by News Director Jennifer Colton
541.567.6500 or 541.289.NEWS or KOHUnews@gmail.com
HSD picks Jacobsma to lead Desert View May 24, 2017
The Hermiston School district has picked a new principal for Desert View Elementary. Laura
Jacobsma chosen for that role. Shes currently an instructional coach at Oakridge
Elementary in Oakridge. District Superintendent Fred Maiocco will recommend the school
board approve Jacobsma on Monday, June 12. If selected, shell begin July 1.
Mosquito spray Thursday May 24, 2017
The West Umatilla Mosquito Control District doing targeted aerial spraying after sunset
tomorrow. Thats weather permitting. 10,000 acres targeted including the areas North
and East of the Hermiston city limits, highway 730 between Umatilla and the Morrow County
Line and portions of East Loop Road. Ground trucks to be used in city limits. The mosquito
district saying this spring theyve already surpassed the number of service requests
than it received all of last year.
Dirk Dirkson on Odds & Ends
On Tuesday's Odds & Ends Program, Jennifer talks with Dirk Dirkson, Superintendent of
the Morrow County School District. Listen here.
Main Street closure Wednesday May 24, 2017
Hermiston's Main Street will be closed today for a downtown cleanup event. It could last
until 3 p.m. The closure will affect Main Street between Highway 395 and Third Street.
Businesses will still be open and parking available in back parking lots and all side
Miss Monday's Odds & Ends Show?
Jennifer talks with Marika Sitz, coordinator of the Oregon Water Coalition, and JR Cook,
director of the Northeast Water Association about water issues in the Columbia basin and
the upcoming annual meeting in Hermiston. Listen here.
Students present research tonight May 23, 2017
Tonight, a Research Night presented by Hermiston High School students or
Oregon Teacher Pathway. It starts at 6 p.m. in the HHS Library, and students will be
presenting original research through a gallery walk. Juan Rodriguez says its a
chance for the students in the teaching class to present the research theyve been
working on all year.
"It's a good opportunity for community members to come out and see what our students'
thoughts are on the different issues that are in our school system and how they think they
would solve them," Rodriguez said.
The presentations include topics how does music affect academic performance and how GPA
requirements affect student athletes. Six students are presenting, and Rodriguez says the
students have crafted posters similar to you would see at a college symposium.
The Research Night in the library at Hermiston high school. You can contact HHS for more
Fatal fire near Milton-Freewater May 22, 2017
A fire-related death in Milton-Freewater early Monday morning. The Umatilla County
Sheriffs Office saying Marcos Jesus Gutierrez-Rodriguez identified as the victim of
an early morning outdoor fire under the Eastside Bridge along the banks of the Walla Walla
River. He was 29. Law enforcement from Milton-Freewater responding to the area about 1:35
a.m. for a fire; after putting out the fire, they discovered the body among the debris.
The Sheriffs Office saying the location appeared to be a campsite with canned food,
cooking and eating utensils and bedding materials. Evidence at the scene suggesting a camp
or cooking fire spread through the area while he was sleeping, and theres no
evidence of foul play.
Wind contest sending RHS students to Anaheim May 19, 2017
Next week, four students from Boardmans Riverside High School plan to fly to Anaheim
and compete in the KidWind Challenge, a wind turbine design challenge for students. The
Boardman team theyre called Team charge took first at a local
competition their school hosted and are now fundraising to make it to Anaheim for the
national event May 24 and 25th.
In the competition, students design a wind turbine and put it against other designs to try
and produce the most power.
Martin Chavez says Team charge studied existing windmills and spoke with technicians in
creating their design, and teammate Andrew Barker says he first realized they had a shot
at winning with their design at the local competition.
"When I realized we were going to be able to do something with this competition was
at the competition," Barker says. "We had a fairly highly scoring on how much
power we produced."
In addition to Chavez and Barker, the team also includes Melissa Smith and Sterling
The students have washed cars every weekend and are more than halfway toward their goal of
$4000. They say they're excited about the opportunity and none have been to Anaheim
For more information contact Riverside High School or visit the team's
2nd annual Fiesta de Salud this Sunday May 19, 2017
Sunday, the second annual Fiesta de Salud at Mirasol Family Health Center.
"We will have live band, we will have a mariachi, lots of prizes, and fiesta foods is
also hosting $1 tacos," says Justine Taylor. "We're really excited about it
because last year we had over 800 people come and attend, and this year, we're hoping
we'll have more."
Immunizations, sports physicals, and well-child checks available whether you are or
are not a patient at Mirasol. Theyll have zumba classes, yoga classes, kids games,
and car seat clinics. Local community partners, from the fire department through to the
county health department, will also be there offering information and family activities.
Fiesta de Salud runs from 12 to 4 this Sunday at Mirasol Health Clinic in Hermiston.
Miss today's Odds & Ends Show?
Jennifer talks with Echo Middle School students Elliot Glenn, Ashley Mack, Caiden Harris
and Echo Superintendent Raymon Smith about the Little Mermaid Musical as well as BMCC
Hermiston Director J Keys. Listen here.
Hermiston schools consider enrollment May 17, 2017
The Hermiston School Districts proposed bond fell short on this weeks election
day, but district staff saying theyll still need to find solutions for the
districts growing enrollment. Assistant Superintendent Tricia Mooney says enrollment
continues to follow the growth trends.
"As of May 1, we were at 5,609 students K-12," she said. "That is down
slightly from what we had last month by about six students - but above what we had this
month last year by 160 students."
For the enrollment dip at the end of the school year, Mooney says those six students may
be those who have completed programs and graduated.
Hermiston Board members and district staff have said they'll work together to seek
solutions to how to address enrollment and growth challenges.
Statewide, voters approved 10 school bonds while five failed to pass. The largest, for
Portland Public Schools, came in at $790 million. The bonds that did not pass were in
Hermiston, Ontario, South Umpqua, Yoncalla and Coos Bay. In Coos Bay, the bond failed by
EOU, BMCC sign partnership May 17, 2017
In other education news, yesterday afternoon, Eastern Oregon University and Blue Mountain
Community College inking a deal with co-enrollment and co-admission at each institution,
which means students will complete a new joint application and receive academic advising,
tutoring, and library access from each BMCC and EOU. Tuition and fees will be assessed
based on courses taken at each school. BMCC President Cam Preus says EOU is BMCCs
highest transfer partner and this eases the process for student while strengthening the
relationship between the two eastern Oregon institutions.
Kay moving to Walla Walla May 17, 2017
A release yesterday from Walla Walla Public Schools. Mike Kay has been hired as director
of facilities and operations for the Washington School District. The announcement follows
news that Kay will leave the Hermiston School District this summer. He has worked in
Hermiston since 2004 and is currently the executive director of operations
Note: Our apologies for the gap in news posted on this page during a technology
UPDATE May 10: Hanford reports tunnel cave-in May 10, 2017
Work began last night to repair a cave-in at a tunnel in the Hanford Site in Richland.
The U.S. Department of Energy activating emergency operations protocol in Hanford Site
yesterday after a cave-in hit a tunnel used to store contaminated materials near a former
chemical processing facility.
"Crews are still on scene assessing the situation - too early to know what caused the
roof to cave in. We may not know that for some time," Spokesman Destry Henderson
In a statement, Henderson say work began about 8 last night to stabilize and fill the
opening over the tunnel. Theyll continue filling soil through the day. Theyve
also had some work cancellations for employees in the affected area.
