|Man identified in officer-involved shooting
Sept. 25, 2017
Oregon State Police and Morrow County District Attorneys Office continuing the
investigation into an officer-involved shooting on Friday just outside of Boardman.
At about 1:50 Friday morning, the deputy stopped for a disabled vehicle on Interstate 84
westbound near exit 164 thats the Boardman exit. The deputy encountered a
26-year-old adult male armed with a firearm, later identified as Efren Hurtado, of
Boardman. Shots were fired, although the release does not state the exact series of
The deputy was uninjured, and the adult male was transported to the hospital suffering
from an apparent gunshot wound. At the request of the Morrow County Sheriffs Office,
the Umatilla/Morrow County Major Crime Team was activated. The deputy is not being
identified during the investigation. More information will be released as appropriate.
Additional wolf funding for Umatilla County
Sept. 25, 2017
More than $60,000 in additional grant coming to Umatilla Countys wolf committee this
fall that will go toward non-lethal wolf control, to help out local farmers and
ranchers affected by thriving wolf packs. This summer, four livestock kills confirmed by
wolves in Umatilla County alone. County Commissioner Larry Givens says the grant is
earmarked for non-lethal tactics only and will go to specific producers the farmers
and ranchers impacted by the wolf attacks.
"It will go to the producers...their cost for transportation and fuel and salaries
for someone to go up and check on the animals," Givens said. "It's a lot of work
to keep those animals safe."
The money can be used as reimbursement for some of those costs or for things like
additional fencing and increased patrols. Givens says it will go out around December, once
they have reports from the producers on the impacts of the wolves this year.
Producers will submit reports on how many hours theyve had to put in patrolling
areas to keep wolves away and how many losses theyve experienced.
School Board talks grad venue - again
Sept. 25, 2017
The Hermiston School District is talking graduation venue survey results on Monday during
meeting and work session. That will be at West Park Elementary School. The meeting
also expected to include the establishment of a Farm to School grant fund, a presentation
from staff at west park, and a motion to change the October meeting from Oct 9 to Oct 2.
The work session begins at 6:30 Monday at West Park Elementary.
City Council considers EOTEC
Sept. 25, 2017
The Hermiston City Council also meeting tonight in a work session and regular meeting.
They kick off discussions with a comparison of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center
and the Hermiston Conference Center. Off The city has opted to take over management of the
Hermiston Conference Center at the end of this year, and theyll be discussing how
the two event centers can work together. That work session begins at 6 at Hermiston City
Hall . The regular meeting begins at 7 and includes a proclamation for first responders
appreciation week, committee vacancy announcements, and multiple ordinances and
resolutions regarding zoning changes designed to increase housing construction. Find the
Hermiston man arrested after vehicle assault
Sept. 22, 2017
A Hermiston man arrested after attempting to run two men over with a vehicle. 57-year-old
Michael Alan Park, from Hermiston, assaulted two men at a marijuana growing operations
then allegedly tried to run them over with his vehicle. A release from the Umatilla County
Sheriffs office says Parker was asked multiple times to leave but refused. Parker
began fighting with the men then tried to run over one of the victims, hit a fence and
became stuck. The victims left the property to call police and returned to find several
windows broken and marijuana plants damaged. Earlier in the day, police escorted Parker
from a marijuana store in Pendleton after he caused a disturbance.
Parker arrested and charged with multiple counts of assault, criminal mischief, and
menacing. The case is still under investigation.
Umatilla County promotes planning director
Sept. 22, 2017
Umatilla County has a new planning director and theyve opened a new position
for a new department.
Umatilla County Commissioner Larry Givens says theyve promoted Bob Walder as the new
Umatilla County Planning Director. Hes the former assistant planning director and
now moves into the spot replacing Tamra Mabbott, who left the county to take a new role in
the city of Umatilla.
"Bob is well known with the staff, he's well liked with the staff, he's an excellent
planner," Givens said. "He's done a great job, and we look forward to having him
in that position."
Along with the new planning director, theyre also making some changes: and splitting
up planning and economic development. To match the new department, theyre hiring for
a new department head: an economic development tourism coordinator.
The county is also hiring for another planner to take Walders position. Information
on county employment available at the countys website.
Family Health and Fitness Day: TOMORROW
Sept. 22, 2017
Coming up, tomorrow at Hermiston High School, the annual Family Health & Fitness Day.
Sponsored by the Healthy Communities Coalition, Good Shepherd medical center, and numerous
community partners, its a day of free screenings, free information, and free
"I think we're excited about the variety of things that are going on," said
Angie Treadwell, SNAP-Ed coordinator for OSU Extension. "There's something for every
age group - if you have young children, teens, if you're in the senior age category - I
think we've got something for you."
says they will again have cooking classes and snacks available, alongside free health,
dental, and vision screenings, wellness exams and childrens games and activities,
including the Teddy Bear clinic. Treadwell and Catie Brennamon, with Good Shepherd Health
Education say one of the exhibits more than 10-foot-tall-and12-foot-wide will be
hard to miss: Nolan the Colon.
Family Health and Fitness Day begins at 9 tomorrow morning at Hermiston High School. That
runs until 2.
Alvarez takes 8 years settlement
Sept. 21, 2017
A settlement in a Morrow County homicide case.
18-year-old David Alvarez facing homicide charges in the shooting of Evencio Salas
Birrueta of Irrigon on Sept. 11, 2016. A settlement conference ending with a charge of
second-degree manslaughter and a sentencing of 100 months in department of corrections.
Morrow County District Attorney Justin Nelson says the settlement took into account
strengths and weaknesses of the case especially a primary witness changing his
story multiple times - as well as feedback from the victims family. The press
release says the shooting was related to a debt the victim owed Alvarez. Alvarez did flee
the state after the shooting only to turn himself in in Longview, Washington, days later.
Nelson says while the crime took place in the City of Boardman, it took the effort of the
Morrow/Umatilla County Major Crime team and all staff at the morrow county district
attorneys office to prosecute.
Burn ban lifted in Umatilla County
Sept. 21, 2017
Umatilla County today lifting the non-agricultural burn ban in the unincorporated areas of
the county. Burn day protocol is still in effect, and does require a permit. You can find
daily burn day determinations on the Facebook page f or Umatilla County Smoke Management,
and you can contact the Umatilla County Planning Department for more information and
permit applications. In Umatilla County Fire District 1, no burning allowed June 1st to
Sept 30. The burn season for Fire District 1 is Oct. 1 to 31.
Cason's Place open house Saturday
Sept. 21, 2017
This weekend, the open house and grand opening of Casons Place, a nonprofit grief
support center. John Nitz, vice president of Casons place, says the program serves
all of Eastern Oregon and focuses on children and families suffering loss.
"What we're trying to do is bring a system of support that naturalizes or makes the
loss of a parent, a child, into a more normal realm," Nitz says. "We're trying
to give the support they need to work through this time in their life."
Nitz says the program has been in planning for a number of years but his work with
children in the Hermiston School District helped prompt the final push for Caseins
place over the past year as Hermiston students coped with multiple tragedies.
The center will provide group and individual support as well as coordinated trained
volunteers to help families handle grief. Nitz, who works for the Hermiston School
District, says schools do a great job with immediate crisis response, but some children
may need support after the crisis team leaves.
"The thing about grief is it can last weeks to years," Nitz says. "We want
to be there in the second half, for the long-term for these kids."
Caseins Place focuses on children but does have programs for entire families as well
as for adults. The new facility, a former hospice building, has rooms with different
themes to help children express grief, whether through anger or art or anything in
between. The open House is Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the new facility, 1416 SE Court
Avenue, in Pendleton. Visit casonsplace.org for
BMCC prepares for ribbon cutting, Ag-Ed banquet ready to go
Sept. 20, 107
Blue Mountain Community College preparing for a grand opening this month, this one next
week for the Facility for Agricultural Resource Management thats the FARM
building. FARM is the third and final of the bond-funded projects, joining the Precision
Irrigated Ag facility here in Hermiston and the Workforce Training Center in Boardman.
FARM is set for a grand opening from 4:30 to 6:30 on Thursday, Sept. 28. Along with the
grand opening, theyre hosting an Art about Ag exhibit in the Betty Feves Memorial
Art Gallery, to coincide. That exhibit will run Monday through Thursday and by appointment
from Sept. 25 through October 26. They have scheduled an opening reception at the gallery
in Pioneer Hall for 4:30 to 6:30 on Sept. 28, so anyone interested in attending both the
FARM and the Art about Agriculture events can attend both. You can contact BMCC for more
information about either event.
