by News Director Jennifer Colton
541.567.6500 or 541.289.NEWS or KOHUnews@gmail.com
Debbie Pedro leaving Chamber Dec. 12, 2018
Longtime Hermiston Chamber Director Debbie Pedro has resigned.
Pedro has been at the helm of the chamber since 2001, and a press release from the chamber
saying she is accepting another position in the area a release from Pedro to
chamber businesses saying there are other opportunities professional and personally that
she will be pursuing.
Pedros resignation is effective Dec. 21. Chamber Board Chairman Paul Keeler and
Communication Manager Kelly Schwirse will oversee operations until a new CEO is appointed.
Students bring in 18,000 items Dec. 11, 2018
More than 18,000 non perishable food items donated through local schools for Christmas
Express this year. Yesterday was collection day across the Hermiston School District.
Although Sandstone and Sunset are still finalizing their item totals, it appears Armand
Larive Middle School will take the title this year, as students brought in 5,907 food
items Rocky Heights bringing in the second-most items at 5,018. The food items will
be added to food baskets distributed next week during Christmas Express. Those are put
together by city employees as part of their holiday party.
Although it is technically too late for requests for food boxes, if you know a family or
individual in need, you can call Hermiston Police Department Chaplain Terry Cummings to
Anyone interested in volunteering and helping with distribution can contact Agape House to
sign up for a time spot.
UPDATE: With the totals from all schools, the final figure is 21,025
Altrusa organizing Warming Station drive Dec. 11, 2018
If you missed your chance to donate food for Christmas Express, theres another drive
going on right now through January. Altrusa International of Hermiston coordinating a
supply drive for the Hermiston Warming Station.
The requested items are:
Vinyl medical type gloves (staff)
Warm gloves (guests)
Disinfectant cleaning wipes
Swiffer type wet pads
Cleaning supplies (pinesol, bowl cleaners, paper towels, ect)
13 gallon garbage bags
Hot hands hand warmers
Coffee regular and decaf ( non keurig style, single serve if possible)
Mens crew socks
Collection Boxes at Shipping Solutions, Dance Unlimited, Old West Federal Credit Union,
Banner Bank downtown and the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce office.
The Warming Station is also open for donations, and you may also call 541.289.2150 to
arrange an appointment.
Audits, rate increases on agendas Dec. 10, 2018
The Hermiston City Council tonight again considering rate increases and policy updates for
Hermiston Energy Services. Its a proposed $2 per month increase to cover increasing
costs for wholesale power the city purchases. Tonight, the council expecting to hear more
information about financial operations at Hermiston Energy Services. That resolution
tabled last month but expected to go for a vote tonight. They'll have the work session
about HES at 6 p.m., then the vote during the regular meeting at 7 p.m.
During the regular meeting, the council will also hear the Fiscal Year 2018 Audit, certify
the November election results, consider purchasing or leasing a street sweeper and hear a
strategic planning update for the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center. That meeting
begins at 7 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. Find the agenda
The annual audit report and financial updates also on the agenda tonight for the Hermiston
School board of Education.
On the agenda, a change to correct a Deficiency in the recent audit report.
That deficiency that report that a supplemental budget was adopted without proper
publishing a corrective action plan expected to be approved tonight.
That meeting begins at 6;30 tonight at the District Offices. The agenda also includes an
enrollment report, recognition of the NSPA Middle School Scholastic Journalism Award
winners, and a declaration of surplus property. Click
here for the full agenda.
Absenteeism an issue in schools Dec. 6, 2018
As we approach the winter break for schools and holiday travel, a warning from local
educators to think carefully about taking your children out of school early as that may
contributes to chronic absenteeism.
"What's changed over the years is it's not the traditional, 'My kid has the flu' or
'My kid doesn't feel good,'" Mark Mulvihill, superintendent of the InterMountain ESD
said. "It's more, 'It's OK to miss school on Friday because we're going on this
trip.' 'It's OK because we ski.' 'It's OK because we elk hunt.' It's OK because it's the
only time I could get a haircut in Tri-Cities.' It's more and more it's OK to miss school.
It's not a big deal. That becomes a habit for kids."
Mulvihill, says that habit makes school not a priority, which follows the student through
school and into the work force. Chronic absenteeism means missing 10 percent of school
days and thats about two days a month, which could be from illness, travel,
even doctor appointments.
Mulvihill says Eastern Oregon has a lower chronic absenteeism than the rest of the state,
but many local districts still have a chronic absenteeism rate close to 20 percent
and thats a big deal when chronic absenteeism also directly correlates to graduation
"What we're trying to do is emphasize the importance of the statistics," he
said. "We're not going to move the dial on our grad rates until we move the dial on
our chronic absenteeism."
Local schools focusing on education of parents and families about the importance of
staying in school through programs like Every Day Matters. Educators asking parents to be
aware of the impact of missing a day or two of school a month and to try to work around
the school schedule.
Wildhorse announces cutbacks to project Dec. 5, 2018
The price of steel causing cutbacks in the fifth expansion at Wildhorse Resort and Casino.
The $85-million expansion announced in July, and now Wildhorse has announced new details
of a smaller project than originally envisioned, citing changes in the economy and trade,
especially drastic increases in the price of steel.
A press release from the company says a second hotel tower with 214 rooms will open by the
end of 2020. The project expands convention space and the family entertainment center
while adding a 24-lane bowling alley, a new restaurant, and a new poker room that can seat
up to 90 players.
The project will require the demolition of the original hotel on the property, built in
1996. The last day for guests to check out of the courtyard hotel is March 31 of 2019. The
Hot Rock Café will close at the same time.
Although Wildhorse announced those plans yesterday, CEO Gary George says the project still
needs final approval from the Board of Trustees and the General Council of the
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. That is expected to happen in the
next month or two.
Trails, water pipelines, tree lighting on the agendas Dec. 4, 2018
No cars and no domestic farm animals are allowed on trails in the City of Stanfield. Those
are changes the city council is considering to an ordinance tonight. Breaking those rules
is now a class A violation.
That meeting begins at 7 tonight in the city council chambers on Coe avenue.
Also meeting at 7 is the Umatilla City Council their 97-page agenda packet includes
11 different action items tonight. Many of those focus on the Sixth Street waterline
project. Theyll also be accepting $800 donated by the Umatilla High School Key Club
toward improvements to Kiwanis Falls and $6,000 from the Hermiston Kwanis Club for lights
at the basketball courts at Kiwanis Park in McNary. That meeting begins at 7 tonight
at Umatilla City Hall. Find the Umatilla agenda here.
The Boardman city council is also meeting tonight. On that agenda, a presentation of a
sign project and resolutions about electric franchise agreements and stop signs. That
Boardman meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. The time change tonight to allow
council and community members to attend the Boardman Tree Lighting. That begins at 6
tonight at the SAGE Center.
Post Office closed tomorrow Dec. 4, 2018
The U.S. Postal Service closing all locations and stopping regular mail delivery tomorrow
to honor former President George H.W. Bush. Package delivery will be limited. Read more here.
Prevent fires this December Dec. 3, 2018
'Tis the season for holiday celebration and decorating, but it's also the season for home
fires. Scott Goff, fire marshal with Umatilla County Fire District #1, says be careful
with extension cords - never coil a cord that can overheat and don't use it with large
appliances like refrigerators. Only plug space heaters into a wall outlet - never an
extension cord or power strip.
If you use a space heater to keep part of your house warm, keep the space around the
"Making sure that you keep everything that can burn at least three feet away from the
front of the space heater - and actually the back of the space heater as well," says
Claire McGrew, with the Oregon Fire Marshal's Office.
As you buy your Christmas trees, Goff says make sure you buy a tree with a lot of moisture
- make sure no needles are already falling off - and then be careful where you set it up
in the house.
"We want to be cognizant of where we're placing that in the house, away from heat
vents, away from wood stoves, fireplaces, anything that like," he said. "Those
will make the tree start to dry out rapidly."
He says make sure all lighting is in good shape before you place it on the tree. Any
damaged wires should be discarded. If you are using open flame candles, be sure you keep
an eye on them.
Goff says overloading electrical systems, heating sources being too close to materials
that can burn and unattended cooking are the most common fire sources this year
Space limited for concert, pancakes Dec. 3, 2018
It is now December, and the holiday season is in full swing. Coming up this week, the
Inland Northwest Musicians have their annual holiday concerts. Theyll be in Echo on
Saturday and in Connell Washington on Sunday. If you want to go Echo theres a
large selection of holiday music to get you into t he season you need to reserve
your seats now.
R. Lee Freise, conductor, says they only have seating for 200 people at the Echo concert,
and more than half of them already gone. The concert is free. If you want to reserve
seats, call inland northwest musicians.
Tickets also close to selling out for the Hermiston Pancakes with Santa. The event
isnt until Dec. 22, but they only have a handful of tickets left.
"Those tickets are selling really fast," said Kasia Robbins. "If you are at
all interested, get those tickets now because we have such a limited amount of
That event is at the Hermiston Community Center and includes the meal, pictures with Santa
and crafts. The cost is $30 per family of four.
Suspect arrested in homicide Nov. 28, 2018
A suspect arrested in a homicide yesterday in Umapine.
The Umatilla County Sheriffs Office identifying 52-year-old Decidero Vargas-Ortiz as
the suspect in the shooting that happened yesterday morning at the Umapine Creamery.
Vargas-Ortiz arrested yesterday in Kennewick by Kennewick Police. The search for
Vargas-Ortiz, who has multiple aliases, involved the FBI and the Tri-City Regional SWAT
Team. The Sheriffs Office saying he will be extradited to Umatilla County to face
felony murder charges.
Hermiston increases taxi prices Nov. 28, 2018
Changes are coming in January for the city of Hermistons taxi voucher program. The
program allows those who are elderly or disabled to purchase subsidized taxi vouchers.
Those vouchers currently cost $2, but January 1, each one will cost an additional 50
Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says each ride will still be subsidized $4.25
through city funds. Because of increases in costs, the Hermiston City Council on Monday
night voting to increase the price of each voucher to the user to $2.50. The prices were
last increased in 2009.
In other city news, the motion to increase the base electric rates for Hermiston Energy
Farm Fair begins today Nov. 28, 2018
Today, going on at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center, its the 45th annual
Farm Fair Ag Seminar and Trade Show.
Farm Fair is today, tomorrow, and Friday at EOTEC and it brings together dozens of vendors
and seminars on everything ag related from from cereal to pollinators. One of those
going on today is a presentation by Blue Mountain Community Colleges new
Precision Irrigated Agriculture program instructor Drew Leggett. Hell present on the
Precision Irrigated Agriculture (PIA) program at BMCC starting at 3:30 this afternoon.
Hell also be on-tap as a speaker tomorrow during the Cereal Session on Optimizing
Liming Rates for Low pH Soils in Northern Idaho, speaking out his research while working
on his masters degree at the University of Idaho.
Farm Fair is free and open to the public Debbie Pedro with the Hermiston Chamber of
Commerce says their vendor spots are full.
That begins at 8 this morning.
Shooting in Umapine Nov. 27, 2018
A shooting yesterday morning at the Umapine Creamery northwest of Milton-Freewater.
Thirty-five year old Renee Luiz-Antonio, of Milton-Freewater killed yesterday while
operating a tractor. Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan saying the suspect is another
employee who works at the dairy but saying the sheriffs office is not at liberty to
identify the other employee at this time.
Umatilla County detectives, along with Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus, the
Walla Walla County Sheriffs Office,Walla Walla Police Department, Milton-Freewater
Police Department, the Oregon State Police Crime Lab, Hermiston Police Department, and the
College Place Police Department spent most of the day investigating and searching for
evidence that may lead to a suspect and an arrest in the case.
We have leads on the case, and are following up with our investigation. This appears
to be the result of a lengthy dispute between Mr. Luiz and another employee who was
working at the dairy, said Sheriff Terry Rowan.
Luiz-Antonios family has been notified. An autopsy has been scheduled with the
Oregon State Medical Examiner for today.
Cyber Monday safety Nov. 26, 2018
Today is Cyber Monday, and if youre doing a lot of online shopping, law enforcement
agencies want you to keep track of those packages whenever you can. The sooner you can
bring that package inside, the less time a potential criminal has to swipe it.
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says if you are having something delivered, try and
track what time it will be dropped off including if you get to know the route or
the schedule for mail delivery so you can bring that package inside.
Hermiston police also recommending:
- Require a signature upon delivery.
- Have it delivered someplace where it can be handed to a person, like your office or a
- Get a video surveillance system for your home.
If you are shopping in stores instead of or alongside your online shopping, be mindful of
your surroundings, keep your vehicle locked and put packages in the trunk.
City Council to consider rate increase Nov. 26, 2018
Utility rates, especially electricity, in Hermiston the subject of a work session and
meeting tonight. The Hermiston City Council has a work session at 6 tonight to discuss the
Hermiston Energy Service Cost of Service Analysis, a study to look at services and
operating costs. The regular meeting begins at 7, and on the agenda, is a resolution that
could increase residential electric bills $2 per month. The primary rational for the
increase is the increase in wholesale electricity prices. The council also has a
resolution involving changes to the senior/disabled taxi program as well as multiple
committee appointments and an executive session to discuss labor negotiations. Find the
full agenda here.
Tonight, the Hermiston School Board has a meeting and work session that begins at 6:30 at
West Park Elementary School. Its a light agenda including a presentation from staff
at West Park and teaching and learning department updates. The full agenda is available here.
Freezing fog causes slick roads Nov. 20, 2018
Multiple car accidents reported this week because of ice and slick roadways. Most have
been non-injury or minor injury, but emergency responders reminding drivers to slow down
and watch for potential hazards. Do not use cruise control, be alert and drive cautiously,
adjusting your speed for road conditions. Leave extra space between your vehicle and
others, and if your vehicle suddenly feels like its floating , gradually slow down
tap your brakes gently; dont slam on them.
You can follow TripCheck.com for road conditions, and there are ice and freezing fog
warnings reported on both Interstate 84 and 82 as well as other area highways.
Council meetings tonight Nov. 20, 2018 Stanfield
The Stanfield City Council will support the Stanfield School Districts proposed
continuance bond. That resolution in support of the school construction is
on the agenda tonight for the Stanfield City Council meeting that begins at 7.
The council will also consider an ordinance involving trail use in the city and hear
reports from city departments.
That meeting will be in the council chambers of Coe Avenue. The meeting again begins at 7
A contractors employee error is giving the city of Umatilla more than $1,600 in a
rebate and a write-off of $10,000 worth of work hours to correct it. Its for the
citys sixth street project, and the Umatilla City Council will discuss the
reimbursement from JUB Engineers tonight during a council workshop. That begins at 6 p.m.
at Umatilla City Hall. Boardman
Theres a special council meeting tonight in Boardman. That begins at 6 p.m., and
its a work session about broadband consulting.
Contact the city halls in Stanfield, Umatilla, and Boardman for more information on their
Dinner still needs volunteers Nov. 19, 2018
Coming up on Thursday, its the Community Fellowship Dinner that will be served at
Hermiston High School. Prep work begins tomorrow in the kitchens with the meal being
served from 11 to 2 on Thursday. The group has a little over 50 percent of their volunteer
spots are filled.
Prep work in the kitchen going on tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Theyre cooking 40
turkeys, as well as side dishes. Volunteers also still needed to help cook, serve, and
delivery meals on Thursday. The Community Fellowship Dinner has one phone number -
541-371-9772 you can call to sign up to volunteer, to schedule a ride to the meal
or to request a meal to be delivered for anyone unable to leave their home. You can also
Fall risks and holiday preparation Nov. 16, 2018
If you have family members coming into town this weekend or next week for the Thanksgiving
holiday or if youre heading to visit family health professionals want
you to take a look at the floor and remove fall risks.
"A lot of people assume that falling is a natural part of aging," said
Registered Nurse Sharon Waldern, the interim manager of Good Shepherds Education
Program. "We're trying to banish that belief because it really is not true. There are
a lot of reasons for falls, but there's a lot you can do to prevent it."
Waldern says, statistically, 30 percent of falls result in moderate to severe injuries and
simple prevention methods like removing lose rugs from the floor or keeping hydrated can
make a difference. You can call Good Shepherd Education Department for some tips, and they
also are registering people for the next fall risk seminar, a two-hour class open to
anyone of any age, including family members.
