into the
community and in other schools. They'll continue the random acts of kindness throughout
the spring and see where the program goes.
District officials saying the We Care program began before the school shooting last week
in Florida. but that has underscored the need to provide statements of support for fellow
students and the greater community because a simple step can change someone's day, make a
connection, and make a difference. You can contact Hermiston high school for more
Food for Fines at local libraries Jan. 19, 2018
A program starts today at libraries in Eastern Oregon. Its food for fines where you
trade in food donations for those library late fees. Hermiston Librarian Mark Rose says
the food will go to Agape House. Every library in Umatilla County is participating, so if
you owe fines to the Stanfield library or Umatilla or even Pendleton or Milton-Freewater,
you can take in nonperishable foods and have those fines forgiven.
County still looking for charter committee members Feb. 16, 2018
Umatilla County looking for volunteers to help revise the countys charter. Although
some volunteers have stepped up and applied for the committee, commissioner Larry Givens
says theyre still looking for a few more members.
"We'd like to have 7 to 9 people on that committee, but we're having kind of a slow
time getting folks to do that," he said.
The county charter establishes the three-member board of commissioners and grants powers
to the board to make decisions for the county.
[This is a process of putting together information and data and comparing what this county
- Umatilla County - does compared to other counties," said Givens.
The committee will also make recommendations based on that information. Anyone interested
can contact county counsel Doug Olson for more information and an application.
Commissioners had hoped to select committee members before March 1m, but Givens says that
may be pushed back to March 15. Find the application here.
HSD speaking about school shootings Feb. 16, 2018
Hermiston School District releasing advise for how to talk with students about gun
violence after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida this week.
The district releasing saying students may want to know what adults are doing to keep them
safe at school, in their community, and at home. District officials encourage families to
have conversations, creating a safe place for children to share
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) recommends the following
Reassure children that they are safe.
Make time to talk.
Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
Review safety procedures.
Observe childrens emotional state.
Limit television viewing of these events.
Maintain a normal routine.
Parents, staff, students and community members are also encouraged to report any safety
using SafeOregon, an anonymous tip line operated in cooperation with Oregon State Police.
Information can be shared by calling or texting 844-472-3367, e-mailing
email@example.com, or via the website safeoregon.com.
Outdoor School planning, changes Feb. 12, 2018
While the county looks at its state, schools across Umatilla and Morrow counties turning
attention toward outdoor school, an experience where fifth or sixth graders
depending on the district take the classroom outside for an overnight experience.
Intermountain ESD Superintendent Mark Mulvihill says theyre amping up the program
this year. The ESD leases Buck Creek site in the blue mountains and offers free use to the
districts. Mulvihill says nine districts plan to use the site this year, and with funding
from measure 99, theyve now theyve hired a part-time coordinator Bob
McMillian to help coordinate.
Mulvihill says outdoor school sessions will primarily run from April through June with
some even in September. Some districts are now in their third generation offering the
program while others will mark the first year for the program this year thanks to the
state funding from measure 99.
Spokane man dies in rollover Feb. 12, 2018
On Friday, a crash killing a Spokane man in a commercial motor vehicle rollover crash on
the I 82 onramp from I 84 westbound at milepost 180.
According to a press release from the Oregon State Police, a 2004 Freightliner, towing an
unloaded flatbed trailer, failed to negotiate the curve on the onramp to I 82, left the
roadway on the west shoulder and rolled several times in the median. The operator, a 50
year old male from Spokane Washington was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced deceased
at the scene by medical personnel.
Troopers from the Pendleton Area Command are conducting the investigation into the cause
of the crash with the assistance of a collision reconstructionist.
The roadway was partially closed for approximately 5 hours to allow for scene
investigation and vehicle recovery.
The Oregon State Police was assisted at the scene by the Oregon Department of
Transportation and Umatilla County Fire District 1.
Good Shepherd wins service awards Feb. 12, 2018
Good Shepherd Health Care System last week announcing employees receiving awards at the
Health Care Service Excellence Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
For the awards, Employees nominate their coworkers. Those recommendations are pooled with
other nominees, then a selection committee pick four winners in each category.
Hospital spokesman Nick Bejarano says four Good Shepherd employees received awards.
Amber Davis recognized as an exceptional nurse, Lucas Bradshaw as an empowering manager,
Devin Goldman as Customer Experience and Quality Coordinator Program Director and Good
Shepherd CEO Dennis Burke honored as an inspiring administrator.
Bejarano says in addition, the hospital received 39 awards for improvements in customer
experience and customer satisfaction. That information is tracked through through a survey
patients receive after being discharged from the hospital.
"We were blown away by the improvement from 2016 to 2017," Bejarano said.
The hospital's improvement awards are based on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey
that hospitals participate in to evaluate their quality of care and customer satisfaction
against their peers.
Givens reflects on state of the county Feb. 9, 2018
It may feel like spring outside, but its still the month of February. This week,
Oregon Governor Kate Brown spoke about the state of the state, and now, Umatilla County
Commissioner Larry Givens talking about the state of the county.
[givens good start]
Givens saying the county is in good fiscal shape, so they will not need to make program or
staffing cuts. They will also start management training for county employees and continue
working with the transfer of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center to the city of
Hermiston as well as dealing with more delays in the transfer of the Umatilla
[givens county good]
Givens says the budget process will last until the end of the fiscal year. Theyre
also still waiting for funding from the state thats been allocated for
road projects around EOTEC.
Rhoades sentenced to 34 months Feb. 9, 2018
A Hermiston man sentenced to 34 months after pleading guilty to first-degree theft,
fleeing/attempting to elude a police officer, unlawful commercial manufacturing of
marijuana extract, unlawful commercial delivery of marijuana and two counts of endangering
the welfare of a minor.