Speaking of the irrigated ag facility, its one of the beneficiaries of a fundraiser this
weekend: The Lions Ag-Ed Banquet and Auction. Preston Winn says the event will help fill
in the gaps left in the bond funding.
The event also benefits the Hermiston Lions Club, which supports community programs and
organizations. Doors open at 6 this Saturday for the Ag-Ed banquet and auction. That will
be at the Hermiston Conference Center, including both live and silent auctions and a
catered dinner by Sundance Grill. Tickets are $40You can purchase tickets at Good
Shepherd, Kuhn Law Offices, the Hermiston Chamber or Commerce, or the BMCC Foundation
That same day, theyre also sponsoring the Don Horneck Memorial Fun Run and Walk.
That 5K run/walk begins and ends at Hermiston High School. Registration begins at 7;30,
and the run kicks off at 9
Semi strikes bus in Kennewick
Sept. 20, 107
Several people injured in Kennewick yesterday when a potato truck smashed into a Ben
Franklin transit bus yesterday afternoon. Washington State Police release showing the
driver of the potato truck was from Umatilla thats Zurisaday Moya-Jimenez,
age 33. Reports saying Moya-Jimenez failed to stop at a red light on Washington State
Route 395 and struck the bus. His 1994 Freightliner Potato Truck totaled and impounded. At
least six people injured and transported to hospitals in the tri-cities. Reports saying
the injuries are serious but non life-threatening. Moya-Jimenez has said the brakes failed
on the truck, which is why it would not stop. The highway closed during emergency response
and potato clean up. The case is still under investigation.
Men arrested for burglary, warrants
Sept. 19, 2017
Three men arrested in Irrigon yesterday two were suspects in a burglary; the third
had warrants from other counties.
It started with a call of suspicious activity in Irrigon around 5:40 in the morning
yesterday, Morrow County deputies and an officer from the Boardman Police Department
responded. They picked up Jesus Concepcion Llamas and Brandon Linn Wilson, both 35 and
both from Irrigon, on charges of first-degree theft and second-degree burglary. Wilson
also facing charges for providing false information to police and warrants out of Lane and
Douglas counties. A third man, 53-year-old Larry Bush, also arrested on warrants from
Oregon Parole and Probation Board as well as a warrant from Washington for
escape/community custody. All three lodged at the Umatilla County Jail.
Depot negotiations move forward
Sept. 19, 2017
Negotiations continuing to move forward on the transfer of the Umatilla Chemical Depot
property to the Columbia Development Authority. In addition to national guard training,
the depot property is slated for a combination of nature preserve and economic
development, both commercial and industrial. Umatilla County Commissioner Bill Elfering,
who sits on the CDA, says theyve had a few hiccups and are now looking
at cultural preservation, including sites from the Oregon Trail and a prehistoric fire
Elfering says the cultural survey also turned up some materials from arrowhead carving,
and additional cultural surveys will be done.
All negotiations must be completed before that date. Elfering says the big one for the
Columbia Development Authority was the water issue, which has been set. Now theyre
still working on a final cost for the property: the army says $1 million, and the offer
from the CDA is free because it removes the government from maintenance obligations
while allowing for economic development on the depot property.
Elephant's Trunk auction looms
Sept. 19, 2017
Coming up this weekend, one of Stanfields most well known buildings heads to the
auction block. The Watts Building at 105 S. Main Street better known by its last
tenant, The Elephants Truck, has been on the market. Now, this Sunday, its slated to
be sold at auction. City Manager Blair Larsen says its an important part of the
"It's a beautiful building," Larsen said. "It does need work, but but as
that building goes, I really think the downtown of Stanfield goes. We need to do whatever
we can to make sure it gets restored."
The Elephants Trunk ran for 15 years in Stanfield before its owner retired and
closed it down almost three years ago. The large building remains one of the most visible
in Stanfield, right on the corner of Coe and Main Streets Highway 395. Before
Sundays auction, From noon to 2, there is a preview for any interested bidders.
Larsen says hell ask the city council during tonights meeting if - depending
on how the auction goes the bidder list could include the city.
The city council could decide not to authorize a price during the meeting tonight. That
meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the citys council chambers on Coe Avenue.
The Elephants Trunk auction on Sunday will take place inside the building. Also on
the auction list, a vacant lot adjacent to Elephants Trunk and the property at 165
Coe. The auction itself begins at 2 p.m. You can contact Stuart Realty Group,
503-263-7253, for more information.
CDC trailers arrive in Hermiston
Sept. 18, 2017
Trailers from the Centers for Disease Control arriving at the former Umatilla County
Fairgrounds over the weekend. Its part of the National Health and Nutrition
Examination Survey or NHANES that will be taking place over the next few
weeks. Umatilla County one of only a handful counties in the country participating in the
health surveys. Results will go into tracking national health trends and dictating health
Many selected participants should already have been contacted.
Pendleton police standoff ends in shooting
Sept. 18, 2017
A police standoff in Pendleton that ended in a gunshot on Sunday. A 42-year-old Pendleton
man taken by Life Flight after a reported self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He had
been engaged in a police standoff for several hours inside his home on the North Hill in
Pendleton. It started with a domestic assault call from the man's wife on Sunday morning.
She escaped, and police attempted to communicate with the man through the door. They did
eventually obtain a search warrant and SWAT members entered the home, finding him with a
gunshot wound to the head.
Hermiston narrows graduation venue search
Sept. 15, 2017
The Hermiston School District has narrowed the decision on the venue for graduation in
June of 2018: to keeping it at Hermiston High School or move to the Toyota Center in
Kennewick. Original surveys included options to host graduation at Kennison Field or at
the rodeo arena at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center, but the one opened yesterday
only has the two options.
The choice also changes the date for graduation. If the district stays at the high school,
graduation will be Saturday, June 9. If they go with the Toyota Center, it will be
Thursday June 7.
You can take the four-question survey by
Children's rodeo brings cheers
Sept. 15, 2017
Yesterday, almost 50 students from across Eastern Oregon participated in the
childrens rodeo, an event designed for special education students and put on by the
InterMountain ESD and a whole team of volunteers.
"It's one of the most moving events that we do," ESD Superintendent Mark
Mulvihill said. "It's kind of emotional because you see the happiness of these kids,
and they're cheered on by everybody."
Mulvihill says participants this year came from all four counties within the ESDs
region. Maria Sanchez, of Boardman, attended with her son for the second year and says
more parents and families should participate.
"My son is really proud and happy to come," she said. "It's exciting, and
it's different. It's fun."
Three kids from Echo participated in the childrens rodeo, but the stands were full
of cheering classmates: Echo took its kindergarten through fifth grade classes.
"It's a really special event that we can rally around all of our students,"
Second-grade teacher Billie Parker said. "Other schools don't get to do this, so it's
fun for us to cheer for everyone."
Parker says its an annual tradition.
The children's rodeo has taken place for three decades.
Schools up across the region
Sept 14, 2017
Area school districts have passed the 10-day mark where enrollment numbers typically
stabilize and kids who havent showed up whether from moves or transfers or
other issues are removed from the rosters. After the dust has settled, most local
districts are up.
"There's obviously hot spots where enrollment is booming and there are hot spots
where enrollment is static," said Mark Mulvihill, superintendent for the
InterMountain ESD. Mulvihill says numbers are good overall for the region. The Morrow
County School District is up 22 students from last year, coming in just more than 2,260
students while Umatilla, although a smaller district, also increased 22 students, up to
As the largest district in our area, Hermiston has seen the largest increase: 119.
"We're up - that's good to see," said Interim Superintendent Tricia Mooney.
"It's exciting to be part of a growing district: It gives us a lot of opportunities,
definitely, but it also gives us a lot of growing pains."
Mooney says the growth is across the board. The smallest is the sophomore class at
Hermiston High School at 386. Thats the only class less than 400 students. The
fourth-grade class has 492 students.
Hermiston reporting 5,770 students as of Monday, just before the 10-day drop off. The
Stanfield School District did see a decrease of 19 students this year, from 493 students
last year to 474 this year, but its more stable than it has been in the past, and
Mulvihill says even Pendleton is showing a large kindergarten class after years of
"It's a sign of economic vitality in communities," Mulvihill said. "It's
not great, and I'd like to see more, but it's a good, solid, good."
The growing enrollment trend continues at Blue Mountain Community College as well, and
Mulvihill says its a good sign for the region.
