Construction of Hermiston’s new Funland Playground at Butte Park will get underway Wednesday, July 29, with a groundbreaking ceremony at 12:30 p.m.

Due social distancing concerns, only a few people will be allowed in the construction area during the ceremony, but members of the public can watch from outside the fence.

The groundbreaking ceremony team consists of Mayor David Drotzmann, City Councilor Roy Barron, Charlie Clupny, Larry Fetter, Patricia Alder, Jayda Martinez (age 9) and Jaysen Martinez (age 5).

The city hopes to complete the playground in October and hold an opening celebration then. It is designed with ages 5-12 in mind and will feature Wild West, Adventure and Farming themed zones.

“Rebuilding Funland bigger and better than before is possible because Hermiston is a resilient and can-do community that regularly puts its children first,” Drotzmann said in a statement.

“This playground will be a testament to the generosity of our residents and their desire to see our youth have a safe place to play.”

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Podcast looks at historical jailbreak, murder

The East Oregonian is hosting a weeklong podcast this week telling the story of the murder of Umatilla County Sheriff Til Taylor during a jailbreak, and the manhunt that followed his untimely death.

This week is the 100-year anniversary of his death on July 27, 1920.

The podcast, with new episodes released daily in concert with the anniversaries of the events described, is available on or on Apple podcasts or Stitcher.

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Fire danger leads to safety restrictions

With hot, dry weather increasing fire danger in Eastern Oregon, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has implemented Phase A of the public use restrictions to limit the chance of human-caused wildfire ignitions.

These restrictions, which focus on smoking, off-road travel and chain saw use, went into effect Friday, July 24, at 12:01 a.m. and will remain in place until further notice.

Visitors to the forest are asked to restrict activities that could cause a fire, and to be very careful with campfires, which should be confined to a fire pit, attended at all times and completely extinguished when campers leave.

For more information, visit

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Senior meals include enchiladas

The Harkenrider Senior Activity Center continues to provide takeout and delivery meals to senior citizens in the community. The menu for Thursday, July 30 is chicken enchiladas, rice and beans.

For a Meals on Wheels delivery, call 541-567-3582 before 10 a.m. to place an order. To pick up a meal from the center at 255 Northeast Second St., call the same number before 11 a.m. Meals are $4 and can be picked up between noon and 12:50 p.m.

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