Hermiston is about to become the sole owner of the Eastern Oregon Event and Trade Center.
Eastern Oregon’s biggest city and Umatilla County were 50/50 partners in creating the center off Hermiston’s Airport Road. But in recent weeks, officials from the two governments have been hammering out a deal to give Hermiston full ownership.
The county board of commissioners Wednesday voted 3-0 to end the partnership and transfer its share of EOTEC to the city.
“The parties have decided that for the long term operation of the EOTEC facility and its financial viability, it is best that only one entity be the owner,” reads the agreement.
County counsel Doug Olsen said there are a few details still to work out, including a property list, but otherwise the commissioners a ready to sign the deal.
Byron Smith, Hermiston city manager and EOTEC board chair, said he appreciated the county’s cooperation. The Hermiston City Council will take up the deal Monday.
Commissioner Larry Givens praised Smith for his leadership on EOTEC, and Commissioner Bill Elfering told him “good luck going forth.”
▪ The county board also voted 3-0 to funnel enterprise zone payments of $500,000 a year for four years from the Lamb Weston project to Hermiston so the city can make water system improvements for a housing development.
Smith said the development north of Hermiston is planned for 300 lots, but that could expand to 600 or more. The Hermiston School District is also considering a new education facility in the area if development moves forward.
Lamb Weston will make 15 annual payments of $500,000 to the county and the city beginning in 2020. Commissioner George Murdock said the county’s general practice has been to pump these funds back into community development projects.