Forest use restrictions drop
Sept 14, 2017
Public use restrictions on the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National forests dropping to
phase B today. That allows use of campfires in designated recreation sties. Restrictions
on chainsaws, internal combustion engines, generators and smoking remain in effect.
Firewood cutting not allowed, and travel restrictions still prohibiting motor vehicles
traveling off designated roads and trails. You can visit the website for the Blue Mountain
Interagency Dispatch for more information.
Board next steps in grad venue
Sept. 13, 2017
This morning, members of the Hermiston School Board meeting with district administration
to begin the process of discussions again on this school years
Hermiston High School Graduation.
"At this point in time, we're divided in the community as to what would be the best
venue," Board member Karen Sherman says, adding she expected the Hermiston School
Board to approve the districts recommendation of hosting this school years
graduation at the Toyota Center in Kennewick. Instead, the board voted 5-2 to again table
t he decision after hearing pushback from the community about moving graduation out of
Hermiston. Multiple community members spoke during last nights meeting, and the
majority supported working to keep graduation local.
Interim Superintendent Tricia Mooney says the 7-member board cares greatly about the
community and its students.
"This is an emotional decision for our community, and the board members hear that and
want to make the best decision for our community, for the district going forward,"
Mooney said. "No matter what decision is made, we're going to have people that are
unhappy, and that's unfortunate."
Sherman says board members will meet with Mooney and other district officials and decide
what the next steps will be.
"We need a little bit of think time," Sherman said. "We need to take some
deep breaths, and we should be able to move forward with what information we think people
need to know."
The board will revisit the issue with the community and are expected to vote again in
You can hear the full interview with Sherman and Mooney here.
Two jailed for hospital theft
Sept. 12, 2017
Two area residents are in jail after an attempted theft at Good Shepherd yesterday.
35-year-old Jonathan Price of Hermiston and 34-year-old Maria Martinez of Irrigon arrested
and charged with first-degree theft. A release from the Hermiston Police Department says
the duo attempted to steal two spools of copper wire valued at $2,000 from a
storage building at Good Shepherd. A security employee found them, but they fled the scene
before officers arrived. They were picked up just before 7 in the evening on Sunday and
taken into custody. Price and Martinez are also suspects in a theft from a heating and
cooling company north of Hermiston on the same day, and HPD says additional charges may
come from the Umatilla County Sheriffs Office in that theft.
Riverside goes on lock out
Sept. 12, 2017
Boardmans Riverside Junior/Senior High School went into lock-out for about 30
minutes yesterday morning because of an incident with police activity in the area.
Some reports saying the lock out was caused by a parent who threatened to
shoot the school, but the parent telling police he said sue the
school. During the lock out, all exterior doors were locked. Students and staff were able
to go about business as usual. The lock out lifted just before noon.
School Board to vote on grad venue
Sept. 11, 2017
The Hermiston School District could decide the location of the 2018 graduation tonight,
and administration is recommending
moving it to Kennewick. Last month, the board
discussed results from a community survey and admins cost estimates and tabled the
discussion. Its listed as an action item on tonights agenda, and the
recommendation district administration is presenting calls for changing the location of
graduation to the Toyota Center in Kennewick for one year. It asks the district reassess
after June of 2018 for potential option in Hermiston for graduation in 2019.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. instead of the usual 6:30. Find
the full agenda here.
City Council increases franchise fees
The Hermiston City Council also meeting tonight. Theyll be considering increasing
franchise fees in eight different utility areas from Cascade Natural Gas to Charter
Communications. The increase in franchise fees will help pay for improvements to the
street network. That meeting begins at 7 at Hermiston City Hall, and you can click here for
the full agenda.
Dedication postponed at Sunset
Sept. 7, 2017
The dedication for the new playground at Sunset Park scheduled for today has been
postponed because of smoke and the closure of Interstate 84. A new date has not yet been
set, but more information expected from Hermiston Parks and Recreation when that is
Fire at Tillicum Inn
Sept. 7, 2017
Firefighters still at the top of the news today, but this time closer to home.
Firefighters from multiple regional departments responding to the Tillicum Inn in Umatilla
just before noon yesterday after a fire threatened the building on Sixth Street. All
residents of the hotel evacuated around 11:40 in the morning, and firefighters battled the
fire for about three hours through multiple rooms and attic space. Six rooms were damaged
in the fire with smoke and water damage throughout the rest of the building, and two
firefighters treated for heat exhaustion. No injuries reported in guests or employees of
the hotel. Preliminary investigation suggesting the fire may have started because of
maintenance work. Damage estimated at about $300,000.
Arrest made in student assault
Sept. 7, 2017
Last week, a student athlete reported a man accosted her while she was running, and
yesterday, Hermiston police arresting 35-year-old Joel Cardenas, of Hermiston, in
connection to the incident. Hes charged with first-degree sex abuse. Hermiston
Police Chief Jason Edmiston says the incident was unfortunate for the victim, witnesses
and members of the entire community, but it was through community information they were
able to locate Cardenas and his vehicle. A release from the Hermiston Police Department
saying the request for information was shared 540 times with more than 32,000 people
viewing the information online. Edmiston says even though social media can be distracting
with misinformation, it made a difference in this case.
Stanfield talks smell... again
Sept. 6, 2017
The Stanfield City Council last night talking again about a certain
over the city this year. Odor issues from the 3D Idapro Solutions plant on Hoosier Lane
the subject of many odor complaints since fires took out the scrubbers at the plant in
Stanfield City Manager Blair Larsen says the company is on track to fix it, but the city
isnt satisfied with the current reductions. They are still gathering information
about where the smell is the biggest problem. Theyre encouraging residents to
contact city hall with constructive criticism.
"if you call and leave a message and say, 'It smells bad, I'm at this address and
this is the time,' then that's far more helpful," Larsen said. "We're doing what
we can to collect that information and get it to the company."
The council discussing the odor issues last night, and Larson says theyve also
outlined the steps the city and company are taking to reduce the smell. Those are in this
months newsletter, which you can find at city hall or at the Stanfield Public
Library. Among other steps, the plant will not be running during Stanfield events
including home football games.
The city council still moving forward on modifications to the citys nuisance
ordinance. The council tabled the new ordinance last night for legal review, If approved,
among other things, it would add teeth to the citys case if 3D IdaPro does not
resolve the odor issue.
HSD statement on DACA
Sept. 6, 2017
The Hermiston School District responding to the news the Trump Administration will
dismantle the DACA program thats Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
a program offering protection for children brought into the country illegally.
The districts statement, from interim superintendent Tricia Mooney, says
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Dreamer students and families that might be
affected by todays federal decision. We will monitor the well-being of our students
while they are under our care and will provide support if necessary to make sure that all
our students are able to maintain focus on their learning
Umatilla forming mural committee
Sept. 1, 2017
The city of Umatilla could be more colorful in the near future.
Mark Ribich, city councilman and chamber board member, is spearheading a mural initiative
for downtown Umatilla. He says the idea came from feedback during Umatillas mid-week
"Through the summer, our goal was to get people out of their houses and downtown, and
one of the things we heard complaints about over and over was that it's drab, there's no
color," Ribich said. "People want to see something new, and they've commented on
it all year."
Owners of two buildings in Umatillas downtown are already onboard with the idea, and
Ribich says hes working with the city to create a mural society
organization to help the initiative.
The group will then work on finding funding sources, selecting topics and working with
artists. You can contact Mark Ribich at 253-204-5979 for more information.
HART changes in the works
Aug. 31, 2017
Changes are coming for the Hermiston Area Transit System and a payroll tax could
impact it. Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says they dont want to make
major changes to the bus and its routes on a regular basis, but with nine months under the
tires, he says theyre ready to make some decisions.
"We've got some good information, good data about whether a stop is viable," he
said. "Over the course of those nine months, we have one stop that was never used
Morgan says the transportation committee will look at removing unused stops as well as
removing the stop in Riverfront Park. That stop, in particular, adds about 15 minutes onto
the drive time for the loop and has only been used a handful of times. Morgan says the
committee will look at reducing the route from an hour and 15 minutes down to one hour.
"By far and away the No. 1 complaint we've gotten from people is they feel the system
isn't very usable because it takes an hour and a half to get around town," he said.
Morgan says if they can reduce the route to an hour, they could offer three routes in the
morning and three in the afternoon. That could also change in the future thanks to the
states 5-point-3-billion-dollar transportation plan. Included in that plan signed by
the governor is a tax of 1/10th of 1 percent of all payroll in the state thats
dedicated to public transport.