Workers near at Hanford were advised to shelter in-place as a precaution yesterday while
the facility testing for airborne radiation. Access to the east area of the site
restricted. Staff at the Hanford Site saying there are no reports of injuries, no evidence
of contamination outside of the tunnel and no action required for residents of Benton and
Franklin counties or anywhere outside that area. The affected tunnel leads to the
Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility and is typically covered by about eight feet of
soil. Workers this morning noticed a depression between two and four feet deep
over the tunnel during routine surveillance, prompting the emergency response. The
tunnels hold railcars of highly contaminated materials, backed into the tunnels as a
disposal method with reports saying decontaminating the rail cars would cause extreme
safety hazards for workers
Emergency drill in Hermiston May 10, 2017
On May 11, an emergency drill and emergency notification system test. It will start around
6 in the evening and will include emergency vehicles, police vehicles and ambulances. As
well, some Hermiston residents may receive a text message or phone call notifying them
that the emergency drill is taking place no response needed. Umatilla County
Emergency Management asking residents not to call 911 unless they need assistance from
emergency services. If a real emergency were to happen, residents would receive
information and emergency instructions.
Umatilla taking council applications May 10, 2017
In the city of Umatilla, theyre still looking for applicants to fill two open
positions on the Umatilla City Council. City Manager Russ Pelleburg says those spots could
be open to anyone who has lived in Umatilla for more than an year."We'd encourage
anyone who's interested in serving on city council to come by City Hall and pick up the
appropriate paperwork," he said. "I think (a good candidate) it's just someone
that truly wants to be engaged."
At the meeting in June, the council will interview those who have applied and pick two
members to serve. You can get more information and apply at Umatilla City Hall.
Parking lot closure at Good Shepherd May 8, 2017
Starting today, May 8, parking lot closures expected at Good Shepherd Medical Center. The
first half of the main parking lot closing as part of the construction project, making
parking in front of the hospital scarce. Red zones are designed for patients, family and
visitors. Its part of the Good
Shepherd Medical Plaza North Wing Expansion and Campus Renewal project that
doesn include 4,100 tons of asphalt to create new parking lots and repave the existing, as
well as changing the flow of traffic.
School Board, City Council meet May 8, 2017
Tonight, meetings for both the Hermiston School District and Hermiston City Council.
The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Hermiston City Hall. The agenda includes amending
the contract between the city and the chamber of commerce through the end of the calendar
year, approving the council goal setting report and considering re-striping parking places
from parallel to diagonal on Second Street between Main Street and Hurlburt Avenue. The
council and city manager will also have a work session on the citys reorganization
plan at 6 before the regular meeting.
Find the agenda for the meeting here.
The school district meeting begins at 6:30 in the boardroom at the District Offices on
11th Street. During the meeting, the district to declare Teacher Appreciation Week,
discuss flex and hybrid learning, and approve a contract with the districts teachers
thats the licensed employees. Theyll also consider raising the prices
of school lunches by a dime across the board and approving the 2017-18 district calendar.
link for the School Board agenda.
Odds & Ends Program May 3, 2017
On this Wednesday edition of the Odds & Ends Program, our guests were Cindy Middleton,
Rian Middleton, and Sydnay Seavert talking about the iCanBike program and Cecili Longhorn,
librarian at the Stanfield Public Library, talking about events going on in the Stanfield
community - and with the library. Listen here.
U-P rail work ramps up in Hermiston May 4, 2017
Crews are out and about on the rail lines through Hermiston today, and Union-Pacific says
its part of a track maintenance program thats replacing 10,000 railroad ties
in Umatilla County.
"The specific project that folks are likely seeing right now in the Hermiston area is
a railroad tie replacement project where we have a crew out there replacing roughly 10,000
railroad ties and upgrading that line," says U-P representative Justin Jacobs.
Jacobs says work in this region began on April 24 and could continue through mid-May,
although not all of that work will be within the city of Hermiston.
The total project is running from Oakridge to Portland to re lace more than 102,000
railroad ties. Flaggers stationed at affected intersections, holding traffic during
transportation of materials and equipment.
"Please take extra precaution when you're on those locations," Jacobs says.
"At the end of the day, this is really to make the railroad more safe and efficient
to transport the goods and services folks need there in Oregon."
Its a $14.3 million dollar project, and one of the main recommendations from Union
Pacific: Pay attention and keep safe.
Hermiston man charged with sex with 12-year-old May 4, 2017
Umatilla County Sheriffs Office arresting a man for alleged sexual assault.
24-year-old Elias Nava Flores, from Hermiston, arrested on charges of first-degree rape,
sodomy, and unlawful possession of methamphetamine. Flores allegedly had sexual contact
with a child younger than 12, according to a press release. Hes lodged at the
Umatilla County jail.
GSCHSF looking for members May 3, 2017
The Good Shepherd Community Health Foundation has a name in the community, but a new group
is just getting its feet: The Good Shepherd Community Health Student Foundation.
"Because this is our first year of the foundation, we're just looking to grow and
expand with more recruitment," Student foundation member Canden Gutierrez said.
"We're in a recruitment process right now to build our foundation with new
The student foundation supplements and supports the foundation as well as providing
leadership opportunities for high school and college students. That also lends itself to
They are actively recruiting members right now, looking for about 20 members in its first
year. Interested members must be a sophomore in high school through to any full-time
college student. The group meets monthly at Good Shepherd Medical Center.
The student foundation does have information up on the website for the adult foundation.
You can also email GSCHSF16@gmail.com
For more information, you can contact Liz Marvin, College Bound Coordinator for Hermiston
High School, or Jacelyn Keys at BMCC for more information.
Dufloth new Umatilla mayor May 3, 2017
Daren Dufloth the new mayor of Umatilla. The Umatilla City Council appointing Dufloth last
night to fill the rest of the term Dave Trott was elected to. Trott resigned in March.
Dufloth has lived in Umatilla for 19 years. He is a business owner, former city councilman
and a volunteer with local schools and Babe Ruth baseball. He had previously run for mayor
once before, losing to Karen Steen, who served three months of her term.
Well have more with Dufloth later this week.
During the meeting last night, the council also declaring two vacancies: one for David
Lougee and one for Mary Dedrick, who stepped down after the meeting.
Alleged shooter arrested May 2, 2017
Law enforcement filling North First Place yesterday afternoon in a high-risk arrest of
26-year-old Cesar Jimenez. Police from two counties bringing charges against the Pendleton
man, who has been arrested.
Morrow County Sheriffs Office receiving a report of a man treated for gunshot wounds
later Saturday evening at Good Shepehrd Medical Center. The victim, a 33-year-old man from
Boardman, had received two non-life threatening gunshot wounds while at a home on Frontage
Road and the suspect was Cesar Jimenez. According to a press release from the
Morrow County Sheriffs office, the Morrow County incident began Jimenez active
Saturday, which also included incidents in Umatilla and in Hermiston where shots were
Police saying Jimenez brandishing a rifle at a home in Hermiston on Saturday afternoon and
began a fight with a former girlfriend before firing several rounds into the tires of a
Honda Accord with an adult and three children inside. There were no injuries at
Police coordinated to close off Old River Road in Hermisotn yesterday afternoon to detain
Jimenez. The firearm used in the shooting incidents was found in his possession.