They already have 5 people signed up for the next fall risk seminar thats on
Dec. 8. Theyll also be starting an eight-week series called Matter of
Balance in January. Its a two-hour seminar with education and exercise. You
can contact good shepherd health education for 541-667-3409 information on any of the
Tree permits available Nov. 16, 2018
Christmas tree permits are now available for the Umatilla National Forest if you
plan on cutting a tree this weekend and decorating it after Thanksgiving, of course
The permits are $5 and are limited to one per household. Fourth-graders are eligible for a
free permit the student needs to print a paper voucher from Every Kid in a Park and take it to the forest
office for the free permit.
Tree permits and forest maps are available during regular office hours, Monday through
Friday at the four Umatilla Ranger District offices in Ukiah and Heppner, Oregon; and
Walla Walla and Pomeroy, Washington; and at the Supervisor's Office in Pendleton, Oregon.
In addition to the forest offices, Christmas tree permits are available at:
Ace Hardware, Hermiston
Bi Mart, Pendleton
Heppner Mobil, Heppner
Southgate Mini-Market, Pendleton
Columbia Grain and Feed, Pasco
Farmers Exchange; Sportsmans Warehouse, Kennewick
For more information, please contact the Forest Service office in Pendleton at (541)
Warming station shortage could delay opening Nov. 12, 2018
The Hermiston Warming Station might not open this fall unless they can recruit more
volunteers. Teesie Hill, chairman of the board , says Ideally, they would have 100
volunteers, but so far, they only have 53 this year.
"If we get the volunteers, we're going to try and open on Nov. 19. If we cannot get
the amount of volunteers we need, we will not be able to open until Dec. 3 - and that's if
we get the volunteers by then," she said.
The warming station provides a warm place for people in need whether homeless or in
a temporary situation to sleep overnight during cold weather. At this time, Hill
says they dont have enough volunteers to operate.
They do have trainings coming up including one tomorrow from 6 to 9 p.m. You do not
have to register in advance for the trainings, you just show up. Theyll also have
training Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday afternoons and a graveyard shift training
Saturday from midnight to 3 a.m.
"It is not a typo - and everyone thinks it is," she said, adding those who work
graveyard shifts may not be able to make evening trainings.
In order to volunteer with the warming station, you have to be 18 or older, pass a
background check and complete a three-hour training. Volunteers sign up for shifts online
and instead of a minimum, theres actually a maximum on volunteer hours
they like volunteers to only do two shifts a week so they do not burn out.
Hill says there are 700 homeless people in Umatilla County and nationwide, 700 people a
year die from hypothermia.
Call the warming station 541-289-2150 for more information.
Boardman approves Ordnance expansion Nov. 12, 2018
Last week, the Boardman City Council approving a new liquor license for Ordnance Cider.
Owner Craig Coleman currently holds a liquor license in Boardman for Ordnance Brewing and
is planning to expand to brewing cider. The Boardman city council approved the license
The council also changing the time of their December meeting from 7 to 7:30 to allow
council members to attend the community tree lighting at the SAGE Center. The next
Boardman City Council meeting will be a workshop at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20, at
Boardman City Hall.
Study looks at mental health, addiction in jails Nov. 9, 2018
A new effort being launched in Oregon to find solutions to keep people with addictions and
mental illness out of jails and to get them the help they need.
Its a problem Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan is well aware of and part of the
inspiration for the requested renovation of the Umatilla County Jail to better serve those
who are under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or mental illness.
"Ideally what you would like to see here in Umatilla County is a center that focuses
on all three of those areas but still provides a level of security for those that go
there," Rowan said. "Jail is not the place."
Patrick Allen, head of the Oregon Health Authority, says a large group of people from
around the state are examining the problem.
"It tries to pull together the judicial system, law enforcement, and healthcare to
try how to better meet the needs of those with serious, persistent mental illness."
Allen says people are going to jails where they don't get the help they need, so they end
up in jail.
Over the next three months, the group will analyze data from around the state to determine
the scope of the problem and potential solutions. Those ideas will be forwarded to the
legislature to determine what changes will solve the problems.
Tickets on sale for Festival of Trees Nov. 9, 2018
Most of us are still looking at Thanksgiving - as we should be - but if you want tickets
for the annual Hermiston Festival of Trees, you need to take just a moment of holiday
planning to pick those up. The annual event is a fundraiser for the Good Shepherd
Community health Foundation and Hermiston Kiwanis. that features numerous decorated trees
for live auction, dinner, wine tasting - and more. Bob Green, executive director of the
Good Shepherd Foundation says if you want tickets, sooner is better.
"The tickets go very, very quickly," he said. "If you want tickets, get
them as soon as possible because it does tend to sell out."
Tickets for the gala are $40, and you can purchase those at the Hermiston Chamber of
In addition to the gala dinner and auction fundraiser, the Festival of Trees does also
include family day. That will be Sunday, Dec. 3???? this year.
Election results Nov. 7, 2018
A late night and early morning for staff at Umatilla County elections as the final
unofficial results not coming in until after 2:30 in the morning in the local midterm
Statewide voter turnout at 63%, according to the secretary of states website.
Umatilla County has a turnout rate of about 55 %, and in Morrow County, it was a bit
Umatilla and Morrow County overall went red primarily favoring Republican candidates Knute
Buehler, who lost the governors race statewide to Kate Brown, and Greg Walden, who
will retain his seat in the US House of Representatives.
In the contested race for County Commissioner position 1 George Murdock narrowly defeating
Rick Pullen to retain his second and final term as county commissioner. Murdock receiving
10,645 votes and Pullen pulled in 10,153. Thats 51 to 48 percent. In County
Commissioner Position 2, 14,000 ballots cast for John Shafer, the only name on the ballot
and a total of 773 write-in ballots.
On the Hermiston City Council, Lori Davis will keep her seat against challenger Mark
Gomolski: 2,186 votes over Gomolskis 1,572.
The City of Umatilla had multiple contested races, and it looks like Mary Dedrick will be
the new mayor, beating current mayor Daren Dufloth 52 to 46 percent.
For the City of Boardman, the top three council recipients for the at-large spaces were
Brandon Hammond, Brenda Profitt, and Roy Drago, Jr. Jim Kindle received 66 percent of the
vote for mayor of Heppner, and Rod Taylor receive 100 percent of the 138 vote there
were no write-ins against him for mayor of Ione. Write-ins only for the mayors of
Lexington in Morrow County and Adams in Umatilla County.
Find the full election results here.
You can click on Umatilla or Morrow county to see some local results.
Pitney named to school board Nov. 6, 2018
Brent Pitney is the newest member of the Hermiston School Board he works for Kner
construction and says he is excited about joining the board and is ready to be part of the
"I've been in Hermiston for 41 years, and I've got kids in the school system,"
he said. "I'm invested in the community through work, and I want to give back."
Pitney saying he sees infrastructure as a big issue facing the school district, including
school maintenance and passing a construction bond. Pitney takes over the position left by
Jason Middleton, and he was sworn in during a meeting of the Hermiston School Board last
night at the district offices.
Three council meetings tonight Nov. 6, 2018
Three small city councils meeting tonight. Umatilla
In Umatilla, the city council is considering development from housing to Old Town.
One of the action items is a collaboration between Echo, Stanfield, Umatilla, and the
State of Oregon to determine housing needs and how to increase the supply and
affordability of housing.
"Those are the things we're continuing to work on to look at our housing needs as we
partner with the state and the cities," City Manager Dave Stockdale said. "We'll
get a good study together and that will make a nice foundation as we move forward."
That project would be finished by the end of June of 2019.
Another resolution involves a grant and a vegetation management plan at the old town site.
Its expected to cost $36,000 of which #10,000 is being donated from the
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and $26,000 already budgeted for
the project. The council also voting on an agreement with the city of Hermiston to provide
subsidized public transportation for seniors. That would begin immediately and run through
June of 2019.
That meeting begins at 7 tonight at Umatilla City hall. Stanfield
The Stanfield City Council also has a meeting at 7 p.m. and that one at Stanfield
City Hall, not at the Stanfield Council Chambers. On that agenda, discussion of local
improvement districts and their potential use in Stanfield, as well as training on city
charter and mayor, council, and manager roles. Boardman
Boardman rounding out the city council meetings tonight. Theyll have reports from
city departments and meet in an executive session to talk personnel and to carry on
negotiations. That meeting also begins at 7 tonight, and its at Boardman city hall.
Meetings tonight Nov. 5, 2018
Today is the first Monday of the month, but it is a meeting night in Hermiston because of
the veterans day holiday both the Hermiston School Board and the Hermiston
City Council moving their meetings up a week.
The school board meeting begins at 6:30 at the school district offices and will include
election of a board member to fill vacant space 4, left by the departure of Jason
Middleton from the board. That meeting will include enrollment and financial reports and a
recognition of the from the FFA Veterinary team
The board to also meet in an executive session to discuss union negotiations. Find the
full agenda here.
Dinner, auction benefits Guardian Care Nov. 5, 2018
A fundraiser coming up this weekend to benefit Guardian Care Center, an organization that
supports children and families that have been victims of child abuse, both physical, and
sexual. Detective Randy Studebaker, with Hermiston Police Department, says the center also
provides recordings of forensic interviews that can be used in court cases, preventing
children from having to testify multiple times about traumatic events.
"The whole center is geared toward not re-traumatizing victims while they're to tell
their story or have their injuries examined," Studebaker says. "It is child
centered and child focused while still giving investigators what they need."
Studebaker says the Pendleton center is the only child abuse facility in Umatilla and
Morrow counties. The Guardian Care Center is funded through grants and private donations.
They do host a golf tournament in April to help run the center, and they are now hosting a
dinner and auction this Saturday at Oregon Grain Growers Distillery in Pendleton. Tickets
are $25 that does include the meal its a pizza buffet and a drink
token as well as access to the auction and raffle. Tickets are available at the
Guardian Care Center, the Umatilla School District Office. Tickets can be purchased at the
door. You can call Guardian Care Center at 276-6774 for more information.
HHS juniors win app challenge Nov. 5, 2018
Two Hermiston High School students winning the 2018 Congressional App Challenge for
Oregons District 2. Rogelio Lemus and Ethan Orozco created the app B.A.N.A.N.A
(Basic App to Notify Authorities of Non-Authorized Abduction). The app uses facial
recognition technology to help
find missing people. The app allows individuals to upload a photo of a missing person for
comparison against a national database, to help find loved ones. You can see a video about
the application on YouTube.
Sheriff warns of winter weather Nov. 2, 2018
Warnings for chains and traction tires on Eastern Oregon roads this week. Snowfall in some
areas of the Cascades this week, and its time to think about winter driving
and getting ready. Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says Search and Rescue teams
typically have a busy season starting in the fall. Rowan says theyve already seen an
increase in call-outs for search and rescue as winter weather and hunting seasons coming
to eastern Oregon.
"We may not see anything or just have a light powder (of snow) in the local area, but
you get up there, and there may be several feet," he said.
Rowan says some of the most common issues search and rescue deploys is for are hunters who
become disoriented or do not make it back to camp at the time theyre expected
even though many do make it back to camp and people traveling on forest roads in
vehicles unequipped for the terrain.
"It's all about being prepared. If you are traveling, prepare your vehicle: Have some
safety equipment, snacks, warm blankets," he said. "Just make it a habit of
hauling that stuff around this time of year because you never know when you'll need
Rowan saying he keeps emergency equipment not only in case he needs it but in case
he needs to help someone else.
Donate costumes for foster children Nov. 1, 2018
After yesterdays holiday, theres a good chance you have a Halloween costume
that your kids may never wear again. Umatilla and Morrow County Child Welfare is taking
donations of Halloween costumes that will be given to foster children for next Halloween.
Through the donations, foster parents in the area will be able to choose costumes next
year for children in their care. Costumes can be dropped off at the DHS/Child Welfare
offices in Boardman, Hermiston, Pendleton, and Milton-Freewater. For more information,
Nonprofit seminar, FFA banquet this weekend Nov. 1, 2018
Operating a nonprofit can be stressful, and finding funding sources can be overwhelming.
The Agape House wants to help. This Saturday, theyre presenting a seminar called
How to write a nonprofit grant proposal. Dave Hughes says it will cover
researching grants, gathering material and developing applications.
The seminar is from 8:30 to 1 on Saturday and costs $35, and that does include the
workbook, material, and a light breakfast. You can RSVP to Dave at Agape House by calling
Also Coming up this Saturday (Nov. 3), the Stanfield and Echo FFA Dinner and auction. Echo
Schools Superintendent Raymon Smith says the funds help students have more opportunities
through agriculture programs
Funds go to student programs and travel expenses. The banquet is $10 per person or $20 for
a family of four. They arent purchased in advance, but only sold at the door. Doors
open and the silent auction begins at 5, and the program and dinner starts at 6. The live
auction begins at 7 on Saturday in the new gym in Echo. You can find out more on the event
page on Facebook .
Treats on Main tomorrow Oct. 30, 2018
Tomorrow is Halloween, and that means the return of Treats on Main and Beyond. Parks and
Recreation Director Larry Fetter says this year it will include Festival Street in the
"What's nice is there's no cars to contend with and we can shut down Main Street in
seconds and kids can go from business to business and not be worried about traffic,"
Fetter said. "It's obviously a little inconvenient, but it's super fun."
Times for Treats on Main this year are 3-5 p.m. on Festival Street and Main Street
those streets to be closed off completely during the event and then the
beyond section takes place at the Hermiston Community Center from 4 to 7.
Officials work to clear up confusion on tax bills Oct. 29, 2018
City and county officials working to clear up confusion on tax bills this week. Hermiston
Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan saying this is the first time the Hermiston Urban
Renewal District has appeared on property tax statements and its a change in
accounting at the County Assessors Office not a change in how much property
owners owe in taxes. The internal accounting of how revenues are collected and
distributed has changed, but the total property tax bill that people owe is
unchanged, said Mark Morgan, Assistant City Manager. I think the intention is
for transparency, but frankly it muddies the waters.
Before the change, the tax would have shown up divided between the different taxing
districts. It does not change the amount of money the urban renewal district receives or
the amount of money taxpayers pay.
Update contact info before winter weather Oct. 29, 2018
Rain this morning, rain over the weekend, and it's a good reminder that eventually, that
rain will be snow.
"We are getting to that time of year where we have to start thinking about winter
weather," said Dirk Dirkson, the superintendent of Morrow County Schools. "Make
sure all your phone numbers are updated with the school - if we do have any school closure
or delay, we use those for communication."
Dirkson says Morrow County will be continuing its three-hour delays for winter weather.
Both Morrow County and Umatilla school districts testing that three-hour delay instead of
a two-year delay last year. Contact your local school or school district to verify contact
information and confirm their winter weather policy.
Commissioners approve transit projects Oct. 26, 2018
Umatilla County Commissioners yesterday moving forward with the first projects with the
Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund. That money relates to the 1/10th of 1 percent
payroll tax recently approved by the state.
Umatilla County receiving about 400,000 in 2019, the first year of funding, and it has to
go toward enhancing public transportation.
The plans approved yesterday calling for creation of a transit coordinator position for
the county, increasing subsidized taxi rides for employees in the county and adding
weekday fixed-route bus lines connecting Hermiston, Umatilla, Irrigon, and Boardman, as
well as other projects.
Find more here.
Mega Dairy set for sale, closure Oct. 26, 2018
Boardman mega-dairy Lost Valley Farm could be put up for sale next year. The Statesman
Journal reporting the dairys trustee, Randy Sugarman, saying on Wednesday that the
dairy will be shut down and put up for sale by the end of March 2019 and that it will need
to find a new owner, one capable of obtaining any future permits and funding critical
capital improvements. Sugarman asking the court to allow cattle to be sold at public
auction and saying the sale of cows and property should allow debts, which include to
Morrow County and local businesses, to be paid. The dairy cited for hundreds of
environmental violations, and Sugarman saying it could cost $40 million to meet permit
requirements. Greg te Velde opened Lost Valley Farm in April of 2017 and declared
bankruptcy in April of 2018. Te Velde has also faced multiple criminal and legal issues
locally, including an arrest by Hermiston police last month for possession of
Fundraiser tomorrow Oct. 26, 2018
Tomorrow, a fundraiser to benefit Jasmine Ellwood, a Hermiston teen battling Ewing
The event includes a convoy of Walmart Heart Drivers from the Walmart DC, a police escort,
and a cookout at the Hermiston Walmart. The convoy begins at 9:30 on Saturday, and the
fundraiser is from 10 until noon. All funds will go toward the Ellwood family to help with
expenses related to Jasmines treatment.
Also going on this weekend, the Hermiston Ed Foundations Fun Run, Inland Northwest
Chorale opens its 2018-19 season this is the second concert of inland northwest
musicians 20th season, drug take-back day.