"This doesn't typically happen with things coming out of Salem: 90 percent of those
funds that were raised have to go back to the county from which they were raised," he
In Umatilla County, the money will go to the county about $1 million a year
and will then be distributed. Morgan says they hope to use funding from that revenue to
expand HARTs days and hours by adding a second employee. Those funds will be
available to counties in January of 2019. Find the current HART schedule here.
McNary Dam to close tomorrow
Aug. 29, 2017
McNary Dam's navigation lock will be out of service for recreational vessels on Wednesday,
Aug. 30. The outage is necessary for critical inspections of the downstream gate that
require the lock to remain at its lowest water level, according to U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers officials at the dam.
Read more here
First Day of School for local districts
Aug. 28, 2017
Today is the first day of school in Hermiston, Umatilla, and Morrow County school
districts. That does mean school zones are back in effect and more students will be
walking and biking in the mornings and afternoons.
"We're fortunate with our weather at the beginning of the school year, and we have a
lot of kiddos who walk to bike to neighborhood schools," Hermiston School District
interim superintendent Tricia Mooney said. "We ask our community members to keep an
eye out as they make the transition to school."
School begins today for all Hermiston district students except for kindergartners who will
start classes on Wednesday.
School Board talks grad venue; City council, Smith evaluation
Aug. 28, 2017
The Hermiston School Board meeting tonight in a work session. The primary agenda item is
discussion of graduation venues. That meeting begins at 6:30 in the boardroom at the
Hermiston School District offices, 305 SW 11th Street. Find the
The Hermiston City Council also meeting tonight, also with a light agenda. Theyll
consider committee reports, an update from the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center and
theyll be analyzing the performance of city manager Byron Smith in his annual
review. Theyll consider and possibly approve amendments to the City Managers
employment contract. That meeting begins at 7 at Hermiston City Hall. You can read the agenda
Drake charged with assault, kidnapping
Aug. 28, 2017
Over the weekend, an arrest by Umatilla County Sheriffs Office. Just before 6 in the
morning, deputies responding to a report of domestic violence on Echols Road near
Hermiston. 40-year-old Tamar Drake, of Hermiston, allegedly assaulting her 70-year-old
father, Steven Winn, and threatening him with a firearm. Deputies, believing Winn to be in
eminent danger, forced entry into the home. Drake resisted arrest and actively fought the
deputies, including biting one. She also punched her father in the face, fired at least
one round from a rifle she had stolen and threatened to kill her father. She was arrested
and charged with Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, first-degree
Kidnapping, Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, first-degree theft, Menacing, Assault and
Mosquito spraying tonight
Aug. 28, 2017
Tonight, the West Umatilla Mosquito Control District conducting aerial control sprays at
sunset in response to three confirmed positive west Nile samples. Theyll be
targeting 10,000 acres along highway 730 between Umatilla and the Umatilla-Morrow County
Motorcycle crash claims 1 in Pendleton
Aug. 28, 2017
Over the weekend, a motorcycle crash in Pendleton. A release from Oregon State Police
saying 60-year-old Edward Badger, from Washington, was driving a 2007 Harley Davison
motorcycle when he lost control and crashed near milepost 206 in Pendleton. That crash
around 5 p.m. on Saturday. Both Badger and his passenger were transported to Saint Anthony
Hospital in Pendleton with serious injuries. Badger later flown to Kadlec. The passenger,
however, dying from injuries. OSP says the identification of the passenger being withheld
under the family can be contacted.
NHANES post cards in the mail
Aug. 23, 2017
If youve checked your mailbox this week, you might have received a post card from
the CDC. Umatilla County Public Health Director Jim Setzer says its not a scam and
its part of the NHANES National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Umatilla County has been selected to participate in the survey this year, the first time
Setzer is aware of in the NHANES 50-year history. Households have been chosen, and, if
youre one of them, you should receive a post card this week or next. The NHANES
survey will include an interview and multiple health screenings.
"The test is free, there is some compensation for participation, and you'll come away
with some information to add to your personal health records and your personal care
provider," Setzer said, referencing proving your personal results from NHANES
screenings to your doctor. "There isn't much of a downside."
After he surveys and screenings are completed, participants to receive information, and
general information is combined with others across the country and is used in policy
decisions on the national level, such as tracking second-hand smoke.
Trailers for the NHANES surveys will be set up in Hermiston in the next couple weeks. If
you have any questions, you can contact Umatilla County Public Health.
Eclipse traffic hits Umatilla County
Aug. 22, 2017
Heavy traffic backing up roads in the region yesterday after the solar eclipse. Long
delays on Interstate 82 and 84 as traffic headed back into Washington. The I-82 on-ramp in
Umatilla closed because of congestion and single lane travel across the Columbia River
Bridge. The bridge narrowed to one lane in each direction for Repair Work The Oregon
Department of Transportation (ODOT) reporting experiencing very heavy traffic also
reported on Highway 395 northbound from Long Creek to Pendleton. A detour for car traffic
set up to relieve congestion on Southgate in Pendleton, and local traffic was asked to
avoid traveling on Highway 395 as well as that all travelers should avoid travel
westbound (north) on Interstate 82 into Washington.
The traffic problems stretching across the state.
"I think what we're seeing is that people might be a little surprised that what we
anticipated is actually becoming reality," said Juliane Repman, a spokeswoman for the
coordination center in central Oregon. "They're dealing with it really well."
That center coordinated ODOT, Public Health, Law Enforcement and Forestry. They do expect
traffic congestion to continue today.
Rivera steps in at EOTEC
Aug. 22, 2017
On Monday, Nate Rivera moving into his new role as the interim manager of the Eastern
Oregon Trade and Event Center. Hes holding the center while they search for a new
manager to fill the space left when Heather Cannell has taken a new position with the SAGE
"This is a position where I'm coming in specifically for a task. This isn't a
position where I'm coming in turning to the long-term," River said.
Rivera is the general manager of Hermiston Energy Services and says city staff have made
it possible for him to step into the interim role by removing some duties off his plate so
he can focus on some specific goals at EOTEC.
"I'm going to work specifically on a business plan, day-to-day operations, as well as
recruitment of either a manager or a general management company that can come in and be
successful," he said.
Rivera will be helping out for a maximum of six month.
Author, speaker coming to Hermiston
Aug. 22, 2017
This Wednesday, a free event at the Hermiston Conference Center, sponsored by Good
Shepherd. Its Live Inspired with John OLeary, a motivational speaker and
best-selling author. OLeary says he never knew his life story was remarkable and
took it for granted until his parents wrote a book about his childhood.
"When I was 9 year-old, I was burned on 100 percent of my body and given less 1
percent chance of surviving the first night," O'Leary said. "I've gone on to not
only graduate university and find a good life but to realize the beauty and the value of
my story and what it can mean to others."
OLeary will be sharing his story as well as helping others realize the value in
their own challenges during the live inspired presentation. He says its
an emotional, motivational presentation.
"It's a really powerful, inspirational story," he said.
That begins at 6 in the evening on Wednesday. Tickets are free, but you do need to sign up
in advance because seating is limited. For more information, you can call 541-667-3509 or
Mabbott moving to Umatilla
August 18, 2017
Umatilla Countys Planning Director is turning in her county job for a position in
the city of Umatilla. Tamra Mabbott has been named the Community Development Director for
the river city. Its a new position and a new department for the city of Umatilla,
created to focus on community development and revitalization. Mabbott has been the
countys planning director for 15 years and has spent much of the past year working
closely with graduate students from Portland State University who developed a vision and
framework plan for Umatillas downtown and riverfront development. She will start
with Umatilla on Sept. 1.
Also yesterday, the city announcing the promotion of Jason Barron as new Public Works
Director. Hes been with the citys public works department for 16 years
UCSO prepping for eclipse
August 18, 2017
Travelers to central Oregon for the eclipse are already backing up traffic. Here in
Umatilla County, Sheriff Terry Rowan says they started their campaign yesterday, focusing
on the main thoroughfares like Interstate 84, Highway 395, and Highway 207.
"As people travel through, we just ask that they be prepared," Rowan said.
"Have the fuel topped off, have plenty of water, maybe have some snacks in the
vehicle, be prepared - and be patient."
