I remember hearing how the Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center was going to be great. I remember the great idea of the partnership between the city and the county. I remember the support from investors, the Farm-City Pro Rodeo, the Umatilla County Fair members and the city. I remember how the EOTEC board was formed. That was 2013. The future seemed bright. It seemed like a great plan was in the making.
But that was then; this is now. The 2017 fair was a success, but afterwards that’s where the story goes south. The city will be taking over EOTEC, the county partnership is over. The city says it loses $1,000 a day on EOTEC. The county fair had a contract to lease the grounds for $10,000; now it will be $100,000. No one seems to have planned for the 350-odd days after the fair. Costs skyrocketed, disagreements arose with the residents of Airport Road on noise, water, traffic, and construction problems. No one cared much after the fair was over.
Now, the city has decided to end the 2013 agreement with the county. Did you know that ahead of Monday’s meeting between the county and the city? Do you know how much debt EOTEC is in? Do you know that the city is paying $9,000 a month to a company to run EOTEC? Do you know anything that the city does with your money? Did anyone ask you before they voted if you are OK with this? I don’t remember any public hearings, do you, before they voted?
Now I am waiting to see how many tax dollars will be needed to pay to take over EOTEC. Watch out for a new tax. I guess the bottom line is, do any of you care how your money is spent?
Mark F. Gomolski