City Council Special Meeting - Minutes

Tue., Apr. 18, 2017

Mayor Drotzmann called the special meeting to order at 6:30pm. Present were Councilors Kirwan, Hardin, Myers, Smith, Beas-Fitzgerald, Primmer and Gutierrez.  Councilor Davis was absent. Staff members in attendance were City Manager Byron Smith, City Attorney Gary Luisi, Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan, Chief Edmiston, Bill Schmittle, Clint Spencer, Ron Sivey, Heather LaBeau, Larry Fetter, and Nate Rivera.  News media present were Jade McDowell of the East Oregonian and Michael Kane from NE Oregon Now.  The pledge of allegiance was given.

Mayor Drotzmann announced that item A was being pulled from the agenda.

Conference/Community Center Operating Changes and New Location for the Chamber of Commerce.

Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan presented the staff report.  Mr. Morgan reviewed a timeline of the proposed changes and the financial impact of operating the Conference/Community Center. 

Public Testimony

Anne Emmons 845 E Kennedy Ave- Ms. Emmons would like to see the Community Center become an art center similar to the Pendleton Arts Center in the renovated Carnegie Library located in Pendleton.

Bryan Wolfe 80897 Wolfe Lane- Mr. Wolfe stated that the Parks and Recreation department was started by seed money from the Transient Room Tax over twenty years ago.  He feels there are many uses for the Community Center and is sad to see it repurposed without proper input. 

John Spomer 745 W Quince Ave- Mr. Spomer is concerned for what the City’s desire is for the facility in future years.  He does not want the Center’s roles limited. 

Mark Gomolski 2020 NW Eucalyptus Drive- Mr. Gomolski wants to know the exact cost of the proposed change.  He feels the current location of the Chamber is excellent and the offer to use the basement space is wrong.  

Pat Hart 1291 E Newport Ave- Mr. Hart stated that you won’t find progressive cities who put their Chambers in a windowless basement.

Bob Green 2260 NE 8th St- Mr. Green’s personal observations include that Hermiston has grown exponentially and needs more facilities for public use not less.  The existence of EOTEC should not be used to limit the existing Conference Center.  He feels it would be advantageous for the city to benefit from the proceeds of two event centers.  Mr. Green stated moving the Parks and Recreation Department into the Conference Center may result in the facility being sold or repurposed.  He recommends the vote on this be tabled for three months and the city fully discloses their intention for the Conference Center.

Dick Sargent 915 E Pine Ave- Mr. Sargent stated that the Chamber should be in a more visible spot than the basement, so they are more accessible to travelers. 

Leah Lutz Spearman Rd- Ms. Lutz asked what would become of the existing City Hall, and suggested that the Chamber be placed in the main floor of the Carnegie Library.  

Phil Hamm 32738 Diagonal Rd- Mr. Hamm stated that EOTEC was never part of replacing the Community Center.   There are no other venues in town for many of the events that happen at the Community Center. 

Josh Burns 1991 NW Prickly Pear Drive- Mr. Burns is the chair elect for the Chamber Board and spoke representing the Chamber.  The Chamber wants to serve their members and the community the best they can. 

Shirley Parsons 1318 Misty Drive- Ms. Parsons is the current leadership chair of the Chamber.  The Chamber and city have enjoyed a supportive and productive partnership.  She is saddened by the current condition of the relationship.

Cindy Meyers E Pine Ave- Ms. Meyers stated that time for more conversation and more information would be valuable.

Kris Bennett- Ms. Bennett stated that the Parks and Recreation Department does need a facility and we should look beyond the Conference Center to solve their issues.  She suggests that the city look at the big picture and not at a small fix. 

Julie Puzey 970 SE 5th St- Ms. Puzey stated that the Parks and Recreation Department does need more space.  She has confidence that there is a better idea out there that will allow the Community Center to fulfill its needs.

The hearing was closed at 8:12PM.

After council discussion, Councilor Kirwan moved and Councilor Meyers seconded to allow the Parks and Recreation Department to operate the Hermiston Conference and Community Center and offer office space to the Chamber of Commerce in the lower level of the Carnegie library.  Motion passed 6-0 with Councilor Gutierrez abstaining due to a conflict of interest.


There was no other business and Mayor Drotzmann adjourned the meeting at 8:38pm.


/s/David Drotzmann, Mayor


/s/Heather KP LaBeau, Zoning Clerk

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