Rowan says theyre stationing deputies in different pockets of the county to ensure
safe travels. Theyre stocking vehicles with provisions, and tonight, search and
rescue volunteers will head to the mountains. Search and Rescue team is volunteer and some
members will be staying Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. Across the county, Rowan says
theyre expecting to see an uptick in traffic today and through Monday.
New venue for HHS graduation
Aug. 16, 2017
Surveys will go live this week about a new venue for Hermiston High Schools
Graduation. School Board member Josh Goller says the gym at Hermiston High School simply
isnt big enough for the growing senior classes.
"The challenge that we run into is that with so many seniors graduating, we have to
limit the number of family and friends that are able to attend graduation," he said.
"We need to address or take a look at if there are any alternative options."
Last year, they limited students to five tickets per family, which was a decrease from
graduation in 2016. The gym holds about 18-hundred seats, with some overflow available.
The primary alternate locations the district is looking at are Kennison Field, the rodeo
arena at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center and the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
Interim Superintendent Tricia Mooney says a survey will be available this week for
community members to provide input.
"Along with the survey, we'll provide some information about each of the venues that
was discussed by the board so that as people are answering the survey, they have that
information," she said. "If there are any other questions, we invite people to
direct those to the district office."
District officials say if they use an outdoor facility, they will still need to prep the
HHS gym in case of weather issues. They hope to make a decision in September.
UPDATE: Follow the
link here for the survey.
Chamber hosts 'pop up' job fair
Aug. 16, 2017
A "pop up" job fair today at the Hermiston Conference Center. It's this
afternoon from 2 to 7.
Hermiston Chamber director Debbie Pedro says if youre looking for a job, you should
dress for a job interview and bring a resume. You can contact the chamber of commerce for
more information at 567-6151.
City Council considers franchise fees
Aug. 15, 2017
The Hermiston City Council will consider raising Franchise Fees charged to utility
companies to pay for street improvements. Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan
says the biggest issue is compression where the city butts up against a maximum tax
amount. Hermiston has the sixth largest compression rate in the state, in between Salem
Because of compression, the citys public infrastructure committee recommending the
council increase fees on electric, gas, cable, and telecom companies. If approved, The
franchise fee expected to raise $413,000 per year and should cost the average residential
customer about $4 a month. Because it is based on a percentage of the customers
bill, large utility customers like Wal-Mart and Good Shepherd Medical Center would pay a
Proposed projects include addressing the intersections of First and Highland and First and
Orchard as well as re-aligning the three-way intersection at Geer, Harper and First Street
as well as paving projects and widening 10th Street.
"Under our current street funding model, it'll take us 60 years to pay for just those
highest priority projects," Morgan said. "I don't think those kids dodging
traffic on 10th Street want to wait 60 years for a wider street."
The City Council will consider the fees during its next meting, Aug. 28.
OSU Extension tax district updates
Aug. 15, 2017
The Hermiston City Council voting Monday night to allow the Oregon State University
Extension service to place a request on voter ballots in the city to form a new special
taxing district. The district would fund OSU extension programs, including 4-H and the
Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Morgan says the council voting to
allow the ballot measure was not necessarily voting in support of the district.
"They're absolutely not discussing whether or not they're endorsing this issue,"
Morgan says. "This council prefers to send issues to the voters."
If you want to know more about the Extension Centers proposal, youll have a
chance if you head to Stanfield or Umatilla tonight.
The Stanfield City Council meeting at 7 p.m. Like many area groups, theyll include a
presentation from the local OSU Extension regarding a proposed service district. The
council also expected to consider a resolution supporting that new taxing district
immediately following the presentation. Also on the agenda, an ODOT special city
allotment, financing options for the citys new public works storage building and
discussion on potentially modifying the citys nuisance ordinance, so its a
pretty full agenda for the Stanfield City Council tonight. That meeting begins at 7 in the
city council chambers at 150 W. Coe Avenue.
The Umatilla City Council also meeting tonight in a workshop, also at 7 p.m. On their
agenda discussion of the OSU Service District, council goals and committee
Council considers annexation, school board talks graduation
Aug. 14, 2017
Hermiston City Council considering annexing 13 acres of land of Gettman Road tonight.
Action at city hall starts with a work session at 6 about street capital improvement
projects, followed by the regular meeting at 7. On the agenda, a hearing and possible
annexation of 13 acres of land on Gettman Road for a potential duplex subdivision. The
citys urban renewal agency to meet after the council. All those meetings at
Hermiston City Hall, and you can find the full agenda here.
At 6:30 tonight, Hermiston School board also meeting. On
that agenda, regular business and reports as well as discussion of graduation venue.
Earlier this year we told you the district considering moving Hermiston High Schools
graduation ceremonies due to constraints of space and increasing class sizes.
They also have a recommendation to approve a contract with Royse Hydroseeding and
excavating for completion of the Fairgrounds demolition project.
Rick Perry to tour McNary Dam
Aug. 14, 2017
U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry visiting McNary Dam today.
Its one of a series of stops focused on energy in the Pacific Northwest. Hell
be touring the lock and dam as a guest of U.S. Congressman Greg Walden. NOTHING HAS BEEN
DONE TO IMPROVE THE GENERATING EFFICIENCY OF THE DAM SINCE THE PROJECT WAS COMPLETED IN
1957. PLANNING IS UNDERWAY ON UPGRADES. Tomorrow, PERRY WILL TRAVEL TO RICHLAND,
WASHINGTON WHERE HE WILL VISIT THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST NATIONAL LABORATORY AND THEN THE
TRAINING FACILITY. THAT'S WHERE EMERGENCY RESPONDERS LEARN HOW TO WORK IN EMERGENCIES
INVOLVING NUCLEAR WASTE. WHEN HE TOURS THE HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION HE'LL VISIT THE
PLUTONIUM FINISHING PLANT AND THE PUREX TUNNELS. EARLIER THIS YEAR, WOOD SUPPORTS IN ONE
OF THOSE TUNNELS COLLAPSED AND HAD TO BE FILLED IN, BECAUSE IT CONTAINS LOW LEVEL NUCLEAR
Safety a priority at Umatilla County Fair
Aug 10, 2017
We are halfway through the 2017 Umatilla County Fair, and sheriff Terry Rowan says so far
things have been going well. He says this year they're taking a flexible approach keeping
visual patrols and responding to issues as they arise with the new location at the Eastern
Oregon Trade and Event Center.
Rowan says having the new emergency response center is also making a difference. The
center is linked in with the county's dispatch center while providing an air-conditioned
space for security meetings as well as some emergency medical services.
They're also ramping up patrols as we move into the more busy times for the fair and
reminding attendees to stay safe.Sheriff's deputies and officers from other county police
departments will continue patrolling the grounds.
If you're traveling with children - take a photo of them when you arrive at the fair just
in case you're separated and need law enforcement help to find them.
Wildfires cause smoke and haze
Aug. 3, 2017
Smoke and haze in the sky caused by wildfires, prompting an air quality advisory from the
Department of Environmental Quality. Thatll be in place until Saturday. Officials
say primarily coming from Canada, but local officials saying its a reminder of the
high fire danger.
Within the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center, five wildfires reported yesterday
from Baker City all the way to Richland. While still small at 12 acres, one of the largest
was a grass fire a mile north of Pilot Rock. The Knot Grass fire in Washington burned 50
acres yesterday and .
Tuesday, a fire scorching land near Horseshoe Bend on Highway 74. Ione Rural Volunteer
Fire responded, requesting mutual aid from Heppner Rural Fire and the Morrow County
Sheriffs Office. A release from the sheriffs office saying many local farmer
and ranchers also responded to assist, keeping the damage from the fast moving grass fire
to about three miles of land, when it could have stretched much further. Highway 74 was
closed to all but emergency traffic because of low visibility, and a power pole caught
fire, knocking out power to Columbia Basin Electric Customers. The fire put out around 9
last night. No injures reported and no damage to homes or structures, but the
sheriffs office saying its a reminder for all local residents to clear out dry
grasses, weeds, pine needles and sagebrush from around homes to improve the chance of
saving your property from a wildland fire.
Hazardous weather warning
Aug 2, 2017
A hazardous weather warning in effect in the lower Columbia basin from noon today through
Friday evening. National Weather Service advising night temperatures will provide little
relief to the high heat as theyll drop only to the mid 60-s or low 70s for a few
hours before daybreak in some areas.
Tonight, no mid-week market in Umatilla because of the heat. With temperatures of
up to 105, organizers and vendors voting to cancel the market on this week only after
fears it could cause health issues. The market will return on the 9th.