Jimenez in the Umatilla County Jail on charges of:
1 count of - MENACING (SIMPLE ASSAULT) [Misdemeanor] Bail: $5000
1 count of - UNLAWFUL USE OF A WEAPON (POSSESS ILLEGALLY) Bail: $10000
1 count of - FELON IN POSSESSION WEAPON Bail: $10000
1 count of - CARRYING OF CONCEALED WEAPONS [Misdemeanor] Bail: $2500
1 count of - ROBBERY I (OTHER) [Felony] Bail: $50000
1 count of - ATTEMPTED MURDER [Felony] Bail: $250000
1 count of - ASSAULT I [Felony] Bail: $250000
1 count of - UNLAWFUL POSSESS FIREARM Bail: $5000
1 count of - UNLAWFUL USE OF A WEAPON (SHOOT IN PROHIBITED AREA) Bail: $10000
1 count of - MENACING (SIMPLE ASSAULT) Bail: $5000
1 count of - UNLAWFUL USE OF A WEAPON (POSSESS ILLEGALLY) Bail: $10000
1 count of - RECKLESS ENDANGERING Bail: $5000
1 count of - CRIMINAL MISCHIEF II (NOT VANDALISM) Bail: $5000
1 count of - FELON IN POSSESSION WEAPON Bail: $10000
1 count of - POST PRISON SUPV SANCTION [Felony] Bail: $0
1 count of - FAIL TO APPEAR - MISDEMEANOR [Misdemeanor] Bail: $20000
Total Bail: $647500
County, HSD prepare to close fairgrounds May 1, 2017
Today is May 1, and that means, the event list is growing short for the Umatilla County
"We've got our fair board diligently working to get the last remnants of materials
and equipment and other items off the old fairgrounds and getting the steps and the
process set up to start fair 2017," said Umatilla county commissioner Larry Givens
Sold by the county years ago, the fairgrounds property being prepared for the turnover to
the Hermiston School District. Demolition was held off and an extension granted for use of
the Hermiston Senior Center and the Farm-City Pro Rodeo arena. That extension covering
events, including the college rodeo that took place this weekend.
The rodeo is also one of the last for the old fairgrounds. Hermiston School District staff
saying the final event scheduled on the site right now is the Coastal Farm and Ranch
Challenge of Champions Tour. That bull riding event is May 13.
Mike Kay, HSD director of operations, says theyre planning demolition for the Monday
after graduation, and their goal is to have the new parking lot in place before the start
of the next school year.
The 2017 Umatilla County Fair and Farm-City Pro Rodeo to take place at the Eastern Oregon
Trade and Event Center.
Harkenrider Center breaks ground April 27, 2017
The rain didnt dampen the spirit at the groundbreaking of the Harkenrider Center
Wednesday afternoon. The city covered the site with a large, red tarp and invited seniors,
public officials, and community members to reflect on an event what Hermiston Mayor Dave
Drotzmann called historic.
Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann speaks to a crowd at the ground-breaking of the
new Harkenrider Senior Center on Wednesday.
Drotzmann provided an introduction to the groundbreaking saying the project represents
more than 10 years of planning and dedication.
"We had a problem: No place for our seniors to go," he said. "Now we have a
facility, $3 million dollars was raised to build this facility, and we're going to build
The new center named after Frank Harkenrider, who was present at the event. A long-time
mayor and Hermiston City Council member, Harkenrider gave 64 years of public service to
Hermiston local government.
Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann stands with former mayor Frank Harkenrider at
the ground-breaking of the new Harkenrider Senior Center on Wednesday.
Hermiston City Manager Byron Smith Says G2 Construction will begin work on the building
next week. Once the Harkenrider Center is constructed, the Hermiston Seniors will have
five years of exclusive use of the facility.
La Grande opts for Mendoza April 27, 2017
The La Grande Observer reporting the La Grande School District selecting George Mendoza,
the assistant superintendent of the Morrow County School District as its next
superintendent. The board was down to two finalists: Mendoza and Hermiston Director of
Operations Mike Kay. The school board night voted to begin negotiations with Mendoza.
Hes been with the Morrow County School District since 2005.
Huxoll crowned Professional Assistant April 26, 2017
Today is National Professional Assistants Day, and Hermiston has a new title holder.
Lauri Huxoll of Harley Swain/Swain Motors crowed the Professional Assistant of the Year by
the Greater Hermiston Area Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.
Lauri Huxoll receives flowers before being named the Professional Assistant of
the Year for 2017.
Professional Assistants Day originated in 1952 as a way of honoring the office
professionals who make their offices work. Out of five nominees, Huxoll has worked for
Swain Motors for more than 30 years.She says winning the award is overwhelming,
unexpected, and wonderful.
Hermiston approves Festival Street design April 26, 2017
The Hermiston City Council has approved plans for the downtown festival street. The
process began last fall, and this week, the council approved the initial design and
concept for what that will look like.
"There's going to be substantially different features: Concrete rather than asphalt,
it will be raised up, no curbing, low seat walls... features like that make it feel more
like a plaza rather than a street," said. Hermiston Assistant City Manager mark
Although trees and decorative pavers will be installed and change the look "There
will no longer be any sidewalks," Morgan said. "We'll be raising the elevation
of the street to match the existing sidewalks.
Vehicles will be welcome on the street but it will be raised and have a different
atmosphere. The first phase is second street between Main Street and Gladys. Future phases
could include developing the entire parking lot across from City Hall and extending the
street down second.
Morgan says the city has opted to slow down the design and construction process and will
send the project for bids this fall with construction expected early next spring.
In Her Shoes set on Saturday April 24, 2017
The fourth annual Walk a Mile in her shoes event is this weekend, and victims
advocate Sharon Neuvirth says the event puts participants in real situations victims of
domestic violence go through.
"One of the main questions we get is, 'Why does she stay?' There's a lot of barriers
to that. It's not that simple," Neuvirth said. "This walk shows you the
difficulties that some of these women have."
The event is Saturday, and its a fundraiser for Domestic Violence Services, and
Neuvirth says it aligns with Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
"One in four people will experience domestic violence or sexual assault in their
lifetime. We do review that, and a lot of people are shocked," she said.
In Her Shoes is this Saturday at Riverfront Park in Hermiston. Registration
begins at 9, and the event starts at 9:30.
Registration is $15 per person, and refreshments will be provided. You can contact
Domestic Violence Services for more information. The Hermiston number is 541-567-0424, or
you can visit the organization's website.
Hermiston City Council, School Board meeting April 24, 2017
Hermiston City Council talking festival street during its work session at 6 this evening.
The city could approve the final design of the street at its regular meeting follows at 7
with a public hearing on the creation and application of a Neighborhood Commercial Overlay
Zone, that would be on the north side of Highland Avenue and SW 11th St. Votes expected to
create the zone as well as to approve a bid from General Pacific to supply new water
The meeting also including a presentation on Cinco de Mayo and National Law Enforcement
Appreciation Week. Both of those in May, and, as usual, public comment will be taken. Read
the full agenda
The Hermiston School District also meeting tonight. That work session begins at 6:30, and
it will be at Armand Larive Middle School. You can find
the full agenda packet here.
Rotary installs Peace Pole at BMCC April 21, 2017
Colorful flowers, a Hermiston wind and spring sunshine surround the newly installed Peace
Pole at the Eastern Oregon Higher Education Center this week. Representatives of Rotary
International of Hermiston and BMCC students gathered for the installation Thursday
BMCC students and Hermiston Rotarians plant flowers around the base of the
Peace Pole on Thursday afternoon
The pole has four sides, each proclaiming, May Peace Prevail on Earth in four
languages: English, Spanish, Russian and Japanese.
"This is to start a conversation and continue a conversation because there is so much
unrest in the world," said guest speaker Mike Caruso.
Caruso, of the Newberg Rotary club and co-chair of the region's Peacebuilder Committee
spoke about the purpose of the pole and its history.
The first peace pole installed in Japan in 1976.
"Today there's more than 250,000 peace poles around the world, including even in
Antarctica, Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for so many years," he
The pole at BMCC is the third Rotary Peace Pole to go up in Hermiston, joining poles on
the Oxbow Trail and at Hermiston High School. A fourth peace pole, in McKenzie Park, was
installed by Girl Scouts.
