Chamber land

The Hermiston Chamber of Commerce is putting part of the 2 acres it purchased for its new building up for sale to help pay for the project.

The Hermiston Chamber of Commerce is hoping for some new neighbors.

In 2019 chamber purchased a 2-acre parcel of property on the southeast corner of South Highway 395 and East Evelyn Avenue, across from New Hope Community Church, to build a new business center. The center will include offices for the chamber and rooms for workforce development activities.

Chamber CEO Kimberly Rill said the designs that the chamber board have approved do not need the entire 2 acres, and so the chamber is putting two parcels of the property up for sale.

The chamber was awarded $1 million by the Oregon Legislature in 2018 to build a new workforce development space. The original plan was to fundraise additional dollars locally, but Rill said in March when Hermiston’s economy was hit hard by COVID-19 the board decided that “a year like 2020” wasn’t an appropriate time to be asking their members for donations for the building.

Instead, the chamber plans to use the money from the sale of the parcels along with the money from the Legislature to build the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce Business Center, and cut back on some costs for now.

She said how soon they can start construction depends on how long it takes to sell the other parcels.

“It’s exciting, but also challenging and nerve-wracking,” she said of trying to build a business center during a pandemic.

Rill said anyone who purchases one of the parcels will benefit from work the chamber has already done to make the land shovel-ready, including getting it rezoned from residential to commercial.

“It’s a unique piece of property,” she said.

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