The Bonneville Power Administration is preparing for high demand during the heat wave.
BPA's David Wilson says they regularly clear areas under the lines because during
temperatures above 100 degrees, the lines can sag several feet. BPA expects to set a new
record for power usage during this heat wave. The previous record of 7,861 megawatts of
electricity was set on July 16, 2014.
Last Supper Dining opens
Aug 2, 2017
Last night, the grand opening of a restaurant in Hermiston. Last Supper Dining
opens its doors at 4 tonight at 509 E. Main Street the former Ray and
Venetas. The restaurant had a soft opening earlier this summer, but opens officially
Pastor and restaurant coordinator Jason Estle says the main purpose is to create jobs for
people who might be just completing treatment or just getting out of jail and have
difficulty finding work.
"We want to be able to utilize people to get back on their feet, to feel worth, to
have that sense of worth," Estle said. "We want people to have that second
chance, third chance, fourth chance, whatever it takes to realize the importance of
As an extension of Desert Rose Ministries, Estle says Last Supper Dining is
both a restaurant and a form of ministry.
"We're excited to see everybody, and if somebody needs prayer, stop in and we'll pray
for you," he said. "Hopefully they're blessed in their bellies and blessed in
Moving forward, Last Supper Dining will be open Monday through Saturday evenings, focusing
on a dinner menu. Estle says they do plan on eventually offering a Sunday brunch.
National Night Out on Tuesday
July 31, 2017
National Night Out is tomorrow. Its an annual event across the country promoting
relationships between police departments and the community. Events going on in most local
communities you can contact any area police department for more information.
In Stanfield, for example, events start at 6 in the evening at Bard Park. Theyll
have a raffle with donated prizes, a bike rodeo focusing on safety, bike registration, and
a drone obstacle course. Theyll also have free hot dogs, burgers, chips and drinks.
Stanfield Police Chief Brian Zumwalt says everyone is welcome, including kids, families
Theyre also debuting a good neighbor award, where one resident will be named the
good neighbor of the year for making a difference.
"We're requesting that people nominate someone in their neighborhood or in the
town," Zumwalt says. "If you contact me or city hall, fill out an application,
then they'll be recognized.
The good neighbor award going on both in Stanfield and in Echo. You can find nomination
forms online or by stopping by city offices for either city.
You can end your night in Stanfield with its Movies in the Park. At dusk, theyll be
showing Boss Baby, also in Bard Park. Popcorn is free, and its open to anyone.
Umatilla fire spreads after illegal burning
July 28, 2017
A fire yesterday in Umatilla because of illegal burning. Umatilla Rural Fire Protection
District Chief Steve Potts says says the fire spread within minutes, burning a field and
coming up against multiple buildings, putting them at risk.
Potts says a combination of temperatures in the high 90s and a 10-15 mph wind exacerbated
the problem. He says its the second citation for reckless burning theyve given
Part of the issue is people dont understand the rules. He says people call the
countys burn line, find out its a burn day and think its ok to burn
backyard debris. Potts says that is absolutely not the case, that the burn line only
applies to ag burning, where operations have specialized equipment and burn barriers to
keep the fire from spreading. Potts is now working with the county for clarification on
the countys burn line and website to make that more clear because theyve had
more reports of illegal burning this year than usual.
Fire injures 1 at IdaPro plant
July 27, 2017
Another fire at the 3D IdaPro dehydration plant in Stanfield this week. An explosion felt
across Stanfield on Wednesday night, and the resulting fire did injure one employee.
Its the third fire at the plant within the past year. IdaPro Dehydration and
processing produces ingredients from potatoes for use in pet food. Officials have said the
fires damaged scrubbers, which are part of the air filtration system designed to limit
smells coming off the plant.
Frank Harkenrider dies at 90
July 27, 2017
Former mayor and longtime Hermiston city official Frank Harkenrider has died. He was 90.
Born on Christmas day in 1926, the man known as Harkie died Monday.
He was appointed to the Hermiston City Council in 1959 and served a combined 54 years in
city government: 44 years on City Council and 10 as mayor. He survived a recall attempt in
2012 and then stepped down from civic service in 2014. The new senior center under
construction in Hermiston is named the Harkenrider Center.
A celebration of life service is pending. Burns Mortuary is in care of arrangements.
Mooney named interim superintendent
July 25, 2017
Tricia Mooney unanimously named the Hermiston School Districts interim
superintendent last night.
"I am humbled and honored to have been selected to carry the district forward during
Dr. Maiocco's absence," she said.
Mooney will take the helm of the district for the next year while Superintendent Fred
Maiocco continues his overseas military deployment. The board interviewed three finalists
yesterday, and Board chairwoman Karen Sherman said the school board spent five hours in
interviews and deliberation.
"This is not something that we did lightly," Sherman said. "We had many
community members here, and we read every single comment. It took us about an hour to
The district came out of its closed-door deliberations around 6:45 last evening and made
the announcement. Mooney started her education career as a teacher in Hermiston in 1995.
She has also served as principal of each Rocky Heights Elementary and Armand Larive Middle
School as well as assistant superintendent in the Pendleton School District. She is
currently the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Hermiston
School District and will now step into the interim superintendent role.
During the meeting last night, the board also voted to allow district administration to
move forward with bids on the demolition of the Umatilla County Fairgrounds.
Family dispute ends in stabbing
July 25, 2017
A family dispute ending in a stabbing on Monday.
The Umatilla County Sheriffs Office responded to a home on Cecil Street street at
about 4:20 Monday regarding an assault call. Deputies responded and discovered that Brian
Bush, age 52, and his sixteen-year-old son were involved in an argument, which became
physical. During the altercation, Mr. Bush suffered a knife wound to his side. He was
taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston where he was treated for his injuries
and later released. Mr. Bushs son was taken into police custody and lodged on the
charge of Assault in the Second Degree. The case will be referred to the Umatilla County
District Attorneys for prosecution.
School Board to pick interim superintendent
July 24, 2017
The Hermiston School District has announced its finalists for interim superintendent. The
chose interim will lead the district while superintendent Fred Maiocco is deployed
overseas with the U.S. Army Reserves for the next year. The three finalists are: the
districts Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Tricia Mooney, former
Hermiston High School principal Buzz Brazeau who retired this year as superintendent of
the Central School District and Richard Rundhaug, a consultant from Phoenix, Arizona.
Rundhaug has 11 years experience as a superintendent.
The Hermiston School Board will interview candidates from 2 to 6:30 p.m. Monday. The
public is invited and encouraged to attend. Those will be in the district
offices on 11th and Orchard.
After the interviews, the school board expected to appoint one of the three as its interim
superintendent during a special board meeting that begins at 6:30. During that meeting,
the board also to have a presentation of the fairgrounds demolition. That project
originally expected to take place last month; however, it was held because bids came in
higher than expected. The district broke the project into two phases, and Theyre
expected to award a bid for the project if bids are received within the authorized
budget amount. Find the full agenda for tonight's meeting
City Council tackles parks, right-of-way
July 24, 2017
While the school district setting up its administration for the next year, the Hermiston
City Council talking parks. Two resolutions up for a vote tonight, both regarding parks
One acquires Steelhead Park from the Oregon department of Fish and Wildlife. The park is
just south of Riverfront Park on the other side of Highland Extension. The city isnt
paying for the park, but they will agree to make improvements including enhancing water
access for public recreation expected to cost about $118,000. The other, exercising the
power of eminent domain for the West Highland Trail project. Meeting documents show the
city is authorizing ODOT to conduct negotiations for the right-of-way and easement
purchases. Five properties expected to be impacted. The city is paying $45,000 into an
account for ODOT to use to purchase those, and any unused portion will come back to the
During the meeting, the council also voting on right of way services to continue work on
the West Highland Trail project and moving forward on the updates to the downtown light
pole project. Click
here for the full agenda.
Another fire, more restrictions
July 20, 2017
Another wildfire outside of Hermiston Wednesday afternoon. The fire near Hat Rock at the
intersection of Highway 37 and 730. The fire did cause heavy smoke over Highway 730. Crews
from multiple agencies responded, and they shifted to clean up operations just before 8
p.m.. The fire coming on the same day Umatilla County Commissioners and officials at local
National Forests announced burn bans and fire restrictions because of high fire danger.
Well have more on those restrictions in our regional news later this hour.
Fire restrictions increasing today in area forests and in Umatilla County.