The Peace Pole capped the college's Arts and Culture Series, which brought a dozen
speakers and presenters to the campus.
Holocaust survivor and author Manny Taiblum speaks with students and visitors
after his presentation.
The Arts and Culture series is an annual event for BMCC.
Good Shepherd focuses on sleep April 21, 2017
Good Shepherd Medical Center is focusing on sleep and issues with sleep for its employees
and the community. Health Educator Kathy Thomas says the issue began with an employee
survey where 80 percent of hospital employees say they only get 4 or 5 hours of sleep a
This week, Dawn Germain and Donna Carlson presented information on A Good
Nights Rest highlighting some information on why sleep is important.
"Drowsy Driving is the second leading cause of fatal car accidents," Carlson
said, adding 27 percent of people say they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
Sleep amount and quality also affects weight, aging, and overall health. When looking at
children, toddlers should receive 11 to 14 hours of sleep a night, school children 9 to 11
, and adults, a minimum of seven hours of sleep. To help you get a good night sleep, they
have a few tips:
Get exposure to bright sunlight, limit exposure to blue light three hours before bedtime
and supplement strategically.The team says you should also sleep in a cool environment,
practice mindfulness at least 20 minutes a day and exercise 30 minutes a day. Also,
dont eat within 3 hours of bedtime.
Robotics hit Houston April 20, 2017
Today, two Umatilla county teams put their skills to the test from the FIRST Robotics
Competition World Championships in Houston, Texas. Theyre Umatilla's Team 4125
Confidential and 6442 The Modern Americans, from Pendleton. The teams are on the ground in
Houston, and Umatilla's team headed to the competition this morning.
"They have had such an amazing season. We're really proud of them," Umatilla
superintendent Heidi Sipe said. "For the high school team, this is the fourth time in
their six year history to qualify for the World Championships, which is phenomenal."
The team visited NASA yesterday and will take on the competition today with both the
teams robot and for the chairmans award, which focuses on the impact a team
makes in its community.
"Competing for Chairman's at the World Finals is pretty incredible because if they
win Chairman's, they then have a standing invitation to be at World's every year moving
forward," Sipe said.
You can follow the robotics team today with live
streaming or on the Umatilla Robotics Facebook page.
Study highlights vaccines April 20, 2017
Despite high immunization rates in Oregon, Pertussis, or Whooping Cough, still spreads
into new communities in outbreaks. State Epidemiologist Steve Robison says his recent
study of Oregon's 2012 Pertussis outbreak found unvaccinated children got sick earlier.
"If you have something in common with other parents - same neighborhood, same
schools, same social networks - then that actually opens a route for the disease to
spread," Robison said.
Robison says the unvaccinated get sick first and are not helping build community
protection from the disease.
Umatilla County Public Health Director Jim Setzer says the study highlights a known issue.
"It just serves, again, to underline the need to vaccinate your children. That
immunizations and vaccinations are the cheapest, most effective way to prevent illnesses
like Pertussis," he said.
Setzer says there are valid medical reasons for exceptions and evidence, including
Robisons study, shows illnesses travel more quickly through non-vaccinated
"Parents shouldn't depend on herd immunity and the willingness of other children to
protect their own children," he said.
Vaccinations and immunizations are available at Umatilla County public health offices.
Immunization rates across Oregon are now at 90 percent but may need to be closer to 97 or
98 percent to have community protection across the state.
City takes over Conference Center April 19, 2017
In a 6-0 vote with one abstention, the Hermiston City Council last night voted to turn
over management of the Hermiston Conference and Community Center to Parks and Recreation
and not renew the lease with the Greater Hermiston Area Chamber of Commerce.
The council chambers at Hermiston City Hall full and overflowing for the meeting as more
than a dozen members of the community spoke out. Some comments focused on potential uses
for the conference and community center or for the old Carnegie library, which the city
has offered the lower level of to the chamber, but most focused on the value of the
chamber of commerce. Phil Hamm, former chamber president spoke about the history of the
community center and relationships with the city and with the Eastern Oregon Trade
and event center. Hamm said he appreciated the city offering the chamber a space but maybe
the Carnegie basement wasn't the best option.
"I understand the city doesn't have a responsibility there, and I appreciate the
city's willingness to provide that kind of space," he said. "I still think that
hasn't been worked out quite well enough, and I'm still concerned about the general
community's use of the conference center - not just a Boys and Girls Club or Parks and
Other local residents agreed the city should have taken more feedback and had more open
"Am I sad to think of it being repurposed and not continuing like that in community?
Yes, but mostly? I'm disappointed," said Bryan Wolfe.
Much of the public comment centered on rumors, from the idea the city would tear down the
conference center or move all city offices inside it. The city shooting down many of those
and saying the intention is to continue to host community events as well as expand parks
and recreation programs. City staff also reiterating they have no obligation to host the
chamber of commerce. Many speakers said should focus on regional events with local events
still taking place at the conference center.
Every member of the Hermiston City Council speaking after public comment. John Kirwan says
the issue is complicated by emotion, and Mayor Dave Drotzmann says the action just begins
The Chamber will continue to manage the Conference Center through the end of this year.
Hermiston Parks and Recreation to take over management in 2018. Drotzmann says the city is
interested in hearing other options about locations for the chamber offices.
Fire in Umatilla tri-plex April 19, 2017
A fire Tuesday morning in Umatilla. Members of the Umatilla Rural Fire Protection
district responded within 10 minutes to the 600 block of E street to find the tri-plex
building fully enflamed. 10 Firefighters responded, and six adults displaced. The Red
Cross is provided emergency service
BMCC focuses on arts and culture April 18, 2 017
This week, Blue Mountain Community College celebrates its Arts and Culture Festival.
Events going on today on the Pendleton campus, but for Hermiston, the festival takes place
tomorrow and Thursday with presentations, guest speakers, and events lasting all day.
Hermiston Center director Jacelyn Keys says they didnt plan to have a theme this
year but ended up with one that came out of the speakers. From refugees to social
isolation, dogs to serve veterans to the first-hand account of a Holocaust survivor, the
program centers on conflict, peace and learning from history.
"We chose not to have a theme this year, but one presented itself," Keys said.
"We really get an opportunity to look at history and what these people are saying
about history, about their lives, and how are we a part of the solution as
The programs begin tomorrow at 10 in the morning with a presentation on Sex Trafficking in
Thailand and end with Helday de la Cruz speaking on art and activism at 5. On Thursday,
Hermiston events begin at 9 and end with a presentation on Rotary Internationalas
Peace Pole Project and the installation of a peace pole at BMCC Hermiston.
BMCC is bringing its Arts and Culture festival to Hermiston on Wednesday and Thursday. See
the complete schedule for Hermiston and Pendleton here.
Driver charged in Westland crash April 18, 2017
Charges for a driver in Saturday evenings collision on Westland Road near Agnew.
23-year-old Efrain Narcizo Mateos allegedly driving westbound on Westland when he drifted
into the eastbound lane, hitting another vehicle, which tried to swerve out of the way but
was hit on the passenger side. The driver and two passengers in the other car injured. One
passenger transported by air ambulance to Kadlec, the other two taken by ground ambulance
to Good Shepherd Medical Center.
Mateos charged with three counts of second-degree assault, driving under the influence,
hit and run, reckless endangering and reckless driving.
Arts and Culture Schedule April 17, 2017
BMCC is bringing its Arts and Culture festival to Hermiston on Wednesday and Thursday. See
the complete schedule for Hermiston and Pendleton here.