City searches for food truck Pod operator Oct. 25, 2018
The City of Hermiston is looking for someone to operate the planned Food Pod
pilot program. The program could see a number of food trucks located in one area, and and
the city is now taking proposals and applications for someone to run that pilot for 12 to
The Pilot Program would operate on two city-owned parking lots at the intersection of W.
Orchard Ave. and SW 3rd Street. The city would offer use of the parking lots for free to
the food pod operator, who would then recruit and retain five mobile food vendors to
operate the post. The operator would keep any profits they made off space rentals.
Proposals are due Dec. 3, and information on the proposals is available on the citys
website or from city hall.
Grant valued at $150,000 for county trails Oct. 25, 2018
Umatilla County receiving help from the National Parks Service on its West End trail
project. The county receiving a grant for technical assistance, valued at about $150,000.
The work will help develop the regional trails plan for the West County Trails project.
When completed, that is expected to connect about 25 miles of existing and proposed
bicycle, pedestrian, and equestrian trails. The technical assistance over the cost of the
initial concept planning, including identifying possible trail routes and connections to
trail systems with the three county region of Morrow-Umatilla-and Walla Walla counties.
UCo warns of whooping cough Oct. 25, 2018
A reminder that this afternoon is the first senior meal at the new Harkenrider Senior
Center in downtown Hermiston. Larry Fetter, with the city of Hermiston, says todays
meal is only the first step in expanded programming.
The Harkenrider Senior Center is on 2nd Street, near the old union high school arch. You
can follow programs and updates on its facebook page Hermiston
UCo warns of whooping cough Oct. 25, 2018
Umatilla County public health warning of reports of pertussis thats whooping
cough on the rise, especially in the Milton-Freewater area. Theyre urging
vaccination against the disease. Consult a health care provider if you are having fits of
coughing, even if you have had the vaccine, and pregnant women and infants under the age
of 1 should see a health care provider if they have been exposed to anyone with the
disease. UCo Health will be offering pertussis containing vaccines during a clinic at Gib
Olinger Elementary School on Thursday November 8th from 2-6 p.m.
Senior meals ready to move Oct. 23, 2018
Today is the final day of the Hermiston senior meal at the Catholic Parish hall. Its
an Italian meal. The senior meal will move to the Harkenrider Senior activity Center, 255
NE 2nd Street, starting on Thursday.
When the seniors make the move, theyll have new kitchen equipment thanks to
fundraisers the seniors organized.
The Harkenrider Center has been hosting some classes and events, but the meals had to wait
to complete inspections. That is up and running now, and theyre expected to serve
their first meal out of the center on Thursday.
Todays lunch is still at the Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church Parish Hall,
thats 565 W. Hermiston Avenue.
Good Shepherd hosts community meeting Oct. 23, 2018
Tomorrow night, Good Shepherd Health Care system has a community meeting and health fair.
The event includes raffle prizes, food, and a guest speaker, Joe Piscatella, an author,
speaker, and president of the institute for health and fitness.
Piscatella saying he will speak about a number of topics, especially how to become and
"The biggest thing is to create a positive mindset that says you're going to make a
commitment to a healthy lifestyle - and you're going to do it with small steps," he
said. "I'm a big believer in the power of small steps."
Nick Bejarano, with Good Shepherd, says they hope to make the community meeting an annual
event, and its free and open to all.
Doors open at 5 p.m. at the Hermiston Community Center. For more information and to RSVP,
Council, school board meet tonight Oct. 22, 2018
Updates, planning, and presentations on the agendas tonight as the Hermiston City Council
and Hermiston School board each meet.
The Hermiston City Council begins the evening with a work session at 6 tonight at
Hermiston City Hall. Theyll have a legislative update from Rep. Greg Smith. The
regular meeting follows at 7, which includes an agreement allowing property for the
citys planned water tower at the corner of 10th and East Punkin Center. Theyll
also consider changing how wide a drive way can be.
On the school board side, the meeting begins at 6:30 tonight at Hermiston High School.
That meeting to include a school presentation from high school staff board
applicant interviews and a support services update.
Find the full agendas here: city
council and school
Farm to School grows in schools Oct. 22, 2018
This week is farm-to-school week, a time to focus on connecting communities with fresh,
healthy food, and local producers by given students access to local foods and educational
opportunities like schools gardens and cooking lessons. Through the Farm to School
program, the Hermiston School District received a grant two years ago to bring in more
fresh fruits and vegetables from local producers, and Food Services Director David Busch
says theyve been taking advantage of it, bringing in everything from fresh melon to
In honor of Farm to School Week, Chartwells Food Services is collaborating with OSU
Extension Service to introduce blueberries (purchased from a local vendor), to Rocky
Heights students this week. Students will taste blueberry recipes and provide feedback.
The grant funds also helped purchase apple slicers for local schools. Even with fresh,
local apples, not all elementary children were able to eat them whole. Having the apples
pre-sliced makes the apples easier for children with braces and missing or loose
teeth to eat.
Farm 2 School week is all week, and October is Farm to School month. Find out more about
family options at farmtoschool.org
Armand student video finalist Oct. 19, 2018
ALTV student Ashley Treadwell is a finalist for the Individual Award from the National
Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) for her video titled "Cooking Class."
Winners will be announced and finalists will be recognized at the JEA/NSPA Fall National
High School Journalism Convention in Chicago, Nov. 1-4.
You can watch the video here.
Wyden in Hermiston next week Oct. 19, 2018
Sen. Ron Wyden will be in Umatilla County next week as part of a tour hosting town hall
sessions in five counties.
His Umatilla County stop is at 9:20 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Hermiston High School.
He will also stop in the Dalles and Arlington, both on Monday, at La Grande High School,
on Tuesday afternoon, and in Baker City on Wednesday.
Find details on his website, wyden.senate.gov.
Boardman hosts community clean-up
Oct. 19, 2018
The City of Boardman will sponsor a community-wide clean-up the month of November. 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 November at Finley Butte Landfill
and the North Morrow Transfer Station. The garbage voucher program encourages citizens to
clean up their residences by disposing of yard debris. City residents may pick up their
vouchers at Boardman City Hall at 200 City Center Circle beginning October 31st. For more
information on this program, call Boardman City Hall at 481-9252.
Sheriff hosts livestock training Oct. 18, 2018
Tonight, the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center hosting a open house and fall festival,
but during the day, its the final session of a sheriff Livestock Investigation
Class, a partnership with the Umatilla County Sheriff and the Oregon State Sheriffs
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says its to give sheriffs and deputies
from across the state more information about what to look for.
"It's been eye-opening," Rowan said.
The training covering processes, recovery options, even branding, sales, and networking
with feed lots and other locations that may take in stolen animals.
Although cattle is most common, the class applies to all livestock, from alpacas to sheep.
Rowan says it relates not only to theft but to the process of borrowing
livestock as well as disputes over calves.
Sheriffs and deputies traveling to Hermiston from as far as Clatsop and Malheur counties.
Rowan says they hope to make the training an annual event.
Echo Oktoberfest is Saturday Oct. 18, 2018
This Saturday, Echo celebrates its third annual Oktoberfest from 4 to 10 in downtown Echo.
Event Chairman Mike Duffy says the event will feature a variety of foods, from traditional
beer and brats to daily specials.
The funds this year go to the Kiwanis Scholarships they give out about $7,000 in
scholarships each year as well as to the Echo Historical Society, which was funded
out of a desire to restore St. Peters Church.
Tickets are $20 and for sale at the H&P Café in Echo, at the Hermiston Chamber of
Commerce and from any echo Kiwanis member
Tickets purchased in advance - by noon on Friday - include a bonus token.
Stanfield wins $4 million matching grant Oct. 16, 2018
The Stanfield School District is $4 million richer as long as they approve a bond
in May. The Stanfield School district is planning a $14 million bond to improve safety and
security in school entrances and replace its middle school, and officials applied for
funds through the the Oregon School Capital Improvement Grant program.
"We were not high enough on the priority list to be funded, but we were drawn in the
lottery," Superintendent Beth Burton said. "If we are successful in our bond, we
will receive another $4 million from the state of Oregon."
Burton says if the bond fails in May, the district will forfeit the money, and it is
difficult to prioritize projects within the district if the bond is not passed. Find out
more about the proposal on the website for the Stanfield School District or by attending
the facilities planning meeting thats Monday at 6 in the evening at the
Election deadline today, pamphlet online Oct. 16, 2018
You may be sick of hearing about it already, but today is the final day to register to
vote if you want a ballot for the Nov. 6 election. The election includes multiple
statewide ballot measures - to repeal Oregon's sanctuary status, prohibit taxes on
groceries and a tighter limit on the legislature's ability to increase taxes and fees
as well as the race for governor, county commissioner, and multiple local city
If you need to register to vote, you can do that at the Umatilla County Elections office,
the DMV, and online at with the Oregon Secretary of State. You can also find the entire
voter pamphlet for Umatilla County online especially if you are one of the county
residents who received a misprinted pamphlet that does not include the Umatilla County
Find a link to register to vote and to find the voter's pamphlet on the county's website.
ShakeOut coming to Eastern Oregon on Thursday Oct. 15, 2018
Thursday, students, families, and businesses across the state and worldwide
will practice dropping, covering and holding on until an earthquake stops in the Great
Oregon Shake Out. Its part of the ShakeOut International Day of Action.
Althea Rizzo, in the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, says the goal is to make sure
you and your family are prepared before an earthquake happens.
To prepare, you need enough supplies to make it two weeks on your own. The website
Shakeout.org has the information you need to prepare - you can also sign up to participate
in the event so organizers know how many people are taking part this year.
Registration this year includes almost 9,000 participants in Umatilla County and more than
200 in Morrow County many of them students. Schools in Hermiston, Irrigon,
Milton-Freewater, and Athena. Families, individuals, and medical staff, and state offices
also signed up to participate. It is not too late to register you can find out more
The drill is scheduled for 10:18 a.m. on Thursday.
Umatilla, Morrow counties talk transit Oct. 12, 2018
Seven percent of households in Umatilla County dont have access to a vehicle
and another 10 percent of households are automobile insufficient, meaning the household
does not have access to a vehicle for each person working. In Morrow county, five percent
of households dont have access to a vehicle. Add that to the large number of people
who commute between counties, and thats a problem local county commissioners want to
tackle. County Commissioners from both Umatilla and Morrow counties having a joint meeting
this week, and the main topic was improving transportation, including discussion of the
draft Morrow/Umatilla County Transit Development Strategy Plan.
Umatilla County Commissioner Larry Givens says the study tackles a number of needs and
"We didn't take action on at the meeting, but it was a report on that strategy
plan," Givens said. "There are some really great ideas in it."
Portland-based Kittleson and Associates because the transportation study in 2016, and this
is the draft document moving forward. The report breaks down demographics, poverty, and
the need for transit options, pointing out 63 percent of Morrow Countys workforce
lives outside of the county with the bulk living in Umatilla County. On the
Umatilla County side, more than 1/3rd of workers live outside the county in both Oregon
The 55 page-report then provides suggestions to tackle transit issues including new
bus or shuttle options, park-n-ride locations, and modifications to current bus and
Find the full draft report at this
During the joint meeting, the commissioners also discussing sewer inspections and the
Eastern Oregon counties association. Umatilla county has opted to pull out of that
lobbying group. Givens says the county will do its own lobbying efforts.
Boardman, Umatilla launch new websites Oct. 11, 2018
New websites recently for two local cities - Boardman and Umatilla. Both websites feature
redesigns with a focus on features important to residents.
In Boardman, city officials encouraging residents to use the
website for information such as water outages, job openings, impounded dogs, public
hearing notices, clean up months, and more.
Users may also subscribe to the Boardman Bulletin Newsletter and/or the
Amber Alert Notices.
In Umatilla, mayor Daren Dufloth says the website went live last month and includes
meeting agendas, an event calendar, and code information
"Check out our new website - it's awesome," Dufloth said. "There's a lot of
great infomration on the website."
You can find the updated websites at Umatilla-city.org
Candidate forum is tonight Oct. 10, 2018
Tonight, a candidate forum at BMCC Hermiston. Thatll be in room 134 at the Eastern
Oregon Higher Education Center, 975 SE Columbia Drive.
The forum, moderated by our own Angela Pursel, will feature County Commissioner Candidates
George Murdock and Rick Pullen as well as Hermiston City Council candidates Lori Davis and
Mark Gomolski. That event begins at 5:30 tonight, and it is open to the public.
Refreshments will be served.
A reminder that there is also a candidate forum scheduled in Umatilla. That one will be
Oct. 18 from 6 to 7:30 and will feature candidates for positions on the Umatilla City
Council as well as the two candidates for Mayor.
Testing, lunch prices Oct. 10, 2018
Today, students at Hermiston high School are also engaged in testing its the
SAT for seniors, the ASVAB for juniors, and the PSAT for sophomores.
Today is also the day families could begin seeing lunch bills for their students. Families
receiving free or reduced lunch must apply every year. There is a grace period that
ended yesterday. Families who qualified for free or reduced lunch last year but did
not submit a new application for the 2018-19 school year will begin being charged today.
Applications for free or reduced lunch can be submitted at any time of year. You can
contact your local school or school district office for more information.
Rain causes floods, reduces fire danger Oct. 10, 2018
Rain yesterday causing a flash flood warning in some areas of Umatilla and Morrow counties
yesterday, and the American Red Cross responding to one home disaster flood in Heppner.
That flood at about 4:30 yesterday afternoon and affected four adults and one child. The
Red Cross providing services to address immediate needs.
The good news about that rain, however, is public use restrictions have been lifted in the
Umatilla National Forest, effective yesterday. Restrictions related to chainsaw use,
smoking, and off-road travel being lifted. Seasonal campfire restrictions remain until
Oct. 31, 2018. Seasonal campfire restrictions require visitors to build their campfire in
a fire pit surrounded by dirt, rock, or commercial rings, in areas cleared of all
flammable material. Campfires must be attended at all times and a shovel and one gallon of
water are required to be in your possession while building and tending campfires.
Hermiston to change water, sewer rates Oct. 8, 2018
Utility rates could be changing for the City of Hermiston. The City Council tonight to
vote on major adjustments to water and sewer rates. The vote tonight could change the way
rates are calculated from a declining rate schedule, which charges less per unit the more
water is used, to an inclining rate schedule, which charges less for an initial, base,
water amount and more per additional units. City staff says the change is designed to
encourage water users to conserve water while also providing funding for a
"backlog" of deferred maintenance.
The proposed rates could generate $2 million per year in additional revenue to cover the
long list of deferred maintenance projects. If approved, the new rates will take effect
March 1, 2019. The regular city council meeting scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
The Hermiston City Council also has a work session scheduled tonight. That begins at 6
p.m., and on the agenda: the library strategic plan and a housing report.
Follow the full
Umatilla plans candidate forum Oct. 8, 2018
Last week, a run down of candidates for many local races, and a reminder today there is a
candidate forum in Hermiston on Wednesday.
There is also a public forum scheduled for candidates for Umatilla City Council. That will
be 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Umatilla Visitor Center on Cline Avenue.
A release from the Umatilla Chamber says the November 6th General Election could
potentially bring sweeping changes to the Council make up. Residents are invited to come
and meet the
candidates, and participate in an open discussion about the future of the City Council and
Incumbent Mayor Daren Dufloth is running for re-election, and he's been challenge by a
former city council member, Mary Dedrick. Both are expected to be on hand for the
candidates forum, as are candidates for the council spot.
Candidates for the City Council are:
Mark Keith, incumbent, and Corrine Funderburk, each running for Position 1;
Leslie Smith, running for Position 3; and Josy Chavez, running for Position 5.
School Board to choose new member Oct. 8, 2018
The Hermiston School Board also considering new faces tonight. The board will interview
and review finalist candidates that applied to fill the position board member Jason
Middleton is leaving on the board. The selected individual will be appointed on October 22
and sworn into the office November 5.
The board will also review financial and enrollment reports. That meeting begins at 6:30
tonight at the Hermiston School District office. Click
here for the full agenda.
Echo looks to replace Diane Berry Oct. 8, 2018
Diane Berry, the city administrator-recorder for Echo, will soon be retiring after 39
years working for the city. As city administrator and recorder, Berry also serves as
library director, chief gardener, bookkeeper, payroll director/clerk and grant writer. The
Echo City Council is looking at how to structure the position and set priorities for the
city for the next few years. The council is looking for feedback on if services should be
contracted out, consolidated, or if multiple individuals should be hired to try and
replace Berry when she retires.
Let the council know what you think by calling, sending a note or email:
Umatilla Council looks at health, construction Oct. 2, 2018
Tonight, Umatilla talks healthcare, construction projects, and hiring a new city manager.