27-year-old William Richard Rhoades arrested in December after a police chase ended with a
car crashed into a house after hitting an electrical supply box. The driver had already
fled the scene, but identification in the vehicle led police to Rhoades, who had more than
75 pounds of marijuana in his apartment as well as handguns that had been reported stolen.
Boardman preps for pipe work Feb. 9, 2018
Digging will soon begin on upgrades to Boardmans water and sewer systems. New pipe
has been stacked along roadways in preparation for the project. Water and sewer upgrades
have been in the planning stages since 2014 and will include new water and sewer lines in
several areas throughout
Boardman. The upgrades to improve fire flow and reliability in the water systems. In
December the city awarded the contract to do the upgrades to Premier Excavation of
Pasco, Washington, who presented the apparent lowest bid of $2,266,119.10. The citys
engineers, Anderson Perry and Associates, has
worked with Premier in the past and is pleased to be working with them on this project.
The water and
sewer upgrades are expected to be completed in October of 2018.
Firefighters ready for stairclimb Feb. 8, 2018
Seven firefighters from Umatilla County Fire District one are taking extra time getting in
shape, praciticng stamina and endurance and fundraising for an annual event next month.
It's the Scotts Seattle Firefighter Stairclimb, and it's a grueling challenge to raise
funding for the leukemia and lymphoma research. The firefighters will put on full turn-out
gear, including air tanks and breathing apparatus and then climb 1,356 steps - 69 stories
- up a high rise building.
"It's a great experience," Team Member Destry Stewart says. "We're putting
on gear between 50 and 75 pounds, and when we're doing the climb, we're thinking of the
people we're doing the climb for."
Stewart says one of the best parts of the event is seeing the survivors and those battling
against cancer cheering them on. It's a sentiment echoed by fellow competitiotr Mike
Bozeman. For Bozeman, the first climb was a challenge and something he undertook because
it sounded fun.
"As firefighters, we like to be challenged," Bozeman said. "Once I did the
first climb and got to see what it's all about, I became more passionate about fundraising
for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society."
The team from Umatilla County Fire District 1 is now fundraising for the event. Their goal
is $25,000. You can find the link to their fundraising page on the facebook page for
Umatilla County Fire District 1. You can also head straight to the Leukemia and Lymphoma
Society - click
here for Umatilla County Fire District 1's team page - and search for the time
or any of the local firefighters to make a donation or find out more about the event.
Hermiston council sets goal-setting meeting Feb. 8, 2018
A special goal-setting meeting for the Hermiston City Council scheduled for Saturday. It
begins at 9 a.m. at the Hermiston Community Center, and the agenda shows discussion,
action plans, wrap up and next steps lasting all the way into the afternoon. Find the
agenda on the website for the city of Hermiston.
Intermountain ESD seeking nomination Feb. 8, 2018
The InterMountain ESD looking for nominations for the annual Crystal Apple
Excellence in Education awards. Those are now open through April 1. The
Crystal apple awards recognize employees in ESD component school districts in Morrow,
Umatilla, and Union counties, including teachers, principals, office staff. The awards
will take place in La Grande on May 7 and in Pendleton on May 14. You can find the
nomination form on the esd website or contact Michele Madril with any questions
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-966-3115.
Festival Street groundbreaking Feb. 6, 2018
On Monday afternoon, city officials gathered for the most recent ground breaking for
downtown Hermiston - this time in the middle of a street. Second street at the location of
the Festival Street in downtown.
Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann speaking during the ceremony and highlighting the vision to
create a festival street as a downtown gathering place and the planning so there will be
no taxpayer bonded debit in the project, and it's instead funded through reinvestments of
urban renewal funding. He also recognized city planner Clint Spencer, who said the project
was first proposed 10 years ago.
"This is really exciting for us, and we hope to have everyone adjust to the traffic
flow soon," Spencer said.
That traffic flow around the construction area proving a bit of a headache for travelers
through downtown as lines of cones separate traffic near the construction zone.
"We understand that sometimes progress is messy and it's inconvenient,"
Droztmann said. "We ask for the community's patience as we go through this project.
We believe the end result will be a beautiful new enhancement to downtown."
Visit the city's website for more on the design and timeline for the downtown festival
Boardman teacher arrested Feb. 6, 2018
A Boardman teacher arrested and charged with sexual abuse.
Robert Weems, a sixth-grade teacher at Windy River Elementary, placed on paid
administrative leave on Feb. 1. The 42-year-old arrested by The Dalles Police Department
on Feb. 2 - that was Friday. He is incarcerated at NorCor on two counts of second-degree
sexual abuse, one count of third-degree sex abuse and a charge of first-degree official
misconduct. His bail set at $3,000.
A press release from The Morrow County School District saying he school district was made
aware of a potential situation regarding Weems on the morning of
Thursday, February 1, and immediately placed him on leave. Weems was hired in June of last
year. The district is unable to provide any other information on personnel issues.
Truck strikes bridge, delays expected Feb. 6, 2018
Delays on Interstate 84 in Boardman after an over-height load struck the underside of the
overpass, potentially causing structural damage. Work expected to last 1 to 2 weeks, and
does impact both the overpass at exist 164 and the eastbound lane of the freeway.
One of the eastbound freeway lanes closed to accommodate bridge inspection and repair
work, and the bridge restricted to one lane as well. The bridge to be controlled by
flaggers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during repair work. Drivers crossing the freeway
should plan for delays and obey traffic control flaggers while it is limited to one lane
of travel. Travelers needing to cross the freeway near Boardman will need to use the Exit
165 overpass or other alternate routes.