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Venuworks to run EOTEC starting in 2018

The Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center board held a special meeting Tuesday.
By Jade McDowell

Staff Writer

Published on November 22, 2017 3:48PM

The Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center board has approved a deal for VenuWorks to run the facility starting Jan. 1, 2018.

The venue management company will get $9,000 a month plus a commission on the sale of naming rights and other sponsorships.

The board voted unanimously during a special meeting on Tuesday to authorize board chair Byron Smith to sign the contract negotiated with VenuWorks as soon as some final tweaks to the legal language are added.

For its base management fee, which will be in addition to payroll costs for a general manager and operations staff, VenuWorks will provide financial administration, event booking, marketing, sales and event production assistance. Interim manager Nate Rivera said VenuWorks had requested a base fee of $10,000 with a 3 percent cost of living increase each year, but agreed to $9,000 and a 2 percent annual increase. They also wanted to start Jan. 15 but have agreed to start on Jan. 1. The EOTEC board wanted a three-year contract but the final agreement was for a five-year contract with the opportunity for a no-cause exit after three.

“In any contract you don’t get everything you want,” Rivera said. “We made some concessions, but both of us felt this was reasonable.”

Smith said payments by the city of Hermiston and Umatilla County will be adjusted as needed to meet the obligations of the contract. During a presentation at EOTEC’s Nov. 3 meeting, VenuWorks estimated that under its management the facility would operate at a $116,350 loss for the first year, a $93,362 loss the second year and the city and county could go back to their regular $75,000 per year contributions after that. The company operates fairgrounds, convention centers and other event facilities around the country, including the Toyota Center in the Tri-Cities.

On Tuesday the board also took time to compliment the new wheel line donated by Elmer’s Irrigation and Valmont N.W. in time for the Hermiston Farm Fair, which will take place at EOTEC Nov. 29 through Dec. 1. The line will help irrigate the winter wheat planted for dust control on the southwestern portion of the property used for overflow parking during the Umatilla County Fair.

“You might be from Eastern Oregon if you think a wheel line looks nice,” board member Kim Puzey joked.

EOTEC’s next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 29.


Contact Jade McDowell at jmcdowell@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4536.


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