On the agenda for the meeting tonight, a resolution authorizing the mayor to sign an
employment department between the city and David Stockdale.
A presentation tonight from Dr. Derek Earl, of Family Health Associates, who will
announce the grand opening of FHA at the Umatilla Clinic, is also on the agenda, as is a
presentation from Hermiston Nazarene Church talking about their annual community volunteer
event thats on Nov. 18 and potential projects in Umatilla.
Multiple resolutions signing easements and contracts related to the citys Sixth
Street Waterline Improvement Project as well as others related to consulting services also
planned for a vote.
The council is also expected to have a closed-door, executive session to consider
employment of a public officer, employee, staff member or individual and for labor
That meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Umatilla city Hall. Find the full agenda
Also tonight, as discussed yesterday, the Stanfield city council will be meeting at 7 p.m.
in the council chambers on Coe Avenue.
Stanfield to talk marijuana ban Oct. 1, 2018
Stanfield could repeal its marijuana facility band.
Stanfield City Manager Blair Larsen says people have approached the city about repealing
the ban, and the city council has discussed the request - and opted to survey Stanfield
The survey will be one page and will include a space for residents to add other comments.
Those will go out during the November utility bills - not the ones that come out today -
but one month from today. Stanfield residents who do not receive utility bills can pick up
the survey at Stanfield City Hall . Those must be received by the end of November, and the
Stanfield City Council is expected to discuss the surveys and the ban during the December
Speaking of meetings, though the Stanfield City Council does have a meeting tomorrow night
in the council chambers on Coe Avenue. They'll have a presentation from the Stanfield
School District about the proposed bond and will discuss the results of the most recent
survey of Stanfield residents.
HSD, Walmart partner for kiosks Oct. 1, 2018
The Hermiston School District is also working to get more feedback from community members
and parents. They're installed two kiosks in Hermiston to give those who do not have
access to a computer an opportunity to check student status and provide feedback.
The kiosks are through a partnership with Walmart, and one kiosk will be located in the
Customer Service Area at the Hermiston Walmart. The other will be located at the district
The kiosks will provide parents with an opportunity to check their student grades,
attendance and homework assignments recorded in the student information system,
PowerSchool. Parents and community members will be able to browse district job
UCSO boat rescue Sept. 29, 2018
Another boat rescue on the Columbia River. The Umatilla County Sheriffs Office
reporting a rescue of a stranded boater on a disabled boat about a half mile west of the
Umatilla River. Deputies able to safely tow the boat and its occupant back to the Umatilla
Marina. As with the previous boating rescues this summer, the sheriffs office again
asking boaters make sure the boat is in good working order, has all required lights, sound
producing equipment and life jackets before heading out to the water. Anyone who would
like to have their boat inspected prior to going on the water can contact the Umatilla
County Sheriffs office at 966-3650 to schedule an appointment.
Tricia Mooney named superintendent Sept. 27, 2018
Tricia Mooney is the superintendent of the Hermiston School District.
The Hermiston School Board making that decision at 8:15 a.m. yesterday morning during a
"She has spent the last year demonstrating that she has the skill set and aptitude to
be our next superintendent," Board member Karen Sherman said. "Without the
anchor of interim, Ms. Mooney be able to grow into the position. She has integrity and
Board member Ginny Holthus saying the decision included feedback from district staff,
parents, and community members before they made the decision, which is part of their
hiring process and allowed the board to see the amount of support Mooney has in the
Mooney has served as interim superintendent for a year and a half. Last month, the
district officially separated with now former superintendent Fred Maiocco, who is on
extended service with the Army Reserves. The board saying they will work with Mooney on
any staff changes, including whether her position as assistant superintendent will be
filled. Bryn Browning continues as the districts assistant superintendent of
Hermiston man hits school bus Sept. 27, 2018
A Hermiston man arrested for hit-and-run with a school bus yesterday morning. No injuries
reported when the black sport utility vehicle rammed into the back of a school bus at
about 7:30 yesterday morning. The SUV fled the area, but officers able to track it to a
residence where 34-year-old Ronald Raymond Epperson was arrested on the Hit and Run
offense as well as two outstanding warrants. He was also issued a citation for driving
School board slates special meeting for superintendent Sept. 25, 2018
A special meeting of the Hermiston School Board tomorrow and the action item is the
superintendent vacancy. The board will review superintendent feedback results and then
make a vote, and the recommendation is to appoint interim superintendent Tricia
Mooney as superintendent of schools. Mooney has served as interim since Fred Maiocco was
deployed a year and a half ago. If named superintendent, she would fill the space left
when the district separated from Fred Maiocco Aug. 27.
Middleton leaves school board Sept. 25, 2018
A longtime Hermiston School Board member resigning yesterday during a work session and
special meeting of the Hermiston School board.
After more than a decade in the boards position 4, Jason Middletons
resignation effective immediately. Middleton citing new commitments that make him unable
to dedicate the required time and energy to being on the school board.
Applications are now available at the district office for anyone interested in serving on
the Hermiston School Board, Those must be returned by 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5. The
applications will be narrowed to a group of finalists who will be interviewed by the
school board during the Oct. 8th meeting. The selected individual will be appointed on
Oct. 22 and sworn into office on Nov. 5.
Stanfield looking at vacancy on council Sept. 25, 2018
Yesterday, we told you about a candidate forum that will feature the two candidates for
Ward 1 on the Hermiston City Council. Well, Stanfield is likely not going to need a forum
for its open slots on the November election:
"We have three open seats, but we only have two people running, so it's guaranteed we
will have a vacancy unless there's a write-in campaign," City Manager W. Blair Larsen
Larsen saying if no eligible candidate is elected, the council will appoint a council
member in January. The requirements to serve on Stanfield City Council are that you have
lived in Stanfield for two years are over 18, and are a registered voter.
The city of Stanfield also has an opening for a police officer, and Larsen says they do
Candidate forum set for Oct. 10 Sept. 24, 2018
A candidate forum for those running for Umatilla County Commissioner Position 1 and
Hermiston City Council Ward One coming up in two weeks at the Hermiston campus of Blue
Mountain Community College.
Its sponsored by KOHU and The Q as well as the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce.
The event begins with a candidate meet-and-greet at 5:30, followed by the forum at 6.
First up, incumbent George Murdock and challenger Rick Pullen for the county commissioner
spot. After a short break, the forum will resume with City Council incumbent Lori Davis
and challenger Mark Gomolski.
For more information call the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce at 541-567-6151
Council talks zoning tonight Sept. 24, 2018
If youre looking for more Hermiston City Council in the meantime, they do have a
meeting tonight that includes multiple votes on planning and zoning. Theyll be
considering the final plat of Desert Sky phase 6 and offering three public hearings on
proposed zoning amendments one to allow florist shops in residential zones, another
to change the amount of open space needed at nursery schools thats to align
with the state and a notice of appeals for land-use decisions. The council is
expected to vote on each of those after the public hearings. The meeting begins at 7 at
Hermiston City Hall. Follow this
link for the full agenda.
Also tonight, the Hermiston School Board has a work session at 6:30 at Desert View
Elementary. That one will immediately follow the meet-and-greet with Tricia Mooney. Mooney
is the current interim superintendent for the district and could be named the new
superintendent, based on ongoing feedback, including that received from the public at
tonights meet and greet.
The meet-and-green session begins at 6 p.m., and the work session will follow. On the
agenda, a presentation from staff at Desert View, personnel appointments and extra-duty
contracts. Find that agenda here.
Umatilla chooses Stockdale as City Manager Sept. 20, 2018
The Umatilla City Council has chosen a new city manager. The council on Tuesday asking
management group Prothman to negotiate a contract with David Stockdale,
Stockdale recently serving as the city administrator in Prosser, Washington. He resigned
this summer over an issue involving him not changing his drivers license from Oregon
to Washington. He previously worked in Eugene for nine years in the parks department.
During a meet-and-greet last week, Stockdale saying he would like to focus on
infrastructure and thinks his experience in Prosser will benefit Umatilla while bring
Stockdale and his family closer to home.
"I think no matter what, the growth is here and it's coming," he said.
"What can we do to manage that? We need to be strategic."
Stockdale selected from a pool of three finalists based on the recommendation of Steve
Worthington, of Prothman, as well as city staff interviews with candidates and community
Family Health & Fitness Day is Saturday Sept. 20, 2018
On Saturday, its the return of Family Health and Fitness Day. Its from 9 to 2
this Saturday at Hermiston High School and will feature health activities from cooking
classes to Zumba. Theyll also have a dozen different screenings available from body
composition to vision all free.
Participants can follow-up on screenings with their healthcare providers. Theyll
also be offering on-site mammograms, on-site dental treatments. Returning this year, SHIBA
representatives to help seniors with health insurance, the the teddy bear clinic, and
community booths and demonstrations, sponsored by the Healthy Communities Coalition.
Thats from 9 to 2 on Saturday immediately following the Don Horneck Fun Run
Saturday theres also an open house set at the Hermiston Municipal Airport. Its
this Saturday from 10 until 3. theyll have tours of the facility, airplanes on
display, and you can meet the new management team.
Umatilla County hosting a hazardous waste disposal event in Pendleton, and Saturday also
the day for the Don Horneck Memorial Ag-Ed Banquet and Auction as well as a fundraising
golf tournament for the Umatilla Museum and Umatilla Alumni.
Ione asking for food donations Sept. 18, 2018
Looking at the new school year, volunteers in Ione also looking for help providing back
packs for kids in our school who need extra food at home over the weekend. Each food bag
contains 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 snacks, and 1 can of vegetables and 1 can of fruit.
All food is nonperishable and provided to children free of charge. Organizers are looking
for food donations. Suggestions include:
Instant Mac & Cheese
Cup O Soup
Ritz Snack Pack Crackers
Items must be nonperishable and simple for children to prepare on their own.
They do ask for no apple sauce, not because they hate it Jeff but because
they have a large supply already.
Donations can be left at the Ione Market, Ione Community Church and Ione Community Clinic.
For more information, call the school office 541-422-7131.
Stanfield Schools considering bond Sept. 18, 2018
The Stanfield School District is planning to go out for a $14 million facilities bond on
the May 2019 election, and theyre presenting their plan to the community tomorrow
Superintendent Beth Burton says theyre focusing on safety, security, and expansion
of CTE spaces. If approved , the bond would revise the entrances to both schools and
revamp the middle school.
"Our actual middle school portable building is our least secure building of all three
buildings," Burton said. "This proposed bond would include building a middle
school that is in addition to the secondary school, complete with a gym.
The bond would also add air conditioning to the high school gym, change the parking lot at
Stanfield Elementary for student safety and add natural lighting to the secondary school.
"Once you get through the front door, there are no windows in the rest of the
building. There are no windows in classrooms, no natural light in that building,"
To find out more, that community tour and presentation begins at 6 Wednesday in the gym at
Stanfield Secondary School.
After the tours, we will meet back in the SSS Cafeteria to discuss, collect feedback and
The bond project estimated at $14 million. Burton says they do hope to receive some grants
or matching funds before that project goes to the ballot.
School enrollment up across region Sept. 14, 2018
Enrollment up at almost all school districts in a three county area
"Our enrollment is way up in the region," said InterMountain ESD Superintendent
Mark Mulvihill. "Districts that have been facing declining enrollment numbers
recently are up."
Its no surprise that enrollment growth includes the largest district in the region:
The Hermiston School District reporting 5,850 students K-12 in its first week
thats an increase of 80 students from where they were last year. The district is
even seeing that growth - in kindergarten. Interim Superintendent Tricia Mooney saying
they have 463 kindergartens.
"That does create opportunities and challenges, but it is exciting" she said.
The Stanfield School District seeing an increase from last years numbers.
Theyre at 465 students 15 more than they ended with last year, and that does
not include the 18 students in the districts 4-year-old Kindergarten Readiness
Umatilla at 1,395 students this week, up 40 students from this week last year, giving that
district the highest percentage increase this year.
The Morrow County School District is up to 2319 students. Superintendent Dirk Dirkson says
theyre preparing for continued growth as additional housing goes into the county,
Educators saying much of the growth comes from job growth.
Boardman schools in lockdown Thursday Sept. 14, 2018
Speaking OF schools, all Boardman schools put into lockout yesterday by the Boardman
Police Department following a general threat made on social media. After police officers
completed their procedures for securing a building after lockdown, the restrictions were
lifted. The lockdowns began at 1:52 and ended at 2:22.
Sheriff to talk sanctuary cities Sept. 14, 2018
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan is asking voters to repeal Oregons
Sanctuary Law, that law prohibits the use of state and local resources to
enforce federal immigration law if the persons only infraction is being in the
Rowan is one of 16 sheriffs in the state who have signed on to support a measure
that would repeal the Sanctuary Law, and Hermistons Hispanic Advisory Committee has
asked the sheriff to come explain his position. Rowan is scheduled to present to that
group Monday night at 7 oclock at Hermiston city hall..
Umatilla community turns out to meet candidates Sept. 14, 2018
Three finalists for Umatilla City Manager faced questions on schools, zoning, and
interacting with the Latino population during a meet-and-greet session at the Umatilla
visitor's center last night. A crowd attending the event to meet Blair Larsen, David
Stockdale, and Scott Meszaros. The three gave opinions on where they would like to be in 5
years, what major barriers they have overcome and what drew them to apply for the Umatilla
position. The questions all came from the audience - of about 50 people Chamber President
Mark Ribich says he was impressed with the involvement
"I'm extremely happy with how it went tonight," he said.
The evening hosted by Ribich, Umatilla Mayor Daren Dufloth and Steve Worthington, with
Prothman, the company the city is using to help with the city manager search. Dufloth
saying the event was part of an ongoing effort by city officials to let residents have a
say in decisions.
"We want people to be involved in this. It's about building trust," Dufloth
said. "We want you to see what we see. We want you to ask questions - and if they're
tough questions, ask them."
Attendees at the event candidate evaluation forms that has what they liked about the
candidate, any concerns they had and any additional comments. Dufloth says now the
committee will gather all the information, both from interviews with city staff and city
council and the community feedback, and they'll make a recommendation to the city council.
The council could vote on a new city manager next month.
Children's Rodeo today in Pendleton Sept. 13, 2018
Today, a group of cowboys and cowgirls will take the field at the Pendleton Round-Up
grounds and theyre all students from regional schools. Today is the
InterMountain ESDs childrens rodeo, which gives special needs children a
chance to take the field to ride a wagon, use a lasso and more. ESD Superintendent Mark
Mulvihill says its a great experience.
"I really encourage people if they're going to the rodeo, if they're going to
Pendleton to really pop in and see it," he said. "When you see the kids and the
joy on their faces, it really tugs at your heart strings."
About 50 children expected to participate today. The event begins at 10:30, and the public
is welcome to come watch the childrens rodeo.
Mulvihill says the ESD provides services to many special needs children, and this gives
them an opportunity to interact directly with the students they serve.
UCSO begins more DUI patrols Sept. 13, 2018
Another round of DUII patrols began yesterday for the Pendleton Round-Up. The Umatilla
County Sheriffs Office having enhanced patrols through the 15th watching for
distracted and under-the-influence drivers. Sergeant Josh Roberts says deputies are
committed to seeing the Round Up is a safe environment by removing impaired drivers from
These events are funded through a grant from the Oregon State Sheriffs Association.
This is the final grant event for the 2017-18 grant year.
Tugboat rescues couple from river Sept. 13, 2018
Another water rescue this week in Morrow County that pulled two people from Umatilla from
the water. An emergency call Tuesday evening advising the Tidewater Tugboat Ryan
Point had spotted two people in the water clinging to their small, overturned boat.
The man and woman were hypothermic from being in the water for three hours before the Ryan
Point came to the rescue. They were treated on board the Tug Boat as it traveled to the
Boardman Tidewater facility. Boardman Ambulance and Boardman fire met the tugboat at the
docks. The two identified as Derek Ness, 38, and Laurie Merrell, both of Umatilla. Morrow
County Sheriffs Office marine patrol issuing a reminder to all boaters to be
vigilant about keeping craft seaworthy, be aware of conditions on the water and make sure
to carry the required safety equipment.