Two shot in Stanfield April 17, 2017
In Stanfield, two men shot at a party early Saturday morning. Officers responding to a
report of a loud party on South Main Street found two adults had been shot, both with
non-life threatening injuries. Both men treated at Good Shepherd Medical Center and later
released. The Major Crime Team has been activated to assist in the investigation.
Commissioner talks Drug Court April 17, 2017
Umatilla County Drug Court faced the chopping block in the countys budget for the
next fiscal year, but County Commissioner Bill Elfering says it isnt going away
"It's not gone away, but it's going to be morphed. We just can't continue the program
we had without having the funding for it," he said. "The treatment will still be
there, the reporting will still be there. They'll still be being treated, and they'll
still have accountability."
Drug Court allows individuals convicted of drug or alcohol offenses to have treatment and
counseling instead of going to prison.
Elfering sits on the Local Public Steering Committee, the group charged with distributing
state funding for community justice. Its also the group that decided the county
could not continue funding the drug court program as it has existed because state funding
continued to decrease.
"It's now reached the point where that program has a $500,000 deficit," Elfering
says. "The governor's budget cut it way back this year, and we're short trying to run
drug court the way we've been doing it."
Elfering says the reformation will save about $300,000. That does include cuts to
personnel and downsizing the program, which has run as many as 100 participants
Youth take Way of the Cross April 17, 2017
On Friday, a crowd filled the parking lot at Our lady of Angels and then at Butte Park to
re-enact part of the story of Easter through The Way of the Cross, a
presentation of the Living Stations of the Cross.
While the crowd participated with prayers, song and reverence, what the crowd might not
have realized is that many of the volunteer actors are still in their teens. 18-year-old
Edgar Guerrero says this marks the third year hes taken a part in the Way of the
Cross, and growing up, he knew he wanted to get involved.
"I feel if the younger generation sees us doing this now, they'll want to do it when
they grow older and will want to get into the church more," he said.
That same motivation brought Matthew Pihl to the Way of the Cross. At 14, he took the role
of Jesus, blood, cross, and all.
"The younger generation is the future of our church," he said. "This is my
first-I've always helped out-but this year I took the role of Jesus...I'm pretty nervous,
but I'm also excited."
Vincent Trevino is a co-coordinator of the event. He says Field and other young
participants volunteer every year.
"There are a lot of youth in Hermiston that want to do good and show what Jesus
actually did for us," he said. "This is one way for the youth here in our Parish
to participate and show other youth that there is a good path also."
Kissler arrested for rape April 16, 2017
Just before 5 in the morning on Saturday, the Morrow County Sheriffs Office received
a report of a rape in the Irrigon area. 35-year-old Jason Kane Kissler arrested on rape
and other related charges. He remains in Umatilla County Jail with a bail of $500,000.
Another principal search for Hermiston April 16, 2017
Hermiston searching for another principal. Desert View Elementary School principal Michael
Roberts announcing he is heading to Scottsdale, Arizona to be the director of elementary
Roberts has been at the helm of Desert View for four years, and he says his family will
miss Hermiston and the school district staff. The Hermiston School district also looking
to fill Devin Griggs position as that principal is also heading to Arizona.
The district hosting a meet and greet for the four principal finalists at
Sunset Elementary this Thursday from 2:45 to 4:15 in the afternoon.
Harkenrider groundbreaking set April 13, 2017
Coming up next week, a ground-breaking for the Harkenrider Center. That ceremony set for
5:30 on April 18th.
It begins the process of constructing the new community and senior center. Larry Fetter
says they are giving the contractor twelve months to complete the project, but they
dont think it will take that long theyll know more once construction
begins. It will also impact driving in the construction zone, and, once the building is
complete, they'll work to renovate and redesign the parking area.
Fetter calls the current parking area a bit of a disaster The new parking plan
will have landscaping and will serve the library, the building department and the
Harkenrider Center. Fetter says they contemplated making the parking lot one level, but
opted for improvements to the two-level system.
The city is also working closely with the Hermiston school District on the project. The
district owns the property of the current fairgrounds as well as the property the
Harkenrider Center will sit on. Assistant Superintendent Bryn Browning says its been a
partnership since the beginning and they have worked through some options to help ease the
transition, including offering holidays meals at Hermiston High School.
The Hermiston Senior Center will have a temporary kitchen at Our Lady of Angels Catholic
Follow the link to see the floor
plan for the Harkenrider Center.
Sports scams return to Hermiston April 12, 2017
The Hermiston Chamber of Commerce and the Hermiston School District releasing statements
this week about a company fraudulently contacting business owners.
In the scam, the salesman claims to represent Hermiston High School and is selling - or
needs to fill an invoice for - sports poster ads.
Larry Usher, Director of Athletics and Activities for the Hermiston School District, had
contacted the company several weeks ago. At that time, the company said they would stay
out of Hermiston, but reports again this week. There is a complaint on file with the
Oregon Department of Justice under file number FF5392-16. You may add to the case file if
you are contacted by the fraudulent vendor.
Usher says any advertising or sponsorship requests for the Athletic Department would come
directly from him or Lindy Thompson, the athletics secretary.
And, as a reminder, all calendar ads for Hermiston High sports have been sold for this
year. Businesses wont be contacted for sponsorship until he beginning of the 2017-8
Good Shepherd launches virtual clinic April 12, 2017
Good Shepherd Healthcare System is launching its Virtual Care Clinic this week: The
ability to meet with a healthcare provider over your computer, phone, tablet, etc. from
you home or wherever you are. Good Shepherd Spokesman Nick Bejarano says they are
partnering with Carena Health on the Virtual Care Clinic because of access to care.
"We realize that there's definite need in our community for emergency care services,
and this extends beyond that because they're able to treat a plethora of illness and
injuries that you don't have to go to the emergency department for," he says.
Bejarano says it will also, then, freeup staff in the emergency department to handle
emergencies and accidents with less cases of colds, sore throats and ear aches.
Robert Bernstein, medical director of the Good Shepherd Virtual Health Clinic, says if an
issue is something to be concerned about, provide some treatment and, in some situations,
even prescribe medication.
"Basically it's a consultation," he says. "It's a way for somebody to talk
to a family medicine doctor or nurse practitioner from the convenience of their couch at
home or their office space, and they can do that 24/7."
Using the virtual care clinic costs a flat rate of $35. You can find out more here.
Hermiston City Council to vote on Chamber move School District looks at high school plan April 10, 2017
The Hermiston City Council expected to vote on Conference Center Management tonight during
the regular meeting. The proposal brings the conference center under the umbrella of the
Parks & Recreation Department and offers space in the renovated Carnegie Library to
the Chamber of Commerce for $1 for five years. According to meeting documents, the council
has two options: accept the proposed action or re-affirm the existing contract with the
chamber of commerce to operate the conference center through Dec. 31 of 2018. City
administration is recommending the first option. The packet also includes a letter from
former City Manager Ed Brookshier saying the time has come to re-task the conference
center property to best meet the needs of the community.
The agenda also includes a request to apply for grant funding from the Federal Aviation
Administration to complete an update to the Hermiston Airports long-range plan.
Public comment will be taken during the meeting as well.
That meeting begins at 7 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. You can read the whole agenda here.
The Hermiston School Board also meeting tonight. That meeting at 6:30 at the Hermiston
School District Office on SW 11th. The meeting study items include an update on the
Hermiston High School Demolition and Site Expansion Plan that involves demolition
on the former Umatilla County Fairgrounds as well as an impact study on athletics. Click
here for a full agenda.
Umatilla Robots heading to Worlds March 9, 2017
Umatillas Team 4125 Confidential is heading to Houston.
