Chairman Jose Garcia called the meeting to order at 7:01 pm. Committee members present were Mark Gomolski, Roy Barron, and Jesus Rome (arrived at 7:08pm). Hector Ramirez was excused. Council Representatives Manuel Gutierrez and Clara Beas-Fitzgerald were present, as well as City Representatives Mark Morgan and Lilly Alarcon-Strong. The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
Roy moved and Mark Gomolski seconded to approve the minutes of the May meeting. Motion carried unanimously.
Hermiston School District
Cathy Keeney with Hermiston School District gave information regarding:
- The May 16th School Bond did not pass, and they would like community feedback on why it did not pass. Those who would like to participate in a brief survey can go to the school districts website.
- On June 4th the Hermiston School District joined the Washington State Association Conference for school year 2018-2019. This means that students will not have to travel as far as they had been as they will be competing against Washington State Schools.
- The 3rd student built home has been completed. The home is located on Angus Street by Armand Larive and is currently for sale.
- On June 10th, 332 students received their High School Diploma. Among those students, 286 received scholarships and were awarded over $4 million.
- On July 1st, Mark Gomolski joined the Hermiston School District as a new Board Member.
- Free breakfast and lunch will be given during the summer months at Sunset Elementary and Armand Larive Middle School for K-12 children. Cathy had handouts regarding sports camps and the new school calendar.
(Jesus arrived at 7:08pm)
Roy stated the Washington State move is exciting and commended the School District for this change. There was some discussion regarding integrating more face to face outreach instead of just an online survey regarding why the bond did not pass, and educating the community more.
Jesus and a member of the public stated there are too many bonds; and, as a result, Hermiston has some of the highest taxes in Oregon. There must be other ways to fund these improvements to meet the needs.
Assistant City Manager Morgan stated part of educating the public is informing them that there are no other funding options for these improvements on the scale that is needed. Mr. Morgan stated he read an article in the newspaper where someone at the Senior Center stated they voted NO on the Bond Measure because they did not want to pay to accommodate the growth in the Hispanic community. As an unfortunate sentiment as this is, it is important to educate the public that not just property owners but everyone, including undocumented people, pays taxes in one way or another.
Hermiston’s 1st Multi-Cultural Festival
Jesus stated the 1st Multi-Cultural festival will take place directly after Funfest on Main Street from 4:00pm to 7:30pm on July 8th.This is a really great way to educate the community on what cultures are in the area. Encouraged everyone to participate and stated next year the festival will run during the same time as Funfest.
Hispanic Grief Support
Jose announced that Karol Green was not present and would move this agenda item to another date.
Immigration Discussion with the Consulate General of Mexico
Mark Gomolski stated he initially contacted the Mexican Consulate General earlier this year for the Cinco de Mayo celebration. The Consulate was appreciative of the invitation and the loving and embracing community that he did not know existed. He will be back in the area in September for the Pendleton Round Up.
The Consulate would like to organize a community event where immigration attorney’s meet with the public and give information regarding pertinent immigration issues. No date has been set, but would like the venue to be big enough to accommodate 200 to 500 attendees and have a projector. This would be a pilot program to establish if this event could be successful in other areas as well. He will be in Portland for another 3 years and intends to help Hermiston with what he can during his time in the state.
The Committee thought that the Community Center or EOTEC would be a great place to hold the event after a date has been established.
Assistant City Manager Morgan stated the Harkenrider Center is now under construction. It will be for the exclusive use of seniors for the first five years of operation and then available to the entire community.
The City Council voted to allow the Parks and Recreation Department to operate the Hermiston Community Conference Center beginning in 2018. The Chamber of Commerce was offered space in the soon to be remodeled lower level of the Carnegie Library building. If the Chamber declines the use of the space, it will be used by city staff.
Library Director Mark Rose stated the Library would like to have more Hispanic participation in programs, with the Library Board, and in overall daily book check-outs. Mr. Rose asked for feedback on what people want to see in the library in the Spanish selection. The Library Board is currently recruiting new members and they would like diversity in the Board to make sure they are doing their best to serve the entire community. The Board meets once per month for 1 hour. The Lanham Room, located in the downstairs area of the Library, is also available for private rentals.
Mr. Rose emphasized the value of reading, learning, and setting an example for our children.
Jesus stated this is his last meeting as a member of the Hispanic Advisory Committee. And, although he will not be a Committee member he will continue to be very involved in the community. Jesus thanked the City and Committee for allowing him to be a part of the Committee.
The Committee thanked Jesus for his involvement in the Committee.
Next Scheduled Meeting
The next scheduled meeting will be Monday, July 17th at 7:00 pm.
Meeting Adjourned at 8:06 pm.