Sheriff Offices rescue women Sept. 12, 2018
A deputy from the Morrow County Sheriffs Office, Mike Cahill, diving into the
Columbia River on Monday to save a suicidal woman. At 3:19 in the afternoon on Monday, the
sheriffs office receiving a report of a possibly suicidal woman heading to the
river. Deputies dispatched and were able to locate the woman in the river, in water up to
her neck and heading deeper. The deputy deciding he did not have a time to deploy a boat
and immediately went into he river, according to a press release. Cahill was able to pull
the woman from the river, despite her attempts to break away. Boardman police helping
bring her in when Cahill and the woman reached closer to the store. The Morrow County
sheriffs office saying it was a team effort to make a successful rescue and save the
Recent rescues for the Umatilla county sheriffs office as well. On Saturday, a
search and rescue team rescuing a woman who fell and injured her ankle at the Bar M Ranch
in the blue mountain. The Search and Rescue team hiked ¾ of a mile to the womans
location with a portable stretcher. They were able to carry her out despite the narrow and
step trail. The descent lasted more than two hours. The woman was loaded onto an
all-terrain vehicle then driven to a hospital for treatment.
Cyclist droves riding through area Sept. 11, 2018
Motorists can expect to see 1,500 bicyclists on eastern Oregon routes this week as Cycle
Oregon continues its week-long event that started Saturday in Baker City. Hundreds of
bicyclists traveling along OR86 between Baker City and Halfway on Sunday. The group will
ride the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway and other routes as they visit Wallow Lake, Elgin,
Pendleton and La Grande, before returning to Baker City next weekend.
Motorists are advised to drive with extra caution, watch for bike riders and share the
The group travels from Wallowa Lake to Elgin today, then tomorrow from Elgin to Pendleton
on Highway 204, and Thursday from Pendleton to Echo and back to Pendleton through Highway
37, Despain Gulch Road, Highway 395, Thielsen and Rieth Roads.
Expect heavy bicycle traffic along those routes.
On Friday, Sept. 14, the group goes from Pendleton to La Grande via Court Ave, Mission
Road, Old Hwy 30, I-84 between Mileposts 248 and 259, with a lunch stop at Hilgard
Junction State Park off Hwy 244.
More information about the ride is available at http://cycleoregon.com.
Life expectancy highest in Pendleton Sept. 11, 2018
Where you live in Oregon could help determine how long you live. new data on death rates
show a wide variety across the state. Doctor Katrina Hedburg, with the Oregon Health
Authority, says there are a variety of reasons that might happen.
Its both the physical environment but clearly people living in certain areas
dont necessarily have the same opportunity to be healthy as those living in other
census tracks, she said.
The lowest life span...66 years...was for people in central Medford near I-5...the longest
was 89 years for people living near Forest Park in Northwest Portland. Hedburg says the
information will help them focus health care resources on people who need it the most. In
Umatilla County, the life expectancy ranging from 72.5 in Cayuse to 81.7 in Pendleton. In
Hermiston, the life expectancy is 78.6, Umatilla, Stanfield and Echo each about 79 years.
In Morrow County, the average just over 80 years.
Harkenrider Center opens Sept. 10, 2018
With two ribbon cuttings, a handful of speakers and a crowd of hundreds, the Harkenrider
Senior Center opened its doors on Saturday.
Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann speaks during the dedication of the Harkenrider
Senior Center on Saturday.
"It's our dream that ever senior will want to be a part of what's going on
here," said Irene Miller, senior center president. "We need bodies - lots of
After the dedication of the building and ribbon cuttings of both the front doors and the
kitchen - fundraised by the seniors - guests were allowed to tour the building and enjoy
refreshments - and Larry Fetter says there were a few guests.
"I think we had 250-300 people," Fetter said. "I was shocked - we kept
bringing chairs out. People have been waiting for this for a long time. It was a very
Fetter says programming is expected to begin in early October. and he would encourage the
community to take advantage of it
School board begins superintendent discussion Sept. 10, 2018
Tonight, the Hermiston School Board begins its discussion of the superintendent vacancy.
That's the only description listed under the study item. The district recently accepting
the resignation of superintendent Fred Maiocco and beginning the decision on how to
proceed. The item appears on tonight's agenda sandwiched between a report on
English-language learners and the consent agenda, which includes personnel appointments
and resignations. One of the resignations on the agenda for tonight's meeting is
Operations Director Brad Wayland. The meeting begins at 6:30 tonight in the district
this link to the full agenda.
Council has work session, talks rates Sept. 10, 2018
The Hermiston City Council also meeting tonight. They'll open with a work session to
discuss water rates - that begins at 6 tonight - before the regular meeting opens at 7.
The agenda also includes a public hearing on the EOTEC building and RV rates, as well as
resolutions relating to the city's financial and investment policies.
Find the full agenda
Pool pilot program for second-grade swimmers Sept. 7, 2018
Its September, and the Hermiston Family Aquatic Center would normally be shut down
this year. Instead, theyre open for a specific audience in an
agreement with the Hermiston School District. The pool extension focuses on the
competitive pool use for the high school girls swim team, which is now in its season.
Hermiston Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter says they have purchasing a pool
cover to help keep the water warm and are keeping the pool open into October as part of
the partnership. Because the pool will keep water in it this fall, they're also offering a
pilot program - for second graders. Fetter says second-grade is a key time for water
"If a child gets beyond second-grade and they're a nonswimmer, the chances of them
becoming a swimmer are super low," Fetter said. "We want to know who they are,
and we want to be able to put them on a track that gets them to be swimmers."
The pilot will offer second-graders at each Hermiston elementary the chance to get in the
water and learn basic water safety.
Fetter says the department runs into a challenge where the aquatic center cannot fit in
all the requested swimming lessons within the three months the aquatic center operates.
Umatilla City Manager Candidates forum scheduled Sept. 7, 2018
A Public Forum scheduled to meet the finalists for Umatilla City Manager - one who has a
familiar name in local politics.
The three candidates include Stanfield City Manager W. Blair Larsen. Larsen has been the
City Manager for the City of Stanfield since 2013; Scott Meszaros, the Town Administrator
for the Town of Meeker, Colorado; and David Stockdale, who was most recently City
Administrator for the City of Prosser, Washington, where he served for over two years.
The public is invited to come down and meet the candidates. That forum from 6 to 7:30 on
Sept. 13 thats Thursday at Umatilla Visitor Center.
Tamra Mabbot currently serving as interim city manager after Russ Pelleburg left the city
last month for a position in Washington State.
The forum a joint project The Umatilla Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is excited
to join the City of Umatilla and City Council. The event will include an opening, a brief
statement from each candidate and an open question and answer period. Light refreshments
will be provided.
UmCo Health names Leadership Team Sept. 6, 2018
New leadership named for Umatilla County Public Health. Director Jim Setzer resigning last
month, and the Umatilla County Commissioners have promoted county staff as an
administrative team to fill the vacancy. Joe Fiumara, environmental health
supervisor, taking over as director of public health, and community wellness supervisor
Alisha Southwick being promoted to deputy director. The county will backfill the two
positions, costing the city an additional $1800 from the general fund.
First round of EOTEC Survey results Sept. 6, 2018
More events at EOTEC. Thats the preliminary take away from a community survey on the
future of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center. As of this week, almost 300 people
have completed the survey and theyre asking for more year-round events.
According to a an early report, 85 percent of responses would like to see more concerts
and 75% would like more food events.
If youd like to participate, Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says that survey is
open until the end of this month.
"This survey is ultimately going to be used to chart the future for how we develop
the EOTEC site longterm," he said. "This is the time, now, to really get your
The City of Hermiston recently taking over full ownership of Find out more and take the
survey at www.eotecsurvey.com.
Stanfield votes to demolish dangerous home Sept. 6, 2018
A Stanfield home will be demolished. The Stanfield City Council this week declaring the
house at 230 South Lucy Street a Dangerous Building and ordering its demolition. The
action following a professional inspection and public hearing determined the dangerous
condition of the home could only be remedied by its complete demolition. If the property
owners do no have the home demolished by Sept. 18, then the city will conduct the
demolition at the property owners expense. The property owners, Richard and Martina
Ruiz, have been charged with multiple counts of animal abuse for the 36 animals removed
from the home last month. Their next court appearance is the 11th.
BMCC president to leave in Oct. Sept. 5, 2018
Blue Mountain Community College President Cam Preus will exit her position in October.
The president making the announcement to BMCC staff yesterday morning, then the college
issuing a press release yesterday afternoon that she is leaving the college to take a
position as executive director of the Oregon Community College Association in Salem. She
has served as president of BMCC since 2013. BMCC will now move forward with the search for
an interim president. Preus saying she expects the college to have a new full-time
president hired in June of next year.
Harkie Center dedication this weekend Sept. 5, 2018
This weekend is the dedication of the Harkenrider Senior Center. The dedication ceremony
and tours of the senior center expected to kick off at 1 p.m..
The 11-thousand-square-foot building cost $2.3 million, the bulk of which came from a $2
million Community Development Block Grant.
The downtown association is also hosting a barbecue from 11 to 3 on Saturday. Tickets for
the lunch are $8.50 per plate. The dedication itself is free. During that day is also when
they will be sealing the time capsule.
Food session live stream scheduled at HAREC Sept. 4, 2018
Agriculture is key to the economy of Eastern Oregon and thinking about food systems
is also important to a thriving community. Oregon State University is having that
conversation across the state through a presentation on Communities, Food, Resilience.
Angie Treadwell, with OSU in Hermiston, says the event is in Portland, but its going
to be live streamed at the Hermiston Ag Research and Extension Center.
The presentation is Wednesday, Sept. 5, and the sessions begin at 2:30 and continue until
5. Treadwell says it is a casual event where people can come and go and do not have to
stay for the full event. To RSVP, you can call 564-8321 or email
Opioid numbers down, overdose up Aug. 30, 2018
The figures of opioid abuse in the Umatilla County are in and its a mixed bag
of good and bad news. Mike Stensrud, the drug prevention coordinator for Umatilla County,
says from April 1 to June 30th, 62-hundred individuals received a prescription for opioids
in Umatilla County. The number of opioids being prescribed in Umatilla County are down
by 8 percent over last year, but overdoses are up.
Overdose events occur when emergency medical providers administer naloxone or similar
drugs to stop the overdose - in the last year, the county has had 198 overdose events
reported. Stensrud says the number is abnormally high for the population of Umatilla
Maiocco resigns Aug. 28, 2018
The Hermiston School Board accepting the resignation of Superintendent Fred Maiocco last
night. Maiocco, a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army Reserves, has been on active military
service for the past year and was scheduled to return in January. This year, the board
learning that deployment will now continue until January of 2020. Rather than continue
with an interim superintendent, Maiocco and the school board agreeing on a separation
agreement with the school district paying Maiocco a flat amount to finish his
A statement from district staff saying the are very proud of Dr. Maioccoservice to
our country and grateful for his ten years of strong leadership and vision for the
The Board now begins considering its options moving forward, including the option of
appointing interim superintendent Tricia Mooney as a permanent superintendent or beginning
a superintendent search process.
The Board will begin deliberating on the options at its Sept. 10 meeting.
School starts Aug. 27, 2018
Its the first day of school for school districts in Hermiston, Morrow County, and
Echo. That means busses are running, kids are walking, and school zones are in effect.
Echo Schools Superintendent Raymon Smith says the district is excited about this school
year. Enrollment is strong, and they have wait lists in some grades. In Morrow County,
housing increases predicting increases in enrollment.
Housing Developments continue to go in and be planned in Boardman. Superintendent Dirk
Dirkson says he's planning on an average of one student per new apartment, which means
Boardman could see continued growth - and 120 or 150 new students could post some
challenges and opportunities.
The Hermiston School District is again expecting substantial enrollment growth.
The incoming 9th grade class in Hermiston High School is about 100 students more than the
senior class that graduated in June. Students in first through 12th grade start classes in
Hermiston today. Kindergartners will come in on the 29th.
Board talks legal, council mobile food Aug. 27, 2018 Hermiston School Board
Theres a special Hermiston School Board meeting tonight.
The meeting opens with a closed-door session to consult with legal counsel. Theyll
also be voting on school lunch prices. That meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the district
office. Find the full
agenda here. Hermiston City Council
The Hermiston City Council will be voting on adopting its changes to mobile food vendors
tonight the ordinance calls for increasing he number of mobile food vendors from 3
to 6. Theyll also consider requests to add stop signs in Hermiston on NW 4th
and 5th at the intersections with West Ridgeway as well as westbound on Crestview at NW
Overlook Drive. That meeting begins at 6 p.m. tonight at Hermiston City hall. Here's the
full agenda Morrow County Town Hall
Tonight, the second of the Morrow County Town Hall meetings to discuss the North morrow
County building. Tonights Meeting is from 5:30 to 6:30 in Heppner City Hall, 111 N.
Main Street. Additional meetings scheduled this week at the Ione American Legion Hall on
Wednesday and Irrigon City Hall on Thursday. The meetings will focus on the building
project in Irrigon to put up a new administrative building. Theyre encouraging
community discussion and comments.
Drive, Health, and Ag tomorrow Aug. 24, 2018
A Drive 4 UR School event tomorrow to benefit the Hermiston High School track program. Tom
Denchel Ford Country will donate $20 for every person who test drives a Ford vehicle at
Hermiston High School on tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Coaches and volunteers will be on
hand to assist with the test drives, and the drive could raise up to $6,000 for the
Hermiston High School will provide free drinks and hot dogs for everyone who test drives a
vehicle. To test drive a Ford vehicle, a driver must be 18 years of age, or older, and
have a valid drivers license. Test drives are limited to one test drive per
Also tomorrow, the third annual Health Fair at Mirasol Family Health. Thats from 10
to 2 at the facility on 11th street. It includes free tacos, games, and information as
well as wellness exams, immunizations, and #10 sports physicals. The event is free and
open to the public, although children getting immunizations or exams must be accompanied
by an adult.
EOCCO Insurance has also donated backpacks for children who get wellness exams.
Finally, tomorrow is the second ay of the Celebrate Oregon Agriculture Event at the SAGE
Center in Boardman. That event bringing OMSI exhibits to the SAGE Center. Admission is
free from 10 to 5 today and tomorrow.
Mosquito advisory issued Aug. 23, 2018
More mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile, and the West Umatilla Mosquito Control
District issuing a public health advisory yesterday asking area residents of all ages to
take steps to reduce exposure to mosquitoes. Twenty-five mosquito samples have tested
possible this year, including 11 that tested positive last week collected from across the
district in Cold Springs Reservoir, Stanfield, Umatilla, and Spearman Road.
Because West Nile may cause encephalitis, people encouraged to get rid of old tires and
other containers where water can accumulate and breed mosquitoes, flush water in horse
troughs weekly and flush or add mosquito fish to ornamental ponds. To prevent bites, where
long-sleeved shirts and pants in mosquito invested areas and avoid outdoor activities at
dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
The district will have targeted aerial spraying this Sunday theyre targeting
a total of 10,240 acres east of Hermiston. That will be after sunset on Sunday.
Suspect escapes into corn field Aug. 23, 2018
A high-speed chase on Interstate 84 yesterday.
An Oregon State Trooper from Hermiston attempting to stop a Toyota pickup vehicle
traveling 93 miles per hour on I-84, but to sped up to 105 and exited from I-84 onto I-82.
The vehicle attempted to take exit 10 off I-82 but slammed into the guardrail the
driver and sole occupant fled on foot into an adjacent corn field.
Law Enforcement officers from Hermiston PD, Umatilla PD, Boardman PD, Umatilla County
Sheriff's Office, Morrow County Sheriff's Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the
US Fish and Wildlife Service responded to the scene and helped to establish a perimeter
for 5 hours the suspect spotted multiple times during the search of the 150 acre
corn field, but he was able to avoid capture. Investigation showing the pickup had been
stolen from Pendleton earlier yesterday morning.
Troopers continuing to work to identify and locate the suspect.
The suspect is a Hispanic male adult last seen wearing a blue t-shirt, white Raiders
baseball cap, shorts and has a mustache or goatee. The suspect may have suffered injuries
during the crash and OSP is asking the public to call law enforcement should a person
matching the suspects description be seen in the area of the Interstate 84, Interstate 82
and Westland Road.
Hermiston PD, Umatilla County Sheriff's Office, Morrow County Sheriff's Office, Boardman
PD, Umatilla PD, FBI, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Update on dogs taken from Stanfield home Aug. 22, 2018
This weekend, 36 dogs were taken from a single home in Stanfield, their owners charged
with animal neglect. Most of those dogs - 27 of them - went to Pioneer Human Society. Amy
Word says they found out about the warrant the day before it happened and put out a call
"We're not really set up for huge influxes like that," she said. "We had
great community support, and several people were willing to open up their homes to
PAWS completing booster shots, flea treatment, and worming medication. Some of the pets
are still on watch status because of their condition, and animal shelters around the
county that took in some of the dogs are looking for donations. They're asking for
financial help to feed and treat the animals, but they're also asking for volunteers'
"Several of the animals need socialization, and that can be as simple as sitting in a
cage with them and letting them come up to you and build a rapport with them," she
The animals will stay in foster until there's a court a release officially removing them
from their owners' custody.
