Hermiston City Hall will remain closed longer than originally anticipated due to the severity of damage caused by a December 17 fire. City staff now expects the closure to last through the end of January. It was originally planned that all City Hall functions would be able to return to the building at 180 NE 2nd Street by January 6.
"As we have had the ability to do a more extensive look in to the damage, it has become clear that the cleanup and repairs will not be as simple as originally planned," said Mark Morgan, Assistant City Manager. "We're dealing with how to retro-fit repairs to building-wide systems in to a concrete structure that was built over 50 years ago."
City Water, Sewer, and Garbage bills can still be made online as usual, and can be paid in person at 215 E Gladys Ave., the location of the Hermiston Building Department.
The December 17 fire is believed to have originated from a failure in the gas-fired furnace. The fire itself was contained within the furnace, but caused extensive smoke damage to the entire building. Consultants are now determining how much of the entire HVAC system can be salvaged or must be replaced entirely. The damaged furnace and ductwork is believed to be original to the building, which was constructed in 1965.
The City of Hermiston moved in to the building at 180 NE 2nd Street in the mid-1980s, when Hermiston's population was less than 10,000 residents. Portland State University estimates that Hermiston's population in 2019 is 18,415. PSU also estimated, in 2016, that the total population within Hermiston's Urban Growth Boundary, was 21,488. PSU forecasts that total population within Hermiston's UGB to reach 28,000 by the year 2035.