The team competing in the Pacific Northwest District Championship in Cheney, Washington
this weekend, and, although they didnt qualify based on the robots performance
they did again take home the Chairmans Award, which means, theyre
heading to the World Championships in Houston.
Here's a look at the award-winning video:
Hermiston Recycling Event tomorrow April 7, 2017
The Hermiston Recycling Event runs from 9-3 tomorrow in the gravel parking lot at Umatilla
Electric Cooperative on Elm Avenue, and Hermiston Parks and Recreation Director Larry
Fetter says theyll take in almost anything. You can find a list of items on the event page of
the city's website.
Items do need to be separated before arriving. Bins will be provided, and volunteers will
be on hand to help unload items, especially large ones. Fetter says tires have been one of
the most popular items in past years, and this year, they will take tires on or off the
Around Hermiston, crews of volunteers from I Love My City also hosting a
spring clean up this weekend. Theres no registration required if youd like to
You can come out on Saturday and watch for the groups of bright red, I love my
city shirts.You can find out more at Ilovehermiston.com.
TRCI inmate dies April 7, 2017
An inmate death this morning at Two Rivers Correctional Institution.
52-year-old Michael Shaw found unresponsive in his bed at 5:45 this morning. He was
pronounced dead at 6:32. Shaw jailed since July of 2022 on one count of first-degree sex
abuse out of Marion County. His earliest release date was Sept. 28, 2025.
ALMS awarded $3,500 grant April 7, 2017
Armand Larive Middle School awarded a $3,555 Fuel Up to Play 60 grant.
The grant funds have purchased a computer, accessories and software for ALTV. The lack of
computer equipment limited ALTV students when and what projects they could do. The new
computer equipment will enable ALTV students to make more Food Hero time lapse recipe
videos to help educate students on healthy recipes.
Armand Larive Middle School teamed up with and Angie Treadwell, Family and Community
Health Umatilla-Morrow SNAP-Ed Program Coordinator for Oregon State University Extension
Center to apply for the grant.
The Fuel Up to Play 60 Grant is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program
launched by the National Dairy Council and NFL, in collaboration with the USDA, to help
encourage todays youth to lead healthier lives. You can learn more at www.fueluptoplay60.com.
ODOT reminds drivers of deer migration April 7, 2017
It is the time of year to watch for deer on Oregon roadways. The Oregon Department of
Transportation (ODOT) advising motorists to be on the lookout for migrating mule deer,
especially on US97 and other Oregon highways
The bulk of the deer migration starts in early April and extends until mid-May this season
in Central Oregon primarily with some stretches of Eastern Oregon affected. ODOT expects
the deer to be moving in large numbers through the hotspot corridors along US97, US20 and
OR31. Most of the animals will be traveling during the dawn and dusk hours, but motorists
can expect to see them at any time.
Find more information on ODOT's wildlife
City taking over Conference Center April 6, 2017
The city of Hermiston is taking over the Hermiston Conference Center in 2018.
The Conference Center has been the home of the Greater Hermiston Chamber of Commerce for
two decades and is contracted with the city until the end of the year. Hermiston Assistant
City Manager Mark Morgan says the City has offered the chamber use of the lower level of
the old Carnegie Library on Gladys. That building currently houses the citys
building department on its upper floor.
The City of Hermiston has offered the chamber use of the lower level of the
"The city is in the process of investing $125,000 to renovate the lower level of
the building," Morgan says. "That would be approximately 1,000 sq feet of high
quality office space. That space will be available to the chamber in January of 2018 if
they choose to use it."
Morgan says the plan is to have the citys Parks and Recreation Department move into
the office space and manage the conference center.
"Long-term is still a little in flux, but make no mistake: for 2018 and likely
several years after, it'll still be operating as a conference center," he said.
Chamber Executive Director Debbie Pedro says the chamber will likely move in late December
but they havent decided where. Pedro was notified of the change this past Tuesday.
Pedro says the community associates the conference center with the chamber and
theyll now begin looking at what the next steps will be.
"Our board will be coming together in May for a planning session, and we're really
excited to see what it's like to just be a chamber," she said.
The city has paid the chamber a management fee for running the conference center, and
Pedro says the chamber was profitable and theyve put in more than $100,000 worth of
investments into the building, including purchasing the new reader board, new carpeting in
the meeting rooms and offices and helped fund the new sound system.
Pedro says their concern about the citys proposed location is being visible in the
community. Morgan says if the chamber chooses not to use the conference center, the city
will use it for space for other departments.
Third-graders topple Battle of the Books April 6, 2017
A team from Hermiston heads to a state competition this Saturday. Theyve beat out
other students at their school, their city, and their region to claim a spot in the state
match for Oregon Battle of the Books - And theyre all 8 and 9 years old.
Theyre called the Book Bombers. The third grade team is Cate Doherty, Ellie Larsen,
Glyn Lystrup and Caden Lloyd, After winning their school competition, the students moved
on to regionals in La Grande where they beat teams of 10-year-olds, 11-year-olds and even
12-year-olds. Cate says they did it by learning from other teams.
"It was a lot of fun seeing other people and how they were stronger in some points
than us," Cate says. "I think that really helped us. We weren't strong in a lot
of points, so once we started watching, we got those bonds together, and I think we're a
lot stronger now."
To compete in the elementary Battle of the Books challenges, students in third through
fifth grade had to read 16 assigned titles. On the Rocky Heights team, Three of the
students read all 16 books for the competition with Harry Potter and the Sorcerers
Stone and Matilda taking the top of the favorite lists. Glyn says the reading is the easy
"Why did we do Battle of the Books? For most of us, the thing was that we want to
read," he says.
The students have given up their recesses and lunch periods to study and practice, and
its paid off they conquered a 16-team elimination bracket to take the top
spot in the Region 6 Competition and it might be the first time a third-grade team has won
at the Eastern Oregon Regionals.
"We're trying to go back and see when a third-grade team has won," she says.
"We're really proud of them. I think they've done a great job, and it's a great
testament to the program."
Team coach and teacher Melissa Doherty says the team has worked with study guides by
librarian Kristi Smalley and theyre getting ready for the big battle this Saturday
at Chemeketa Community College. All four students say they hope to keep their team moving
next year regardless of how state goes.
Court updates: Pleas in cattle, meth cases April 5, 2017
On Monday, Michael Hockensmith accepting a deal in Umatilla County Circuit Court in the
ongoing animal neglect case involving a mismanaged herd near Hermiston. Last week, the
county sold the bulk of the cattle at the auction at Northwest Livestock.
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says the deal ends a time-consuming process for the
sheriffs office that lasted for much of the winter and through the calving season.
Hockensmith convicted of five counts of first-degree animal neglect in order to have the
remaining charges dismissed. The 180 days of jail was suspended, but He has been given
five years of bench probation as part of the sentencing, meaning he cannot own animals for
five years. An exception was granted for a horse he already owned that was determined to
be in good condition despite the neglect of the cattle.He changed his plea to guilty
Monday and paid $600 in fees and fines.
Rowan says the final cattle likely to be sold today and the sheriffs office now
looks forward to the next challenge.
In other court news, Pendleton business owner Jason Lybrand pleading guilty yesterday to
the felony possession of methamphetamine.
The charges came from phone calls Lybrand made in September of 2016 while incarcerated. He
asked his mother to meet with a man who was supposed to purchase five pounds of marijuana.
She declined, and detectives applied for a search warrant of Lybrands truck. In
addition to the five pounds of marijuana, they also found 11 grams of methamphetamine and
Lybrand sentenced to 3 years of formal supervision, and seized case of 7,500 dollars
plus a fine of $3,000 to go to BENT.