Fires reported in Umatilla National Forest Aug. 21, 2018
Smoke and fires in the Umatilla National Forest Sunday and Monday. Staff at the
forest saying fire crews are responding to smoke reports but the limited visibility making
fire detection a challenge. Theyve been using thermal detection to identify new
fires but have had trouble with air suppression because of the fire. The largest is the
Gilman Fire thats 15-hundred acres near Gilman Flats in the Heppner Ranger
District. The Low Ridge Fire is 17 miles southeast of Walla Walla, and the Cupper Canyon
Fire burning near Monument. Fire officials reminding everyone the current fire danger
rating remains at extreme with public use restrictions still in effect, including on
campfires and chainsaws.
Child, animal abuse arrests Aug. 21, 2018
Four people arrested, three dozen dogs rescued and two children removed from a single
house in Stanfield in a case of alleged child and animal neglect.
Police charging 47-year-old Richard Ruiz and 48-year-old Martina Ruiz on 35 counts of
animal neglect, two counts each of child neglect and endangering the welfare of a minor.
The couples son, Michael Ruiz, age 26, and his partner, Timi Murray, age 24, were
also arrested and are facing charges of child neglect and endangering the welfare of a
minor. The two children removed from the home.
Umatilla reunions could end Aug. 21, 2018
Umatillas all-school reunions could be a thing of the past if they dont get
Janet Nagy says the base group of volunteers is aging and they need some new blood in
order to continue. In addition to hosting the all-school reunion, the Umatilla High School
Alumni Association presents scholarships to Umatilla students every year. If youd
like to get involved, you have a chance this week. The alumni annual meeting is at 2 p.m.
Aug. 23 at Rayz Days in Umatilla.
Echo ready for ribbon cutting Aug. 21, 2018
In happier news, tomorrow the doors finally open to the remodel and addition on the Echo
The project includes at 30,000-square-foot addition to the campus, a new gym, and a new
entryway and office space. The project paid for with a $4 million grant from the Oregon
School Capital Improvement Matching Program and a $4 million bond.
The ribbon cutting is at 5:30, that will be followed by tours of the new facility and
refreshments. Its open to the public and will be followed by the Echo Schools open
house for all students and families ready for the 2018-19 school year.
Bartz, others arrested Aug. 20, 2018
Zachary Bartz is in again custody. One of the Hermiston Police Departments most
publicized search coming to an end Friday evening as they arrested the 25-year-old
Hermiston man accused of multiple vehicular thefts from around the area.
A release from HPD saying they received a report of a stolen trailer on Friday night
they tracked it to a location just outside of the city limits and were able to
sneak up on Bartz and 45-year-old Charles Barker
HPD saying while making the arrest, they receive a report of a burglary. That crime
including property officers were in the process of collecting at the scene before
the owner even knew it was missing.
Bartz lodged at the Umatilla County Jail on 26 counts, including unauthorized use of a
vehicle, aggravated theft, burglary and first-degree kidnapping. Hes also facing
charges of hit and run, reckless driving, and unlawful possession of meth. Barker facing
charges of possession of a stolen vehicle and parole violation.
On Friday, Stanfield Police also arresting 32-year-old James Dean Johnson for assault
Stanfield says when the victim tried to leave, Johnson sat on her and took her
phone. He was also lodged at the jail and is charged with assault, strangulation and
interfering with making a police report.
In other law enforcement news, the Umatilla County Sheriffs Office arrested 3 people
for DUII during the Umatilla County Fair. It happened during a set of high-visibility
patrols watching for distracted and under the influence drivers. The next high visibility
patrols are for the labor day weekend.
Improving north Highway 395 Aug. 20, 2018
Umatilla county wants to improve the area between Hermiston and Umatilla on Highway 395,
and now theyre ready for your input. The Highway 395 North Economic Development
Project has a community tomorrow at the Stafford Hansell Building. Its from 5:30-7
The Highway 395 North Economic Development Project started in 2015 to improve the esthetic
and development of that corridor. If you arent able to make it to tomorrows
community presentation, Theyre also scheduling an online public workshop you
can access that now through the countys
Air Quality Alert in place Aug. 15, 2018
An Air Quality alert in place today through noon Friday in much of north Oregon,
including all of Umatilla and Morrow Counties. The National Weather Service saying smoke
from wildfires burning causing air quality to reach unhealthy levels and can aggravate
heart and lung diseases. Theyre saying limit outdoor activities and keep children
indoors if it is smoky.
Morrow County Fair opens Aug. 15, 2018
Today is the opening of the Morrow County Fair in Heppner. From the animal barns to the
kids fun zone, an ice cream social to the greased pig contest and the RDO Tractor Pull to
the chuckwagon dinner and live music, the fair is a full list of activities every day
today through Saturday.
The Morrow County Fair open 8 to 10 every today through Saturday this week, then Sunday
from 6 until the Morrow County rodeo ends in the afternoon. You can find the full fair
schedule on the morrow County website.
And by the way, If you missed the Umatilla County Livestock Auction last Saturday, the
Morrow County Auction is this Saturday. That will begin at 2 in the afternoon, and the
sale order is swine, beef, sheep, then goat.
Umatilla Museum seeking oral history Aug. 15, 2018
Umatilla continuing its living history interviews this week. So far, the museum has
recorded interviews with 19 longtime or former Umatilla citizens about the history of that
Joan Ribich, with the Umatilla Museum, says they have a few spots open for the next
session this Thursday. The nonprofit hopes to put the interviews on a DVD and have
those playing in a loop during museum operations. Find out more at the Umatilla Museum
its open 10 to 4, Tuesday through Saturday.
Morrow County meetings slated Aug. 15, 2018
The Morrow County Commissioners also setting dates for Town Hall Meetings this month,
primarily seeking input on the north Morrow County building to be built in Irrigon.
Officials saying the current Irrigon facility has reached its capacity and because of
needed repairs, a decision made to tear down the building and put a new structure in its
Morrow County Commissioners scheduling those town halls, all from 5:30 to 6:30. Those
meetings are Aug. 21 in Boardman, Aug. 27 in Heppner and Aug. 30 in Irrigon.
The County is still working to schedule a time and location in Ione and is hopeful the
citizens of the Lexington area will attend the other meeting locations. Contact Morrow
County for more information.
Auction donations raise $17,000 for student fighting cancer Aug. 14, 2018
The Umatilla County Fair Youth Livestock Auction brought in big bucks on Saturday
and the donations are still coming in, especially for one local student who might have
sold the most expensive lamb in Umatilla County history. Auction director Marie Linell
says it started with a few people pooling money to bid for the lamb shown by 11-year-old
Maddy Thomas, an Echo student fighting cancer.
"They spread the word, and they all started pooling their money before she
sold," Linell said. "By the time she went to the ring, they had enough money
pulled together to bid $50 a pound."
During the sale, 4H takes add-ons, so other donations can be made to sale animals. After
the auction, the add-ons for Maddy kept coming in and they still are. Many of the
donations are coming from the youth exhibitors who are donating $10, $50, $100 from their
own sales to Maddy. As of Monday evening, Maddys lamb was worth more than
$17,000 and Linell says theyll take donations through Friday.
The sale, overall, did well. Linell says without the donations for Maddy, theyre on
track to be the second highest year. Theyre sitting at 471,000 on 250 lots
per animal the highest theyve seen.
"we just continue to be amazed by our community throughout the county and neighboring
counties that support the kids, and obviously these kids are turning around and supporting
a kid that has an even greater need than them, and that's really exciting," she said.
If youre interested in adding on a donation to Maddy or any other exhibitor, contact
the Umatilla County Fair office. For more information, you can also call or text Linell at
City approves noise change, tables sports fields Aug. 14, 2018
The city of Hermiston is now looking at judging noise based on an idea of what a
reasonable person would consider too loud for the conditions. That change approved
unanimously last night during the Hermiston City Council meeting, as was the new ordinance
limited accessory dwelling units. Less agreement on the resolution of necessity for the
water tower property acquisition that could allow the city to take the property off Punkin
Center by eminent domain. It did pass, but only on a 6-2 vote, and the motion on the
lacrosse fields at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center was tabled
On the Hermiston School Board side, despite two executive sessions, the board not taking
action on any discussion from the closed-door meetings one to consider information
or records that are exempt by law from public inspection and the other evaluating the
performance of an executive officer.
Fields, noise, water tower land all on tap tonight Aug. 13, 2018
Lacrosse fields, noise ordinances and the new water tower project all on the agenda
tonight at the Hermiston City Council meeting. In addition to ordinances about accessory
dwelling units allowing only one per lot with an existing dwelling and noise
violations thats the one changing to what a reasonable person would consider
acceptable instead of a flat rate the council expected to discuss a proposal to
develop lacrosse fields t the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center. The Hermiston Youth
Lacrosse organization would use about $95,000 in donated and in-kind resources to
establish irrigation and lighting on the 20 acre parcel near the entrance to EOTEC. The
property would still be used as overflow parking during the Umatilla County Fair.
Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says the council will not a final plan tonight
only if they want to move forward with creating an agreement.
If the council and city staff move forward, theyll draft an agreement about usage of
the fields. The property would give priority to lacrosse but could also host other sports,
including soccer. Morgan saying the fields would have to be oriented in a way that would
maintain the exit lane on the edge of the field that is scheduled to be paved with
a hard surface.
On the water tower project, the city could consider options for purchasing about an acre
and a half of property near 10th and Punkin Center to place its planned 1-million gallon
storage tank on. The city attempting to negotiate with the owner of the property but
saying that engineering studies have determined the property is the only location that
fits all the citys needs for the water tower. The council is considering a
resolution of necessity tonight for the property that could pave the
way for eminent domain.
That meeting begins at 7 tonight. Find the full
City looking for EOTEC feedback Aug. 13, 2018
The City of Hermiston is looking for feedback about its long range strategic plan for the
facility. The city recently took over full ownership of the EOTEC site, which opened in
2017 as a joint project of the city and Umatilla County. You can give your feedback and be
entered for a chance to win a giftcard by taking the survey at www.eotecsurvey.com.
3rd Degree takes 1st place Aug. 9, 2018
Yesterday was the Backyard Barbecue Grilling Challenge at the Umatilla County Fair, and
the top prize for the show went to 3rd Degree BBQ, the Weston-based team that took home
top honors in lamb, onion and beef
"It's trial-and-error," said Tyrell Burns."Find something that works and go
Five teams competed this year, down from 10 originally registered - multiple teams dropped
out because of the heat. Gay Newman, who oversees the competition on the fair board, says
in order to have the competition continue, they will need more teams next year.
City considering noise ordinance
Aug. 9, 2018
The Umatilla County Fair can be a loud event, and noise is at the forefront of the city of
Hermiston's minds - and their ears. The Hermiston City Council is considering an ordinance
that will change the code from a specific decibel level to that of a "reasonable
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says the current requires officers to measure the
noise level with equipment - and if that equipment is faulty or there's an amount of wind,
it can affect how accurate the measurement is, and the city is looking at changing that to
instead a measure of reasonable standard.
City staff researching noise ordinances from other cities before making the decision - and
found few had a decibel level set for noise violations. Hermiston Assistant City Manager
Mark Morgan says city administration is asking the council to change the ordinance to a
The Hermiston City Council could consider that ordinance this month.
Ryan Neal named Port of Morrow manager Aug. 9, 2018
The Port of Morrow commission selecting Ryan Neal to take over as port manager this week.
Neal currently the general manager of warehousing for the Port of Morrow. The decision
made by the board after a meet-and-greet session with four finalists on Monday.
Setzer resigns from Public Health Aug. 8, 2018
After almost two years, Umatilla County Public Health is again searching for a public
health director. Jim Setzer tendering his resignation effective the end of this month.
"This has been a great opportunity, and I really hope I've been able to make a
positive contribution to Umatilla County in the time I've been here," he said.
Setzer says over the past year a half, the department has shifted its focus from being
only clinical services to community focused actions, and he is proud of that change as
well as the Year of Wellness.
Setzer says he hopes to stay in Pendleton but is pursuing other health opportunities.
Safety at the Umatilla County Fair Aug. 8, 2018
Today is day two of the Umatilla County Fair - and day one of the Farm-City Pro Rodeo.
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says make sure everyone is ready to have a good time,
stay hydrated and stay out of any disagreements or fights on the grounds.
"Our main goal is to make sure that this fun, family event stays a fun, family
event," Rowan said. "We don't tolerate misbehaviors."
Those who cause disturbances may be removed from the grounds or possibly taken into
custody and lodged at the Umatilla County Jail. In addition to drinking water and watching
for signs of head exhaustion, Rowan says families should take precautions to reunite if
they're separated at the fair, including taking photos on a cell phone before leaving so
law enforcement will know exactly what someone is wearing on the day they are separated.
Rowan says families should also have a rally point for everyone to gather at in case of
separation. If that fails, contact a law enforcement or security guard. Rowan says it
happens about to around 15 times a day.
The Sheriffs Office also asking livestock owners to check water tanks after reports,
primarily near Weston, of valves being shut off and livestock found dead or in bad shape
because of lack of water. The Sheriffs Office asking all livestock owners throughout
the county to check water sources immediately and regularly and report suspicious
activity to the 24 hour dispatch center.
Watermelon giveaway a success Aug. 6, 2018
On Friday, eight bins of watermelon disappeared in less than 20 minutes in Portlands
Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Hermiston city staff and officials hand out watermelons Friday in Portland.
Hermiston City staff handed out watermelon from the back of a truck assembly line style,
keeping a line moving around the entire square. 10-year-old Briar Germos saying she was
ready to see what was different about a Hermiston melon.
"I think it's very exciting because I haven't tasted a Hermiston watermelon
before," she said. "It sounds like they're very different from other
watermelons, so I'm very excited."
The event also including an annual seed spitting contest between elected officials.
Although Portland Mayor Ted Wheelers seed did travel farther than the Hermiston city
officials, the title stayed with Hermiston as Hermiston chamber president Paul Keeler won
the competition, sending his seed 22 feet.
Paul Keeler launches a watermelon seed 22 feet during the Friday competition.
Hermiston mayor Dave Drotzmann saying the event brings people from across the state
"People really love Hermiston watermelons, so they turn out in droves,"
Drotzmann said. "We're happy to do it, and we really appreciate the city of Portland
The watermelon giveaway is an annual event. The watermelons provided by Walchli and
UCSO searching for suspect Aug. 3, 2018
The Umatilla County Sheriffs Office sending out a bulletin yesterday and asking for
help. Multiple law enforcement agencies continuing to search for 25-year-old Zachary
Lorance Bartz. Hes wanted on an parole warrant from the state, and the Umatilla
County Sheriffs office is investigating Bartz in connection with several vehicle
thefts and other crimes in Umatilla County. Bartz is a white male, 5'10 and 170 pounds
with brown hair and brown eyes. The sheriffs office saying he should be considered
armed and dangerous.
Anyone with information regarding BARTZ is asked to contact the Umatilla
County Sheriffs Office, Det. Westmoreland, (541) 969-2600; Detective Ward
(541) 966-3638, or UCSO Dispatch at (541) 966-3651.
Parade tomorrow Aug. 3, 2018
The Umatilla County Fair parade is tomorrow. It winds through much of downtown Hermiston.
Police Chief Jason Edmiston says watch for traffic both vehicular and pedestrian
around the parade times. The parade begins at 6:30 and is expected to end around 10
Circuit Court restructured Aug. 3, 2018
Circuit Court Judge Eva Temple will no longer handle criminal cases in Umatilla County.
The move follows Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus objections to Temple
presiding over his criminal cases. Through a restructuring, Temple will now be the
administrative judge for all cases other than criminal, including small claims and
domestic relations. Criminal cases Temple currently has will to be handed to judge Dan
Hill, and all new cases in Umatilla County, regardless of where the crime takes place will
be sent to Pendleton until at least the end of 2018. The case load will include
judge-elect Rob Collins when he takes over for Lynn Hampton in January.
Port interviews candidates Aug. 3, 2018
The Port of Morrow will be hosting a community Meet & Greet at the Port of Morrow with
the four finalists for the Port's executive director position on Monday, August 6, 2018.
The event will be held at the Riverfront Room at the Port offices from 5-7 p.m.
