Representatives of the Portland Trail Blazers — possibly including some players — will be coming sometime in September for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for new playground equipment on Sunset Park off of Fourth Street. The new equipment is being paid for by the Moda Assist online competition that Hermiston won earlier this year.

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No one has been charged in the June 26 fire that burned down a duplex on Northwest 13th Street, but more arson suspects may be collared soon thanks to a new role for Detective Randy Studebaker of the Hermiston Police Department, who took on the new role of arson detective on July 1. The duplex fire, which started in tall grass after witnesses said they heard fireworks, will be the type of incident Studebaker will investigate in partnership with Umatilla County Fire District 1.

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The Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District and Umatilla Volunteer Firefighters Association recently celebrated 20 years of volunteer services from one of its members.

Kerri Potts has been saving lives and property in the district and surrounding communities for more than two decades. The Umatilla woman began her career as a volunteer firefighter with the district April 1, 1997. She subsequently was certified as an emergency medical technician to work on the ambulance. Today, in addition to fulfilling her volunteer role as an EMT Intermediate and firefighter, she also works as an registered nurse for the Good Shepherd Health Care System.

On behalf of the fire distric, Rob Tooley, assistant chief and training officer, announced the milestone — congratulating and thanking Potts for her 20 years of volunteer service.

The Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District is a primarily volunteer fire department serving the city of Umatilla and surrounding areas. They also provide quick response medical services in conjunction with Umatilla County Fire District 1. For more information, including how to become a volunteer, visit

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The Women’s Foundation of Oregon recently presented a $25,000 grant to Domestic Violence Services.

Serving Umatilla and Morrow counties, the program is in its 40th year of providing services to survivors of sexual, domestic and dating violence, and stalking — providing services in both English and Spanish. Domestic Violence Services staffs a 24-hour crisis line (800-833-1161) and operates emergency shelters and advocacy centers in Hermiston and Pendleton. In addition, it has part-time advocacy centers in Boardman and Milton-Freewater.

The program provides individual and group support, court accompaniment, transportation, safety planning and life skills classes. For more information, contact executive director Kathryn Chaney at 541-276-3322, or visit

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You can submit items for our weekly By The Way column by emailing your tips to Gary L. West, editor of the Hermiston Herald, at or share them on social media using the hashtag #HHBTW. Follow the Hermiston Herald on Twitter at @HermistonHerald.

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