Hermiston Cyclist killed by semi April 4, 2017
A Hermiston man killed last night after being struck by a semi at the intersection of
Highway 395 and Elm.
Hermiston Police saying a semi-truck turning off Highway 395 onto Elm Avenue struck the
55-year-old cyclist just after 8:15 last night. The semi continued to travel eastbound on
Highway 730 until it was stopped at the Washington border. The semi has been processed for
evidence, and Oregon State Police conducting a crash reconstruction.
The cyclist pronounced deceased at the scene, and HPD chaplains offered counseling the
At this point it is too early in the investigation to speculate all factors involved
for what transpired. Because of the dangers at this intersection we do have it under video
surveillance and this incident was partially captured. We will use that evidence and other
information gleaned during the investigation to present to the district attorneys
office," Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says. Other factors considered
in matters such as this will be speed, visibility of the bicyclist, any potential
impairment from all parties involved, witness statements, etc.
Tickets for Umatilla Boosters April 4, 2017
The 10th annual Umatilla Boosters Steak Dinner and Auction this Saturday at the Hermiston
Conference Center. The
Booster member Melissa Webb says theyre hoping for a crowd of 200.
"Tickets are actually limited this year," she says. "We're concerned we're
going to sell out, which is a great thing."
The event starts at 5:30 this Saturday. It will include both live and silent auction items
as well as raffle items, as well as the ticket.
Tickets are available from any Boosters member at $25.
"There's a handful of tickets left. At the door they will be $30, so if you're
interested in going, definitely talk to one of us. We'd love to sell out," she says.
Webb says that does include hometown mortgage. If the the event does not sell out, tickets
will be available at the door. You can find out more at the Umatilla Booster
Clubs facebook page.
Dairy passes permit hurdle April 3, 2017
The Oregon Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Quality granting what
they call the most protective permit of surface water and groundwater to date. Its
for the proposed confined animal feeding operation, or CAFO, in Morrow County that could
have up to 30,000 animals. A release from ODA suggests Lost Valley Farm will have 16,500
cattle in the first year before ramping up over a three-year period. ODA saying the
permitting for Lost Valley Farm has been a two-year process receiving more than 4,000
public comments. The organizations saying the farm is near Threemile Canyon Farms, already
one of the largest dairies in the state, and will be a similar size prompting the strict
water regulations. The dairy has an agreement to purchase drinking and process water from
the Port of Morrow if needed. The release says the dairy to bring in 125 to 150 jobs to
Morrow County and will likely be inspected three to four times a year.
Fire retirement, promotion April 3, 2017
Umatilla County Fire District 1 celebrated the retirement of Battalion Chief Jeff Adkins
on Thursday. Adkins has served with the Hermiston Fire Department, now Umatilla County
Fire District 1, since 1991. and Friday, naming Capital JW Roberts as the newest Battalion
Chief for the organization. Roberts will be the shift commander for B-shift starting
tomorrow. He will continue as the EMS coordinator until the district hires that position
this fall or winter.
UCSO sells cattle April 1, 2017
The Umatilla County Sheriffs Office selling the once-neglected herd theyve
been managing since January. The sale bringing in just over $140,000, which will allow the
county to pay off what its spent on the herd and replenish the sheriffs office
account before the remaining money goes to the cattles owner, Michael Hockensmith.
Hockensmith facing more than 200 charges of animal abuse for the condition of the herd,
which the sheriffs office says was mismanaged and malnourished.
Umatilla Airman dies in Syria March 31, 2017
25-year-old Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren named as the security forces airman who
died in Syria this week. From Umatilla, he was assigned to the 21st Space Wing at Peterson
Air Force Base in Colorado. Officials did not immediately release any additional
information about what happened to Bieren, but an initial news release said the death
appeared to be the result of natural causes.
Umatilla Robotics host fundraisers March 31, 2017
Umatilla High School's Robotics team will hosting fundraisers over the next week to raise
money for upcoming competitions in Cheney, Wash., and potentially in and
April 1st, Team Confidential will have a Can/Bottle drive starting at 8:00 a.m. across the
street from Harvest Foods in Umatilla. On April 4, they will be hosting a Potato Feed and
Auction at Umatilla High School, 6-8:00 p.m. Tickets for the Potato Feed and Auction are
$10 each or $30 for 4. You can email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are
interested in buying tickets for the feed or helping the FRC team by donating.
The team competing in the Pacific Northwest Regionals in Cheney April 6-8, and if they
qualify, theyll head to the world finals in Houston.
Hermiston supports housing March 29, 2017
The City of Hermiston wants to add housing, and theyre taking a step to help it
Hermiston Assistant City Manager Morgan points to the decision of Auto Zone to go with
Pasco instead of Hermiston as an example of the need for housing. The retailer was looking
to hire 250 people but chose the Washington location because Hermiston didn't have a large
enough available work force.
While AutoZone chose to locate in the Tri-Cities because of the population size, Morgan
says the number of commuters coming into Umatilla County from Benton and Franklin counties
had increased by 1,000 people a day in four years. Although Hermiston has had growth and
new construction, Morgan says it isnt enough.
"We haven't been adding enough houses to keep up with the demand," Morgan says.
To promote development, the city is working with the owners of about 40 acres of property
off Diagonal Road. The property has been zoned industrial since the 1960s but hasnt
developed while homes spring up around it. The citys now going to pay half the costs
of rezoning that property to residential and commercial. Its not an immediate plan,
but its a start.
"This is probably four or five years down the road before you see any dirt being
turned on any housing development," he says. "What we need to do is make sure
we're setting the stage so if a developer is interested, it would be financially
Morgan says the property could hold up to 100 units, whether thats single-family
homes or multi-family structures.
Boardman Workforce Center readies March 29, 2017
In less than a week, the Boardman Workforce Training Center opens. Its a campus for
Blue Mountain Community College, and staff spending this spring break week moving from the
former location to the new facility next to the SAGE center. The first day of the new
center is the first day of spring term and thats Monday.
Morrow County School District Superintendent Dirk Dirkson says the opening is a great
partnership for the community.
"We're really looking forward to coordinating with Blue Mountain, the Port of Morrow
and all of the businesses that are interested in this development - and all of the
students from our three high schools, Heppner, Irrigon, and Boardman," Dirkson says.
The facility is the first of the colleges major bond construction projects to be
completed. Itll house BMCCs industrial systems technologies, data center tech
and early childhood education programs.
Starting Monday, the center will be open from 10 in the morning until 9 in the evening
Monday through Thursday and 10 to 5 on Fridays.
Driver dies near Adams March 28, 2017
One driver dead after a three-vehicle wreck on Highway 11 near Adams Tuesday, March 28.
Officials saying the woman was the driver of an SUV involved in the wreck with two semis.
The highway closed for several hours during the investigation and HazMat cleanup of
diesel. Umatilla County The occupants of the semis were not injured. The womans
identity has not been released.
HPD amps up road enforcement March 27, 2017
Be careful with your morning coffee and when you drop kids off at school next week: The
Hermiston Police Department starts upping enforcement today, March 27, of a problem
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston has been going on for months.
"The issue at hand that we've been dealing with for months - educating the public -
is that it's not OK to stop in the roadway while waiting to get into a drive-thru,"
Edmiston says. "Effective today, our education campaign is over, and I've directed
the officers that they're to use enforcement when warranted."
Edmiston says the issue boils down to common sense and respect, and the department has had
an education period for the past few weeks, letting people know they are violating the law
and that changes today. The enforcement applies to all of Hermiston, including at
schools and businesses. Edmiston says the campaign did start because of traffic at the
Hermiston Dutch Bros.
"The last thing the police department wants to do is adversely affect any
business," Edmiston says, adding he has met face-to-face with the owner. "He's
extremely receptive. He understands there's a problem."