The four finalists will be introduced and asked to give a short introduction speech
beginning at 5:30 p.m. Appetizers and a variety of non-alcoholic beverages will be served.
The finalists for the executive director position include Dean Gardner, of Selah, Wash,
· Dean Gardner of Selah Washington; currently with NextLevel: Building
Enterprise Value, former CEO of Larson Fruit Company, former CEO of United Pipe &
Supply, BBA & MBA in Marketing, Finance, Accounting from University of Texas.
· Ryan D. Neal of Boardman Oregon; currently General Manager of
Warehousing for Port of Morrow, former Director of Operations Haney Truck Line, former
Regional Sales Manager Knight Transportation, BS in Business from Oregon State University.
· Stephanie Seamans, CPA of Kennewick Washington; currently the
Community and Economic Development Manager for Benton-Franklin Council of Governments,
former Business Development Manager and CPA for Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian
Reservation, BS in Business Accounting from University of Idaho.
· Peter M. Wilhelm of Kennewick Washington; currently with QBM
Management INC. serving as Project Manager Boise/PCA Paper Mill Wallula, Washington,
former Plant Manager of Zeachem INC., BS in Mechanical Engineering from University of
Idaho, MBA from University of Oregon.
Milton-Freewater fire causes evacuations Aug. 2, 2018
Evacuations on the north end of Umatilla County yesterday after a fast moving fire
threatened homes near Milton-Freewater toward Walla Walla River Road. The fire reportedly
sparked by a combine yesterday morning off Lincton Mountain Road. Residents notified door
to door of the evacuation, which also impacted Harris Park. By 6 yesterday afternoon,
firefighters had the fire contained and no longer threatening homes. All roads reopened by
9 p.m., and mop up continued through the night.
Boardman man pleads not guilty in shooting Aug. 2, 2018
A Boardman man pleading not guilty yesterday to a shooting in May, but also facing charges
of erratic behavior.
33-year-old Alex Luis Ahumada, of Boardman, faces charges relating to the May 19 shooting
that injured Carlos Ramirez, of Hermiston. Ahumada was taken into custody May 23 after
barricading himself inside a Boardman home, then re-booked on July 31 on additional
charges, allegedly after biting a Pendleton police officer. He is housed at the Umatilla
county Jail on charges ranging from first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and
felon in possession of a weapon stemming from the shooting as well as
aggravated assault of a public safety officer, resisting arrest, menacing and attempted
escape. His bail at $538,500.
Fire updates for Lake Wallula, Wilson Prairie, Milepost 90 Aug. 1, 2018
A new fire burning in the area by MaryHill Winery in Washington - and already at
12,000 acres. The Milepost 90 fire burning across the Columbia River near Maryhill.
Its burning along Washingtons Highway 14. The Klickitat County Sheriffs
Office has issued evacuations. The Forest Service says that fire began yesterday afternoon
and grew to 12-hundred acres in 90 minutes. Its burning private lands and bureau of
Indian affairs property. Officials have closed SR-14 between U.S. 97 and U.S. 197.
Closer to home, The Lake Wallula Fire is now 96% contained. Firefighters today continued
to mop up the perimeter to ensure no heat sources remain that could kindle up and
reignite. Aerial reconnaissance utilizing GPS technology mapped the final area of the fire
at 12,462 acres. A fire investigator on scene yesterday in an effort to determine the
The Lake Wallula Fire started in the late afternoon on July 29 along U.S. Highway 730 near
Juniper Canyon and quickly spread up steep slopes through light fuels. To date no
structures have been lost or injuries incurred.
This morning's update on the Wilson Prairie Fire:
Umatilla National Forest officials have re-opened Bull Prairie Lake Campground and reduced
the closure area associated with the Wilson Prairie Fire to provide access to National
Forest lands not impacted by the wildfire or wildfire suppression efforts. A description
of the updated closure area is at the bottom of the news release.
We know Bull Prairie Lake Campground is an important area for our communities and
visitors, said Brandon Houck, Heppner District Ranger. Suppression efforts
have held the fire within its current footprint and we feel we can thoughtfully make some
adjustments to the closures while keeping firefighters and the public safe.
The Wilson Prairie Fire is currently 405 acres and 75% contained. A local Type 4
organization took command of the fire today at 6 a.m. Firefighters are continuing mop up
within the fire perimeter and completing suppression repair activities, including water
barring (an angled trench, to direct water off the fireline to prevent erosion), removal
of hose, and removal of trash from the fire line. Firefighters also continue to make
repairs to OHV trails impacted by fire line.
The Morrow County Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Park, restaurant, and campground remains open,
however some OHV trails may be impacted by the fire activity. Please observe all trail and
Umatilla man arrested in Richland shooting Aug. 1, 2018
A Umatilla man in custody in Richland, Washington, after allegedly shooting a woman in the
WinCo Foods grocery store on Monday evening. 45-year-old Matthew David McQuin allegedly
telling officers he believed the 33-year-old Richland resident he shot was following him
and planned to do him harm. He shot the woman, a stranger, in the head inside the grocery
store, before walking to the front of the store, setting down the gun and waiting for
police. He was taken into custody.
City plans time capsule July 31, 2018
The City of Hermiston is looking for items to include in a time capsule that will be will
closed up for 50 years. The capsule to be sealed during the dedication of the Harkenrider
Center on Sept. 8, 2018, and scheduled to be re-opened on Sept. 8 of 2068. Donated items
can be dropped off at the Hermiston Public Library now through Sept. 5. Library staff will
curate the donations to eliminate duplicates and items that may harm others if placed in
the capsule. Items that do not get included will be returned to the donor.
Highway re-opened, fire burns July 31, 2018
Highway 730 now reopened near Juniper Canyon, but fire still burning. Firefighters
continuing to work on the Lake Wallula Fire in Juniper Canyon, now estimated to be 10,490
acres. The fire began five miles east of Umatilla on BLM land. Its burning in brush,
and grasses in the area east of Umatilla and west of Helix. Multiple fire agencies as well
as U.S. forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and local ranchers battling that fire
aircraft has also dropped water and retardant to slow the fire progress.
Highway 730 has been reopened to traffic. Motorists are advised there is still active fire
near the highway and they should be alert to fire traffic, smoke and rolling material on
The Wilson Prairie Fire in Morrow County is now 75% contained.
UCSO searches for armed robbery suspect July 31, 2018
The Umatilla Sheriffs Office is searching for a suspect in an attempted armed
robbery. That robbery at 4:15 in the morning on Sunday. A man armed with a rifle, wearing
a black hooded sweatshirt and a dark green
bandanna over his face attempted to rob the Short Stop Gas Station located at 32553 East
Punkin Center Road in Hermiston.
Two employees reported that they were working outside the store when they saw the man
approach on foot from E. Punkin Center Road. According to the employees, the suspect
ordered one of them to go inside the store. Instead, both
employees ran across Hwy 207 and called 911. The employees also reported that the suspect
tried to open the cash register, but it was locked. When the suspect could not open the
cash register, he ran from the store without taking
anything. The suspect ran west on E. Punkin Center Road and then got into a white four
door sedan, unknown make or model. The car then drove west on E. Punkin Center Road,
according to the employees.
The employees further described the suspect as about 6 - 6'2" tall, weighing
approximately 120-140 pounds. He was also wearing a black baseball cap, dark colored
gloves and white plaid shorts with lime green and navy stripes, and
white socks pulled up over the calves. He was holding a black rifle.
UCSO asking anyone with information to call 541-966-3651.
Sheriff's Office releases DUII/HVE event results July 31, 2018
The Umatilla County Sheriffs Office conducted three enhanced patrol events during
the month of July: Fourth of July, Pendleton Whisky Music Fest, and Pendleton Bike Week.
Over the three events, deputies made 42 contacts with motorists, gave 23 verbal
warnings and issued 19 citations. Seven of the citations were for distracted driving
offenses, such as driving while using a cell
phone. Two DUII arrests were also made during the enhanced patrols.
The next grant event will be during the
Umatilla County Fair, August 6th through the 11th.
Please continue to report suspected drunk drivers by calling 541-966-3650, or 911 if it
appears to be an emergency.
Wilson Prairie Fire update July 27, 2018
Thanks to a helicopter flight, theyve updated the size of the fire to 437 acres
instead of the 700 previously reported. Thats good news its also now 30
percent contained, and 367 people are assigned to it with more on the way. The fire
burning in timber and grass on private and forest lands.
Closures remain in place in the Umatilla National Forest near Bull Prairie Lake and the
Wilson Prairie area. Bull Prairie Reservoir and Campground have been evacuated and are
A Community Meeting is planned tonight in Heppner at 5:00 pm at the Heppner City Hall at
111 North Main Street. Fire managers will provide a fire update with maps and an
questions and answers at the end of the presentations.
The cause of the fire still under investigation.
Elder Abuse program planned July 27, 2018
One in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse, and some
estimates are as high as 5 million abused a year,
Good Shepherd, and GOBHI bringing a presentation about elder abuse, self-neglect , and
other geriatric issues to Hermiston. On Monday, Aug. 6 expert and clinical social
worker Nirmala Dhar will lead that training at Good Shepherd Medical Center.
Health education director Juli Gregory says the sessions are open to anyone that works
with the elderly population. That will run from 2 to 4:30 on Aug. 6. You can register by
contacting Good Shepherd Health Education.
Fire burning in Morrow County, restrictions increase July 26, 2018
Multiple wildfires burning across the state, including the Wilson prairie fire in Morrow
County thats holding at 700 acres. Current resources on the fire includes
three helicopters, six crews, twelve engines, four dozers, and two tenders fighting that
fire, and the area near Bull Prairie Lake east of Highway 207 has been closed
including multiple forest roads as crews fight the fire. The Substation Fire near
the Dalles still holding at just under 79,000.
As we get closer to August, fire restrictions increasing again in Eastern Oregon's
national forests. Noel Livingston, the fire management officer for Wallowa-Whitman
National Forest says they know August is a high-risk month.
"We have a hot,dry summer, and August is, of course, the peak of that," he said.
"We're seeing a high potential for large fire in Eastern Oregon."
Starting one minute after midnight, the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National
Forests moving to Phase B restrictions - that impacts campfires, smoking, and generators.
Operating an internal combustion engine of any type including chainsaws, now prohibited
until restrictions are lowered. Campfires are also only allowed in designated campsites,
and motor vehicles traveling off designated forest roads and trails still prohibited. The
Washington Department of Natural Resources also placing similar restrictions.
City to change food truck rules July 25, 2018
The results of the food truck survey are in, and Hermiston City Staff are changing the
rules allowing more food trucks and considering a pilot of a food truck pod where
multiple food trucks would set up in one location.
Hermiston City Council on Monday authorizing city staff to draft a new ordinance for food
trucks that will likely increase the number of licenses from 3 to 6. They could vote on
that at their next meeting. Over the summer, the city is also creating a plan for what a
pilot of a food pod would look like.
Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says it would likely begin in 2019, and although the
pilot would be hosted on city property - possibly in the lot across from the Hermiston
Post Office - the pod would be controlled by a private property. Morgan says the city will
request proposals from a developer to put on the food pod. The manager would pay the rent
to the city, and they would then maintain rules and management of the food trucks. One
thing, Morgan says, is non-negotiable: the food trucks must be able to move at least once
Festival Street temporary closure July 24, 2018
Festival Street is going to be closing this week this time temporarily. The city
announcing today that festival street on 2nd will be closed tomorrow for sealant, and the
intersection of Main and 2nd will be closed on Thursday while the sealant cures. Both
areas will reopen for traffic on Friday morning.
Council talks resignation, noise tonight July 23, 2018
The Hermiston City Council accepting the resignation of City Councilor Clara
Beas-Fitzgerald during its meeting tonight. Beas-Fitzgerald saying she has other
priorities in her life she needs to focus on. Beas-Fitzgerald has served on the council
since August of 2014, and she did not seek re-election in the May primary. Roy Barron has
been elected to take over the Ward 2 seat in January. Tonight, the council will decide if
it will appoint someone to fill the vacancy between now and January, if it will suspend
council rules and appoint councilor-elect Roy Barron to the position early or simply leave
the spot unfilled. City staff is recommending appointing Roy Barron early.
Also during the meeting, the council will have a public hearing about the zoning amendment
for accessory dwelling units and will adopt ordinances about those residences as well as a
new noise ordinance.
That meeting begins at 7 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. A meeting of the Urban Renewal
agency will follow the council meeting.
Prescription Trails considered for Umatilla County July 23, 2018
Your doctor could soon give you a prescription for walking. The Healthy Communities
Coalition working at bringing Prescription Trails to Umatilla County.Coalition Chairwoman
Juli Gregory says it answers questions people have when their doctor says to be more
"Some people don't know where to start," she said. "If someone is starting
out, having a doctor say, 'This is what we want you to do, and then we'll see you in six
weeks or two months and we'll grow it from there.;"
Prescription Trails is a program out of New Mexico that involves mapping trails, preparing
those trails for travel by those who need an even surface or who need to use a walker or a
wheelchair, and then providing prescriptions for providers to give to patients along with
The group is hoping to partner with local organizations to offer walking groups as well.
Gregory says the coalition is looking at beginning with the Greater Hermiston area,
including Umatilla and Echo and mapping both indoor and outdoor walking opportunities. The
group is currently applying for grants for the program.
UCSO, HPD ask public to report suspicious behaviors, thefts July 20, 2018
Thefts in the news, from the Hermiston Police Department's ongoing attempts to return
property stolen from storage sheds to vehicles the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office
recovered last week from outside of Hermiston. Sheriff Terry Rowan says the site on Echols
Road had items stolen from as far as Morrow County to Pendleton - and sometimes they can't
return everything because it wasn't reported stolen.
"We see particular items that we know darn well were stolen, b ut we can't associate
it to a case or anything like that," Rowan said. "Sometimes people have
something take from them, and they say, 'Oh, what good is it going to do to report it.'
What I would ask folks to do is anytime they have suspicious activity or theft to report
In that situation, if law enforcement cannot prove an item was stolen or link it back to
an existing case, the alleged criminal may get to keep it - even if they are found guilty
of stealing other items.
Rowan says be as descriptive as possible with your items so if law enforcement finds it,
they can return it to you - and not let a thief keep it.
Speaking of crimes, the Hermiston Police Department saying officers have received reports
of a person going door-to-door claiming hes doing crime prevention work on behalf of
the police department. HPD saying they arent connected with the individual and
havent authorized anyone to do crime prevention work on their behalf. Solicitors in
Hermiston must be licensed in order to sell goods or services from door to
door in the city of Hermiston. Those are licensed through the city of Hermiston, and a
list of those who have valid licenses is on the citys website. HPD saying If you
have information on that individual or want to verify the identity of someone at your
door, call 567-5519 and speak to dispatch.
Work begins soon on Highland Extension July 18, 2018
Earlier this week, the Stanfield City Council opening bids on its Stage Gulch Trail
project. After a long wait, the city of Hermiston is getting ready to break ground on a
trail project of its own: The West Highland Trail Extension. The city has received a grant
from ODOT to extend a trail from where the sidewalk ends on Highland near Gotta
Stop all the way to Riverfront Park, traveling under the overpass bridge for
City Planner Clint Spencer says the project should take about 80 days to complete once
work begins in August. Right now, theyre not predicting any lane closures.
Updates on Wildland Hinton Creek Fire July 19, 2018
The Wildland Hinton Creek Fire near Heppner out. Morrow County Sheriffs Office
saying the fire burned between 15,000 and 20,000 acres mostly between hinton Creek and
Willow Creek. It burned grassland, fences, and corrals, and no structures were lost. There
were 11 residences threatened, as well 66 outbuildings. The fire pulled together
assistance from a dozen fire agencies as well as local farmers and ranchers and other
companies. The cause of that fire still under investigation, although early investigation
suggesting it may have been started by farm equipment.
Fire devastates Hermiston home July 18, 2018
A fire this morning north of Hermiston on Birtrand Street. The fire beginning around 5:40
this morning, and Umatilla County Fire District 1 dispatched before 6 a.m. That fire
consuming a manufactured home, but crews keeping the fire from spreading to other
UMCF#1 firefighters respond to a home fire north of Hermiston on Wednesday.
A grass fire also happening yesterday in Heppner burning as many as 50,000 acres in some
counts, and multiple wildfires also burning in the state, including The Silver Creek Fire
near Silverton and The Powerstation Fire southeast of the Dalles. That has grown to more
than 29-thousand acres since it started Tuesday Afternoon. One home destroyed as well as
UCSO searching for two suspects July 17, 2018
Umatilla County Sheriffs Office recovering stolen property and looking for a
Last week, detectives received a tip about several stolen vehicles on a property on Echols
Road near Hermiston. Through a search warrant, deputies found and recovered two stolen
Chevrolet pickups, a dump trailer, a cargo trailer, a John Deere front loader, a large
amount of stolen copper wire and span cable, power tools, and many other items.
