Everyone needs to step forward to make events center a reality

The proposed Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center, on 75 acres south of the Hermiston Airport. The eastern border is South Ott Road and the triangular section on the upper left is an easement bordering the airport runway. The center would allow the Umatilla County Fair and Farm City Pro-Rodeo to grow and offer space for myriad year-round events.

The stakeholders have signed on to moving the Eastern Oregon Trade and Events Center a step closer to reality. The $21 million multi-purpose facility, which will be capable of housing events year-round, is now a step closer to reality with remarkable community support.

The core of the center are the Umatilla County Fair and the Farm-City Pro Rodeo. But the new center will allow the handling of many more events. It even includes grounds on which to play polo.

The events center would be built near the airport south of town. The good news here is that by moving the fair, space is opened up to expand Hermiston school grounds. This prevents the need to move or build a new school as enrollment expands. A baseball field is also maintained.

Meanwhile, the new fairgrounds will have plenty of parking and a nice ampitheater for events that could be used throughout the year. Indoor facilities for other activities will also be on the grounds. 

The bottom line is that the new events center, if completed, will provide a significant economic boost to the Hermiston area while meeting big needs for an expanded fairgrounds.

That is why stakeholders from the city of Hermiston, Umatilla County, Hermiston School District, Umatilla County Fair Board and the board of the Farm-City Pro Rodeo have signed the memo and promised to work at raising the money necessary for its completion.

Perhaps Phil Hamm, president of the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce, said it best at a community forum held last week.

“This is a facility and opportunity that seldom comes to a town like Hermiston,” he said.

Amen.

Now the task of fund raising and grant writing to turn this vision into reality is underway. Supporters are asking all members of the community and area organizations of all types to send letters of support to use with the grant seeking process. Please contact Dan Dorran, spokesman for the umbrella group working to make the events center happen, at 253-709-1945 for more information.

Hermiston has a wonderful way of coming together to make significant change happen in the community. Now is one of those times when everyone needs to step forward.

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