Edmiston says the property owner has already submitted preliminary plans to the city to
expand the space in the drive through. Well have more with Edmiston on todays
Odds and Ends Program.
Hermiston Council talks budget March 27, 2017
A meeting tonight of the Hermiston City Council, and the budget a topic during this
meeting as well. The council to have a public hearing on the proposed supplemental budget
before voting on it. Also on the agenda: an update on EOTEC and an intergovernmental
agreement between the city and the urban renewal agency about the festival street.
The council also to proclaim April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month
That meeting begins at 7 at Hermiston City Hall, and you can find the full agenda here.
Gospel Homecoming set for Sunday March 23, 2017
On Sunday night, a gospel homecoming at 6:30 at the Hermiston Conference Center.
Organizer Steve Walker says it comes from a desire to bring people together over music,
regardless of Christian denomination.
"We get together for this, most of it's music, and a chance to get together, rub
shoulders, and maybe meet some new friends," Walker says.
The event began in 2007 but took a few years off. It's coming back this year. The evening
will include musicians, a magician, performers, and sing-a-longs with classic gospel music
lead by Doug Fernbacker.
"As a Christian, you don't know people in other churches, you don't know other
groups," Fernbacker said. "This is kind of a common thing - the music - between
all of the denominations.
The event is free and nondenominational. It will include some refreshments during the
intermission. For more information, call Walker at 541-571-1090
Harkenrider Center gets a contractor March 22, 2017
On Monday, the Hermiston City Council approved a contract with G2 Construction for the
building the Harkenrider Center, the new senior center planned for downtown Hermiston.
Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says the bid came in about 80,000 lower than expected.
"The bids mean that we're going to be able to get more work done than we would have
otherwise," he says. "We're going to be able to include an elevator into the
Morgan says the planning has included an unfinished basement, but having the elevator
already included in initial construction will save the center money down the road.
"The basement will not be occupied for three to five years, but that $80,000 bid item
for the elevator means we'll be able to pay for that now instead of trying to raise
$80,000 when we want to develop that in the future," he says.
The total bid approved by the council just under 2.3 million dollars. Much of funding
comes from a federal Community Development Block Grant. A pre-construction meeting
scheduled for April 11 to review the construction schedule on the project.
Savings Match program meeting tonight March 22, 2017
Tonight (March 22) a parent meeting for the Match College Savings program at Hermiston
High School. College Bound Coordinator Liz Marvin says its for "The great thing about
this program is that for ever $1 a student saves, they receive $5 in match," she
The program will match up to $1,600 of a students savings, which would give the student a
total of $9,600 toward higher education.
Its a financial need based program, and Marvin says preference given to freshmen and
sophomores and spots are limited. Marvin says they only have six slots open this
term, and the applications have to be submitted within the next couple weeks.
To learn more about the program and see if your student qualifies, that meeting at 6 in
the Hermiston High School Library. The presentation available in both English and Spanish.
Contact Liz Marvin at 667-6412 for more information.
Council considers EOTEC, leases March 20, 2017
Tonight, the Hermiston City Council meeting at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center.
The evening begins with a work session to discuss EOTEC with the Umatilla County
Commissions at 6, followed by the regular council meeting at 7. Both meetings at the EOTEC
On the council agenda, ordinances to clean up wording in the Hermiston Code of Ordinances,
amend the transient room tax, and consider approval of long-term leases between the
Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center and the Umatilla County Fair and Farm-City Pro
Rodeo. Theyll also consider awarding G2 construction the contract for the
Harkenrider Senior Center.
Umatilla robotics heading to PNW Finals March 20, 2017
This weekend, 57 students and four chaperones from Umatilla headed out to Ellensburg,
Washington, for a regional event with the FIRST Robotics Competition. Saturday, Team 4125
Confidential ended with a second-place overall finish and the Chairmans Award in
Umatilla Superintendent Heidi Sipe says the Chairmans Award is the highest honor a
team can receive during a regional competition. Now that the team has qualified for the
Pacific Northwest Finals, theyll look toward placing well enough to make it to the
world finals, which will be in Houston this year.
The success of the team has lead to some impressive growth in its six years: from nine
members in the first year to 57 this year.
Here's a look at the reveal of the robot for this year's competition:
You can follow the progress of Umatilla's FIRST Robotics Team and their robot - Dewey - on
their website or Facebook page.
Store closures announced: Del's and JCP March 17, 2017
Dels Feed and Farm Supply to close. Tractor Supply Company announcing yesterday the
Dels location in Hermiston will close this fall.
On behalf of the entire Dels team, we are extremely grateful to our Hermiston
customers for their many years of patronage, said Jeremy Miller, district manager of
the Hermiston store.
In addition to the Hermiston store, all seven remaining Pacific Northwest locations will
close later this year. The company will honor all product warranties at Tractor Supply
In other store closures, both JCPenney locations in Eastern Oregon on the list of recent
cuts announced today (March 17).
JCPenney closing 138 stores in June, and that does include five of the 14 locations in
Oregon. The department store closing locations in Pendleton, La Grande, the Dalles, Grants
Pass and Astoria.
The Pendleton store has been in its location on Main Street since 1911, and is the oldest
surviving store in the company. The La Grande Store has operated at its site, also on Main
Street, since 1914.
Kate Coultas, a senior manager in JCPenney's corporate communications division, says
approximately 5,000 positions nationwide are impacted by the closures: The Pendleton store
has 21 employees; the la Grande store has 13.
Coultas says she does not yet know what will happen to the store buildings after the
closures in June.
The store in Kennewick location not included in the closures.
Search and Rescue seeking members March 17, 2017
For the Umatilla County Search and Rescue Unit, the sunshine and warmer temperatures
signal the start of a busy season as people head into the forests and mountains and
"It's important (to have Search and Rescue) because of the numbers of areas we have,
particularly forested areas, where people go up and end up getting lost or
misguided," Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says. "This gives us an
opportunity to go up there and bring them safely back home."
The SAR teams have also helped out with searches within towns as well as with some major
crimes. And, right now, theyre looking for more members, from radio operators to
The unit is in its training mode right now, preparing for spring. Twenty members of the
county search and rescue team spent a morning last week hiking at Grecian Heights Park in
Pendleton, carrying a back that includes 20 pounds of survival and first aid gear.
Search and Rescue volunteers must be able to pass nine core competencies including land
navigation, physical fitness, and first aid.
"We're always looking for more volunteers. It's a great group of people, very
dedicated," Rowan said.
Umatilla County SAR is a non-profit organization. If youre interested in joining
Umatilla County Search and Rescue, you can contact Rowan or Sgt. Dwight Johnson at
Made to Thrive spring cleaning March 16, 2017
This weekend, an event to support Made to Thrive and help kick start your spring
Made to Thrive was created to keep at risk and foster youth involved in activities,
including sports, music, and dance. Theyre funded through grants and private
donations, as well as fundraisers. One of those is this weekend.
Its the fourth annual Garage Sale Fundraiser, and its in two stages: drop off
and sale. The drop-off is this Friday (March 17) at the Hermiston Conference Center. Made
to Thrive founder Kris Dammeyer says if you need any furniture picked up, you can contact
Made to Thrive to schedule a pickup, although they do prefer items be dropped off if
The sale takes place the next day, Saturday, also at the conference center, from 8 to 2,
and Dammeyer says its a big boost for both Made to Thrive and for the shoppers.
"It's all donation based," she says. "We don't put prices on anything
except some of the really big items."
You can contact Made to Thrive for more information by stopping at the office on Second
Street, online, or by calling 541-289-2343.