Water tower

A new water tower on the corner of Northeast 10th Street and Punkin Center Road in Hermiston is in the final stages of construction.

The new water tower in northeast Hermiston has almost reached its full height.

The 124-foot-tall water tank itself is expected to be completed Sept. 18. Painting will take place Sept. 19 to Oct. 2, and the city will begin using the tank for pressure in early November before completing the final punch list by the end of the year.

Premiere Excavation of Pasco is completing work on the roughly $4 million project. This week and next week the company is also installing pipe under Punkin Center Road near the tower. During the installation process a section of the road has been reduced to one lane, with delays as flaggers direct traffic.

The water tower and new pipelines around the tower are being paid for using money from Lamb Weston. In lieu of property taxes, the french fry company agreed to pay $1 million per year, split between the city of Hermiston and Umatilla County, for the first 15 years of their factory expansion completed earlier this year. The county agreed to give Hermiston the first $2 million of its share to be used on the water tower, with Hermiston using its first $2 million to cover the rest.

The 1-million-gallon tower will expand Hermiston’s water storage capacity in the event of an emergency and will open up hundreds of acres of residential property for development at a lower cost. It will also benefit a future elementary school Hermiston School District hopes to build on Theater Lane.

Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan said for now the tower will be painted the same beige as Hermiston’s south water tower, minus the watermelon logo.

“The tank is located off the beaten path, and due to the height and diameter, we really weren’t sure how visible any messaging painted on it would be from various locations in town,” Morgan wrote in an email. “Therefore, the plan has been to erect the tank first (and get it painted with the necessary protective coat), and then we’ll know for sure how visible any messaging will be and where it needs to be oriented.”

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