In the county, a Non-agricultural burning ban going into effect at noon tomorrow. It
applies to the unincorporated areas of Umatilla County. The ban blocks all non-ag open
burning including burn barrels and burning of yard and garden debris piles. Agricultural
burning still allowed, but restrictions in place based on weather conditions. Smoke
management permit holders still required to check for burn day status.
This burn ban is in addition to the burn bans in place by Umatilla County Fire District 1
and the Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District.
Forest restrictions increasing tomorrow, including prohibiting chainsaws and tightening
Malheur, Umatilla and Wallowa Whitman forests moving to Phase B Public use restrictions
one minute after midnight because of high fire danger, potential for human-caused fires
and concerns for public safety. The increased restrictions pertain to the use of
campfires, smoking, chainsaws, internal combustion engines, and generators. The
restrictions also mean campfires are only allowed in designated campgrounds and
recreational sites. For more information and a list of designated recreation areas and
campsites where campfires are permitted during Phase B Public Use Restrictions, you can
visit the facebook pages for any of the three national forests or contact their
Downtown Courtyard in fundraising challenge
July 20, 2017
The Hermiston Downtown Development district selected for a crowdfunding project to boost
donations for a courtyard on Main Street. Emma Porricolo says the crowdfunding challenge
could bring a bonus $25-hundred.
"We are one of 10 communities in the country chosen for the Edward Jones Placemaking
Challenge, and the project we're using is the Main Street Courtyard project," she
The courtyard project seeks to create a parklike space with seating and greenery in the
downtown courtyard thats the paved space at 245 E. Main Street.The materials
would match the style planned for the Festival Street on Second Avenue. Porricolo says
its to create continuity and sense of place downtown.
"We're going to match it to what will be placed on the festival street, adding some
greenery and creating this really inviting place downtown," she said. "We want
to promote people to come downtown, walk around, and see downtown."
The group will match all donations up to $1,000 each. That means a $10 donation becomes
$20 and a $25 donation becomes $50. The total project is $5,000, and the deadline for
matching donations is July 31. You can find more information and donate on the
crowdfunding challenge website.
OSU extension seeks tax district
July 19, 2017
The extension and research service is moving forward with a taxing district. Extension and
research services cover programs like 4-H and master gardeners, as well as research and
operations of the countys two extension centers, including the Hermiston
Agricultural Research and Extension Center. HAREC director Phil Hamm says its an important
part of the community.
"OSU has a lot of impact in the area so many different ways; however, because of
issues outside of us, we're having issues with how we maintain these programs," he
said. "It's basically because of state budget cuts."
Tomorrow, Oregon State University Extension regional administrator Mary Corp will present
to Morrow County Commissioners, asking for support of a service district to generate
funding from local property taxes.
"We are looking at 33 cents per thousand, so for an average home of $135,000, it
would add $41 to their tax," Corp said.
The special district would be established by voters in the May 2018 election. The proposal
would cover each Morrow and Umatilla counties at the same rate, although they would be
established in separate votes. Hamm says 25 of the 36 counties in Oregon already have
extension service districts to fund the programs. Hamm and Corp are kicking off their
public information campaign about the proposal this week. If youd like more
information or to schedule an information session, you can contact either the OSU
extension offices in Hermiston or Pendleton.
HSD waits for survey response
July 18, 2017
The Hermiston School District still waiting on results of a community conversation after a
$107 million construction bond failed to get voter support in May.
"The firm that we're working with is still collating all of that information and will
begin some additional dialogue with the community in the fall," Hermiston Schools
superintendent Fred Maiocco said."I anticipate they'll be ready to share some of
their results in September."
That initial report will go to the school board, which will decide the next steps. Maiocco
says after receiving that information, the board will look at potentially reprioritizing
items to find the right package to send back to the voters in 2019. Board
chair Karen Sherman says the board is already aware of some issues from talking to the
"We were disappointed that the bond didn't pass, but we understand some of the issues
with it," she said. "That's what's we're trying to address as we look at maybe
going out for a bond in two years."
Both Maiocco and Sherman say with current growth trends, the district will continue to see
larger class sizes due to space constraints.
Sunset Playground construction begins
July 18, 2017
In other Hermiston construction news, work getting under way for a project residents did
vote for although not in an election. In May, Hermiston received more than 13,000
votes toward the Blazers Moda Assist program for a new playground at Sunset park.
Hermiston won, and Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter says some of the equipment
is coming in now.
The $20,000 from Moda has all gone toward the playground equipment, which is designed to
be more accessible for all children.
"The goal is to have an all-abilities playground," Fetter said. "We have
some equipment here that we don't have in our other parks that's friendlier to kids of all
On Sept. 7 at 4, theyll have representatives from the Blazers and Moda on scene for
the dedication. Fetter says the playground will likely be open before that, but the
official dedication and ribbon cutting is in September.
Umatilla council to annex land
July 18, 2017
Tonight, a meeting of the Umatilla City Council. It starts at 5:30 with a work session,
primarily focused on legal powers and impediments for elected officials. City work
sessions are designed to provide information to council members.
The regular meeting follows at 7. The primary action items center on the annexation of 269
acres of county property into the city limits and rezoning the property to light
industrial. The ordinances both reference Vadata or VA data, a subsidiary of Amazon, and
the requests have been approved by the Umatilla Planning Commission. The company operates
multiple data centers in the area and is in the process of purchasing the property up for
annexation. The city council expected to vote on both ordinances tonight.
Brush fire hits 30 acres
July 17, 2017
No injuries after large brush fire yesterday in Hermiston.
A release from Umatilla County Fire District 1 saying the 30-acre fire started in a mower
that hit something in the dry grass. The mower operator attempted to put the fire out but
it was carried by wind and try grass. The fire near highland and Orchard driven by wind
with flames reaching up to 15 feet and threatening homes and farm structures. One small
barn burned in the fire but no homes were lost. The total loss value unknown at this time.
One vehicle accident occurred due to distracted drivers.
Umatilla schools under construction
July 17, 2017
Construction projects in full swing at Umatilla schools this summer. The roof has been
completed at Umatilla High School and crews working on the roof at McNary Heights
Elementary this month.
Umatilla Schools Superintendent Heidi Sipe says Boise-based firm Design West will serve as
architect for the remaining portions of the bond-funded project. The roof will be replaced
at Clara Brownell Middle School after heating and cooling systems are done.
"Over the next year, people should expect to see a lot of design, thinking work
happening," Sipe says. "When that is completed, they should see a lot of
construction happening this summer."
The $14 million project includes building a new cafeteria at McNary Heights Elementary and
restructuring the school entryways for better security.
In other Umatilla news, a reminder they are still accepting applications for an open spot
on the Umatilla School Board. Applicants must live within the Umatilla School District
boundaries, and applications are due to the district office in the first week of August.
Plane crash reported, unable to locate
July 17, 2017
Reports of a plane crash on Saturday, but law enforcement unable to locate any wreckage.
At about 9 in the morning Saturday, the Sheriffs Office received a call of a
possible plane crash in the Columbia River near Hat Rock State Park. According to the
report, the plane appeared to be small yellow aircraft that flying near and around Hat
Rock and then along the river. The caller saying the plane dropped out of sight over the
water, and they thought they saw a large splash. No other reports of the plane, including
from boaters in the area. Airports in Hermiston, Pendleton, the Tri Cities, and
Walla-Walla were notified, along with the Oregon State Police the Benton and Walla Walla
County Sheriffs Offices.
Police personnel, including the Umatilla County Sheriffs Marine Patrol searched the
area for several hours, traveling on the river from McNary Dam to the Washington border.
We were also assisted by local pilots, who flew the river several times. No indications of
a crash or signs of aircraft debris were spotted. Anyone with additional information is
asked to contact the Umatilla Sheriff's Office.
HSD starts superintendent search
July 14, 2017
The Hermiston School District starting its search for an interim superintendent to fill
the space left while Dr. Fred Maiocco serves an overseas deployment. Theyre taking
applications now and encouraging members of the public to come out and attend the process.
Staff and public will be able to provide written comments on each candidate. The board
will take the comment card into account when making final decisions.
Its a draft interview schedule based on if two or three candidates are interviewed.
With two candidates, interviews begin at 3 in the afternoon on the July 24 - With three
candidates, interviews begin at 2.