They are looking for a suspect in the case: 25-year-old Zachary Bartz. He was not at the
location when the search warrant was served, and two other individuals were questioned and
released at the scene. This case remains under investigation.
The Umatilla County Sheriff's Office is also asking assistance to identify a female
suspect in a case involving multiple fraudulent transactions on a Visa Card in the
The woman captured on security footage.
Anyone having information on either suspect is asked to contact the 24 hour dispatch
center at 541-966-3651.
Stanfield talks odor, trail July 17, 2018
Odor concern updates and bids opening for the stage gulch trail project tonight at the
Stanfield City Council meeting.
Complaints again escalating this month about the 3D Idapro Plant on Hoosier Lane, and the
council is expected to discuss those. Theyll also open bids for the stage gulch
trail, a plan that will link multiple Stanfield parks.
Stanfield City Manager Blair Larsen says the trail will be made of tightly packed gravel
capable of having a wheelchair on it because the flood plain prevents
putting down asphalt or concrete. That meeting at 7 tonight in the council chambers at 150
W. Coe Avenue.
Agape House Scramble for Food is tomorrow July 13, 2018
Tomorrow, the final day to register and participate in the Agape House
Scramble for Food golf tournament. Dave Hughes says its not too late to join
you can still register during check in tomorrow morning.
"We are happy to accommodate people who say, 'gee, I'm going to get up and go play in
that tournament today,'" Hughes said. "The tournament supports our food program,
so it's golfing for a worthy cause."
Check-in begins at 8, and the tournament begins at 9 at Big River Golf Course in Umatilla.
Lunch, prizes, and awards will be presented.
A reminder the tomorrow is also FunFest, including the Eastern Oregon Art Show and the
dedication of Festival Street as well as Caledonia Days in Athena and the Pendleton Whisky
Festival in Pendleton. The Umatilla County Sheriffs Office will have enhanced
patrols this weekend watching for distracted and impaired drivers.
Food vendor survey deadline approaching July 13, 2018
Finally, this weekend Sunday is the last day to participate in the City of
Hermistons survey on food trucks. Hermiston City Planner Clint Spencer says
theyve had high turnout.
"We've got almost 800 responses on the food vendors survey, and running actually in
the 80 to 90 percent in favor of more licenses and other expanded options," Spencer
After the survey closes, they will compile the data and present the information to the
Hermiston City Council, then theyll look at changing the ordinance within the city.
The food truck survey closes on Sunday you can find links on the citys
website or in the local news section of gohermiston.com and the citys other
public survey going on right now, about storage containers, will close on the 22nd.
Spencer says they have about 300 responses so far on the shipping container survey.
HHS Class of 2019 will graduate at Toyota Center July 11, 2018
The Hermiston High School class of 2019 will likely graduate at the Toyota Center in
Tri-Cities. The Hermiston School Board of Education making that decision Monday night
after a report about audience - and graduate - reactions to the the class of 2018's
graduation at the Toyota Center last month.
The school board also approving hiring contract and recognizing the Hermiston High School
Trap Shooting Team on Monday.
Trap Team heading to Michigan, with help from UCSO July 11, 2018
Speaking of that team...They are headed to Mason, Michigan for the USA National Trap
Shooting Championships. Hermiston School Board member Karen Sherman says the Six of the 38
students who participated in the trap shooting team are competing at nationals.
"We are excited that we have the team that is going to compete at the national
level," she said. "We are now looking at being ranked third in the nation - and
if they do well, they would bring home a national title."
The Umatilla County Sheriffs Office partnering with the Oregon State Sheriffs
Association (OSSA) to
Help pay for transportation. Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan saying the six students
have worked extremely hard and rely on volunteers na donations so the sheriffs
office is proud to support their program.
Stanfield Police make multiple arrests July 11, 2018
The Stanfield Police Department making multiple arrests this week, including a pursuit
ended when the suspect ran out of gas and a traffic stop that netted three arrests.
On Monday, officers attempted to stop 42-year-old Travis Hackett, of Walla Walla. Hackett
had allegedly been driving erratically on his motorcycle, including weaving in traffic and
driving with his hands up. He attempted to elude officers for about 25 miles until he ran
out of gas. Hackett arrested and charged with attempt to elude and a warrant out of
On Tuesday, a traffic stop on Coe Avenue in Stanfield ended with the arrests of driver
33-year-old Lawrence Montez, charged with processions of methamphetamine and unlawful
possession of a weapon, and passengers 26-year-old Rebecca Ramirez and 24-year-old Marissa
Gonzalez each arrested on felony warrants.
City launches survey on shipping container July 9, 2018
The second survey from the City of Hermiston is now live - this one the shipping container
ordinance the city is considering. The survey is available in English and Spanish and
focuses on finding, "a balance between protecting neighborhood quality and providing
affordable solutions for storage needs." That survey will be open until July 22.
The city also has a survey open on mobile food vendors, and that survey closes July 15.
To participate in the shipping container survey click here for English and here for
City Council talks food vendors, School Board preps for school year July 9, 2018 City Council
Speaking of that first survey, the Hermiston City Council expected to have a report on the
status of mobile vendors during its meeting tonight. The City Council also talking
priorities and future decisions during its meeting tonight. That begins with a work
session to discuss priorities for the League of Oregon Cities. The work session begins at
6, and the regular meeting begins at 7, both at Hermiston City Hall. During the regular
meeting, the council will also meet in a closed-door, executive session. Find the full
agenda here. School Board
More than 26 items on the agenda for the Hermiston School Board tonight, many of them
preparing for the next school year, including hiring, grant authorizations and pay rates
for substitute teachers. The board will also talk about last months graduation
ceremony and will recognize the high school trap shooting team. That meeting begins at
6:30 in the boardroom at the district offices. The full agenda is available
Hart sees 75% increase in one year July 9, 2018
Ridership on Hermistons recently created HART fixed-route bus service is
up 75% in 2018; a steep climb from its first full year of operation in 2017. Ridership
data from KAYAK Public Transit shows nearly twice as many people used the service in the
2nd Quarter of 2018 compared to the year prior.
The HARTs had 168 riders in its first month of operation, in January, 2017, In June,
that number was up to 459. City staff saying they expect more than 4,500 rides by the end
of the year.
Street project update in Hermiston July 6, 2018
Street projects begin Wednesday in Hermiston. The city doing street maintenance July 11-13
thats next Wednesday through Friday. It's part of the city's Street
Preservation Program, and repairs scheduled throughout the city. Find the map and more
Speaking of street projects, the parking lot behind the Hermiston Public Library now open.
That parking lot re-organized and now one level. It will serve as the parking lot for the
Harkenrider Senior Center as well. That building mostly completed, and Fetter say s
Irrigation and landscape preparation work going on now. Fetter says the Harkenrider Center
will have a dedication in the middle of September.
Fireworks spark fires July 5, 2018
Fires from fireworks on the 4th of July as well as wildfires around the Pacific Northwest.
Umatilla County Fire District 1 responded to seven separate fires yesterday the
majority caused by fireworks. A grass fire started near Boardman endangered homes, and
small fires were reported in Pendleton as well.
Some fires are started by the firework lighting others in trash and garbage cans
after. Over the past five years, from 2013 through 2017, there were 1,355 reported
fireworks-related fires in Oregon resulting in one death, 34 injuries, and more than $3
million in property damage
Speaking of injuries, in addition to responding to 7 fires yesterday, Umatilla County Fire
District 1 also had 13 medical calls 20 for the whole shift and two motor
Umatilla names Mabbott interim manager July 5, 2018
On Tuesday night, the City of Umatilla named Tamra Mabbott as its interim city manager.
Current City Manager Russ Pelleberg has accepted an administrator position out of state
and will be leaving Umatilla later this month. Mabbott is the citys community
development director. She has been with the city for just under a year.
Morrow County warns about RVs July 5, 2018
Morrow County reminding residents that while recreational vehicles are great for camping
and use in RV parks, the use of a recreational vehicle as a permanent dwelling outside of
an RV Park is not allowed within Morrow County. RVs are only allowed on temporary basis to
accommodate visitor in a residential or farm zone for 30 days or fewer or
for seasonal recreational use by a land owner who has received a permit. If you have other
questions, contact the Morrow County Planning Department.
Umatilla STEAM Academy wins grant July 3, 2018
Two million dollars coming to the Umatilla School District over the next five years. The
Oregon Department of Education has awarded the Umatilla School Districts STEAM
Academy a five-year grant that gives $467,000 a year for the first three years and 75% of
that amount for years four and five.
The district received a 21st CCLC grant in 2004 and in 2013, and has offered some level of
after-school programming consistently since 2003. The grant will fund the
districts after-school programs, summer school, evening education and mental health
services. Nearly half the student population attends after-school programming at some
point during the school year.
Stanfield, Boardman prep for 4th July 3, 2018
Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, and in Stanfield, the celebration begins tonight with the
annual Steak Feed. Stanfield City Manager Blair Larson says all funds support making the
fourth of July happen next year.
That begins at 6 tonight in Bard Park. Tomorrow, Stanfield s activities begin with
the Firemans Breakfast at 7. Also at 7, registration for the Fun Run and the 3 on 3
tournament. The parade begins at 8, followed by a celebration in Bard Park from 11 until
3. That does include the return of the duck race and a pie baking contest. Stanfield will
have fireworks at dusk as well.
For more on Stanfields celebration and registering for any of those events, contact
Stanfield City Hall, Main Street Market, or the Stanfield Public Library.
In Boardman, also a huge celebration.
The color run opens the day a 5K and 10K with red, white, and blue color
packets. They also have a basketball tournament, a parade at 11, and events go all the way
until dark with the fireworks show.
For more information on Boardmans activities, contact the Boardman chamber of
A reminder of tomorrows Stars and Stripes Celebration in Hermiston. Events at Butte
Park during the day and the fireworks at 10 p.m.
Law enforcement hit roads for Fourth July 3, 2018
Tonight and tomorrow, both the Hermiston Police Department and The Umatilla County
Sheriffs Office will have more deputies on the roads and waterways as part of a
DUII/High Visibility Enforcement grant. Theyll be looking primarily for distracted
and impaired drivers, including those under the influence of alcohol, legal or illegal
drugs, including prescriptions.
The sheriffs office also has high visibility patrols scheduled this month during the
Pendleton Whisky Music Fest thats July 13 through 14 and Pendleton
Bike Week July 17 through July 22.
These events are funded through a grant from the Oregon State Sheriffs Association.
If you see a suspected impaired driver or boater report it by calling
541-966-3651, or 911 if it appears to be an emergency.
The fourth of July is the deadliest holiday on Oregon roads: 39 people were killed in
crashes between 2013 and 2017, and 63 percent of those involved drivers who had been
Fire Chief warns of illegal fireworks July 2, 2018
The fourth of July is in two days, and Umatilla county Fire District 1 Chief Scott Stanton
says theyve already burned the area under where professional fireworks will be shot
in Stanfield and at the Hermiston Butte to help prevent fires. Theyve scheduled
additional volunteer help if anything does ignite, and now theyre focusing on
reducing fires from amateur fireworks.
"We obviously see a lot of folks shooting off illegal fireworks in the air on the
4th, but you also have to understand that the use of illegal fireworks may result in some
law enforcement action," Stanton said. "If a fire is started from illegal
fireworks, the responsible party or property owner could be billed for services
Those services including law enforcement and the fire district putting out the fire. If
you are using amateur fireworks, make sure to only purchase those at inspected vendors
within the state not in other states or reservations keep a supply of water
nearby as a precaution, and never shoot fireworks under structures or near dry grasses.
Its also recommended to keep pets indoors during fireworks shows both amateur
City survey on food trucks opens July 2, 2018
Your opinion on food trucks wanted by the city of Hermiston. The City releasing an online
survey on Friday asking for input before amending the mobile vending ordinance. City
Planner Clint Spencer says its something the city has been reviewing the ordinance
because of a need.
"At least every two weeks I get a phone call from somebody asking, 'How can I get a
(food vendor) license?' I always have to tell them I don't have any available,"
Spencer said. "There's definitely a market and a demand, but right now, I can't
The city currently only offers three licenses a year, and they are looking for input
before changing that. Spencer says the city will also soon be launching a survey on
storage containers as well.
The food truck survey will close on Sunday, July 15.
To complete the survey, click here for English and here for Spanish.
Merkley schedules town halls June 29, 2018
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley scheduling two local town hall meetings on July 8. He'll be at the
Pendleton Early Learning Center at 1 p.m., then the Riverfront Room at the Port of Morrow
at 4 p.m..
Senator Merkley will update constituents on his work in Washington, D.C., answer their
questions and invite their suggestions about how to tackle the challenges facing Oregon
Visit this link for
directions and more information.
Umatilla City Manager resigns June 28, 2018
Umatilla City Manager Russ Pelleberg tendering his resignation yesterday morning to the
mayor and city council. Pelleberg says he's accepted a city administrator position at a
city in Washington. The city manager says it's bittersweet leaving the city as projects
and construction is picking up.
"It's exciting times, and I feel kind of sad to be leaving in the middle of all of
it," Pelleberg said. "On the flip side, I am super excited about new adventures
in Washington state."
Pelleberg says they're working on easing the transition to the next city manager. There is
a special city council meeting scheduled for tonight - the only item on the agenda is an
executive session to discuss personnel. Pelleberg won't say which city yet - it hasn't
been announced by that city - he did say his last day in Umatilla is July 27.
PILT payments on the way June 28, 2018
About $37 million awarded to counties in the state of Oregon for payments in lieu of taxes
or PILT payments. Those are federal payments to local governments that help offset losses
in property tax because of non-taxable federal lands, including forest and BLM lands. PILT
payments totaling $552.8 million were made to over 1,900 local governments this year.
Umatilla County receiving just over $1 million from Payments in Lieu of Taxes. Morrow
county receiving about $370,000. Deschutes receiving the most of any Oregon county at $3
Blue Mountain Forest Plan released tomorrow June 28, 2018
Tomorrow, the final revision of the Blue Mountain Forest Plan being released. Its a
document that County Commissioner Larry Givens says has been 17 years in the making. The
plan sets out guidelines and rules for Blue Mountain Forests including the
Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, and Malheur National Forests in a variety of areas,
including grazing and thinning of forests to prevent large wildfires.
Givens saying the plan is a compromise for all groups involved, and the U.S. Forest
Service says the plan supports the Forest Service mission "to sustain the
health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the
needs of present and future generations." Once the revised Forest Plans are fully
implemented, they have the potential to annually support up to 2,820 jobs and $113.6
million in labor income. There will be a 60-day public comment period that opens tomorrow
when the plan is released. Find more information by clicking
Fire season begins in Northeast Oregon June 27, 2018
Fire season will begin tomorrow in Northeast Oregon. The Oregon Department of Forestry
setting that season to begin one minute after midnight tonight. Joe Hessell, with ODF,
says most of the state is already in fire season.
"What I tell people is things will be hot and dry in Northeast Oregon and Central
Oregon most of the summer," he said. "For this year, a lot of Oregon is already
experiencing above average burning conditions.
Fire season puts fire prevention restrictions and regulations in place. The restrictions
cover about 2 million acres in Eastern Oregon.
UCSO to have extra patrols for 4th June 27, 2018
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says the Sheriffs Office will have extra patrols
on the roads and the waterways - for the holiday next week. The extra staff make up
enhanced patrols, which are designed to make law enforcement more visible, to increase
public awareness of law enforcement and support following all laws including
avoiding distracted driving, driving under the influence and boating under the influence.
Hermiston Council votes of $4.5M for streets June 25, 2018
Tonight, the Hermiston City Council voting on an agreement that would make street upgrades
on North First Place through a $4.5 million award from the Oregon Legislature. Assistant
City Manager Mark Morgan says the biggest question is whether the money will be enough for
the project by the time the city receives it.The city council will vote on an
intergovernmental agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation tonight, and
theyll start talking priorities in the project that includes widening the street,
installing sidewalks and expanding the traffic signal at the intersection of First and
Because of the legislation in the monetary award, only projects on north First place are
eligible. The money expected to come in in the 2022-23 fiscal year, but Morgan saying they
hope if their plan is ready, they may be able to receive funding a bit earlier. That
meeting begins at 6 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. Find the full agenda here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com
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
firstname.lastname@example.org, 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
email@example.com 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.