Chamber building

The Hermiston Chamber of Commerce has purchased the former Pioneer Title building at 630 S Highway 395.

The Hermiston Chamber of Commerce is moving to a larger building.

The chamber announced on Friday, April 2, that it has purchased the former Pioneer Title building at 630 S. Highway 395, across from the Rodeway Inn. Chamber staff will move into the building after remodeling is complete.

New Chamber CEO Kristina Olivas said in the news release that the building, which is larger than the chamber’s current offices, will be a “multifunctional” space available for community use.

“It’s an exciting time for our community and our Chamber, and we are stepping forward to respond to our growing member and community needs,” she said.

For about two decades, the chamber was located in the Hermiston Community Center, which chamber staff managed under a contract with the city of Hermiston. But in January 2018 the city ended its contract with the chamber and moved its own parks and recreation offices into the center. The chamber then moved into a small office space at the Cornerstone Plaza across from Safeway.

Three months later, the chamber received a $1 million allocation from the state to build a new workforce development center and offices. It purchased property for the new building on the corner of South Highway 395 and Evelyn Avenue, across from New Hope Community Church and has drafted plans for the new building. But the $1 million won’t completely cover the cost of the new building, according to the news release, and the fundraising drive planned for 2020 was put on hold during the pandemic in recognition of the struggles local businesses were facing.

Chamber President Annette Kirkpatrick said longterm plans to build the center on Evelyn Avenue haven’t changed. But while the chamber waits on the new building, the former Pioneer Title building will help staff start providing workforce training and meeting space now. Kirkpatrick said the state gave the chamber permission to use part of its $1 million grant to purchase the Pioneer Title building.

“We are excited that we can now provide the workforce training and meeting space that was key to receiving our $1 million state grant,” she said. “This facility will help meet that need.”

As the chamber prepares for fundraising efforts, it has also subdivided the 2.4 acre lot on Evelyn Avenue to create two additional commercial lots it hopes to sell to generate more funding for the project. According to the news release, once the new building is complete, the chamber will also sell the Pioneer Title building to generate additional funds.

For more information on the Chamber’s building projects, contact Olivas at 541-567-6151.

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