Fire closes highway
July 13, 2017
A fire yesterday between Hermiston and Stanfield. The fire in cardboard bales at the
recycling site at Medelez Trucking around 1 in the afternoon then spreading to field,
causing a brush fire. Highway 395 shut for a short time and the northbound reduced to one
lane in the afternoon while firefighters responding. More than 30 firefighters responding
to put out the fire that damaging about $60,000 in cardboard and $5,000 in equipment, in
addition to the field damage. The cause is still under investigation.
Wildfires continuing the burn around the state in Oregon
The Grizzly Fire still in mop-up stages after burning just under 200 acres, Willow Fire
near Klamath Falls is just under 350 acres, and Lone Pine at 1,000 acres. The Anna fire,
the largest in the state, now at 3,200. All districts in the state now in fire season.
Local firefighters continuing to caution about fire danger. The Umatilla National Forest
in a Phase A restriction because of fire danger and dry weather conditions. Specialized
fire crews tackling the Buck Fire near Wallowa and Hells Canyon this week its
now scorched more than 900 acres, started by lightning.
As of this morning, one fire burning in the Umatilla National Forest and two in the
Wallowa Witman, both under an acre. A fire put out yesterday near Mission, southeast of
Pendleton, at a half acre human causes.
Maiocco deploying to Germany
July 11, 2017
Hermiston School District Superintendent Fred Maiocco is leaving the district for
more than a year. Maiocco also serves as a brigadier general in the U.S. Army reserves and
says hes being deployed this month.
Maiocco says the deployment came as a surprise he expected his trip to Kuwait five
years ago to be his final overseas deployment.
"I'm being pulled to an extended period of active duty," Maiocco said. "I
got a call 10 days ago that said, 'You're going to Germany.' I said, 'Is this an optional
thing?' and they said, 'You're going to Germany.'"
In the previous deployment, Maiocco was given 10 days notice. This time around, its
about three weeks, and hell be leaving at the end of this month. Last night, the
district authorizing a leave of absence for Maiocco. Theyll be naming an interim
superintendent to cover the 15 to 18 months Maiocco is gone. Board chair Karen Sherman
says its a strain on the district but is also an opportunity.
"It is very quick for us, but it's such a great opportunity for Dr. Maiocco to serve
the country, and it gives an opportunity for people who are in our district to grow
too," she said.
When Maiocco deployed in 2011, then assistant superintendent Wade Smith was named the
interim superintendent for the district. Smith now serves as superintendent of the Walla
Walla School District. Maiocco says the district is advertising the position for both
internal and external candidates. The school board is expected to interview candidates as
early as July 24.
Fire turns off power
July 11, 2017
A small fire yesterday evening knocking out power again. For the second time in a
week, more than 2,000 customers without power for about an hour. Umatilla County Fire
District 1 reporting the small fire caused by arching wires at the intersection of Theater
Lane and Geer Road. That went out a little before 7 p.m. Monday. It was restored to most
customers after about an hour.
No drones above fires
July 11, 2017
Local fire officials saying no drones at wildfires. The Federal Aviation Administration
puts a temporary flight restriction over fires when firefighting aircraft are in use
and that prohibits flying in the area without FAA approval.
Jamie Knight, with the Oregon Department of Forestrys Northeast Oregon region says
firefighting equipment may need to be grounded to avoid a collision with the drone.
hobbyists and recreational drone flyers can be charged for flying drones in restricted
airspace. As recently as July 2, a drone spotted above a fire in Twin Falls, Idaho, and
the BLM saying they were contacting the pilot and could be issuing a citation for
interfering with firefighting efforts as well as a $500 fine.
Limit chance of theft on vacation
July 11, 2017
Were well into July and into vacation season. Local law enforcement offering
some tips and services to reduce your odds of becoming a victim.
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says to call the 24-hour dispatch center and set up a
vacation check on your home, providing information about when you will be gone.
Hermiston Police have offered similar services. Both organizations offer home checks
dependent on having the resources and officers available. Rowan says they have been able
to thwart a few burglaries and take in suspects just by knowing they were in a house that
was supposed to be empty.
To limit your chances of being a victim, have your mail held at the post office or
have someone take it inside for you daily and wait to post about your trip until
you return home.
It may seem like common sense, but also make sure to lock all doors before you leave, and
if you can set a couple of your lights on a timer, do so.
Council talking NOWA, airport
July 10, 2017
Tonight is again be a meeting night in Hermiston.
Hermiston City Council kicks things off will have a work session to update on NOWA. That
begins at 6 p.m.
Hermiston City Council meeting follows the work session at 7 p.m. at Hermiston City Hall. On the agenda,
two action items: One, allowing the city manager to accept grant funding and hire
consultants o update the airports master layout plan and potentially signing an
intergovernmental agreement with the county to have the city take over jurisdiction of
West Highland Avenue between 11th street and 15th.
The meeting also includes a proclamation for National Night Out. That a community-police
awareness event usually the first Tuesday of August. This year, thats Aug. 1, and
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says theyre planning some changes. In the
past, the police department has helped out with numerous community block parties and
neighborhood events, but that will likely be changing because of restructuring of the
"We're just in the early stages, but we're kicking around the idea of having a
barbecue in front of the police department," Edmiston said. "Have some vehicles
on display for children to look at it, pull out some bulletproof vests and allow the kids
the opportunity to put those on."
Edmiston says the medallion hunt will continue.
School Board meets tonight
July 10, 2017
The Hermiston School Board of Education meeting at 6:30 in the school district offices.
On the school board agenda, annual business like designating the superintendent as the
districts chief administrative officer, setting board meeting dates and electing a
board chair as well as new hirings. On the list of employees is Bradley Wayland as
districts Director of Operations. You can find the full
Fire watch, heat advisory
July 6, 2017
A heat advisory and fire weather watch in effect until 8 in the evening on July 7 because
of high temperatures and high risks. Local officials are busy prepping for wildfires and a
high risk of hot temperatures and dry fuel. Noel Livingston is the fire management officer
for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, and he says they have two primary fire starters
during the summer months:
"80 percent or more of our fires typically start due to lightning, so the trick there
is being able to predict when lightning occurs," Livingston said.
"Unfortunately, we can't do that long-term, we can only do that from the short-term
As short-term as the planning for lightning fires is, fire officials have better odds
there than with the second-largest cause of fires: people.
Livingston says about 20 percent of fires in national forests are human caused.
"Human starts are really problematic for us, primarily because they're hard to
predict where they're going to occur," he said. "We have tools - once we have
the weather forecast - to figure out where we think we may get lightning and we have tools
to show us where lightning strikes occurred, but human starts aren't that way."
Nationwide, humans causes closer to 90 percent of fires in national forests. The most
common causes are unattended campfires, burning of debris, cigarettes and intentional acts
Red Cross issues heat warning
July 6, 2017
With the high temperatures today, the American Red Cross reminding residents of its
extreme temperatures safety tips. The first steps: Make sure you know the weather forecast
with both the temperature and the heat index. Theyre also recommending you review
symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke: also watch out for you
neighbors, especially those who are elderly, young, or sick and might be more susceptible
to heat-related illnesses, as well as making sure all animals have enough shade and water.
Find more information at the Red
Hermiston Foods to close
July 5, 2017
Hermiston Foods to close by the end of 2017. The announcement coming out this weekend when
NORPAC announced the sale of its canning business to Seneca Foods Crop. As part of the
deal, NORPAC is closing the Hermiston facility as well as a processing plant in Salem. The
Statesman Journal reporting canning operations are about 6 percent of NORPACs
business and Hermiston Foods is the smallest of the group's facilities. Hermiston Foods
opened in 1990 and employs around 300 people.
Stanfield gets trail grant
July 5, 2017
In some good news, Stanfield has received a substantial grant from the Oregon Parks and
Recreation Department to put in a trail along Stage Gulch from Sherman Street to Edwards.
Its along the high banks on the canal, and city manager Blair Larson says its
a win-win because the city must maintain the canal banks and flood prevention, and this
allows people to enjoy the experience as well. When completed, the trail will be just
under a mile. Larson says it could be constructed in 2018. Theyll go out to bid this
July 5, 2017
For decades, Hermiston has hosted two individual Kiwanis clubs, but now, theyre
folding into one with the morning club becoming a sub-group of the Noon Kiwanis.
Member Cathy Walmsley says they morning club will meet with the noon Kiwanis as well as on
their own, and that theyll continue working with their established projects
including the Hermiston Festival of Trees, which has been co-sponsored by the morning
Kiwanis and Good Shepherd Foundation.
John Spomer, president of the Morning Kiwanis, continues as chairman of the Festival of