The city of Hermiston officially has a pathway to its future – or at least the next 20 years.
On Monday, the Hermiston City Council adopted the Hermiston 2040 Community Vision & Action Plan giving the city a clearly-defined set of goals aimed at enhancing the overall quality of life for the community.
The project has been two years in the making, involving literally thousands of community members in order to, as Mayor Dave Drotzmann said, provide a “great vision for the city for the next 20 years.”
Working with Sara Singer Wilson of SSW Consulting, the project’s Community Vision Steering Committee outlined four primary goals for the city to achieve by 2040:
- Create a Growing & Prosperous Hermiston
- Create a Safe & Healthy Hermiston
- Create a Connected & Engaged Hermiston
- Create a Sustainable Hermiston
Each goal has a set of actions designed to achieve the goal. For example, under growth and prosperity, action items include expanding retail and dining options, increasing housing opportunities for people of all income levels, creating economic opportunities for all, and providing “world-class education and support services” for all.
Other action items that fall under the other three categories include providing diverse recreational and wellness opportunities, addressing the issue of homelessness, providing more attractions and events for all ages, expanding the library, building a museum to celebrate Hermiston’s history and cultural awareness, investing in alternative energy infrastructure, providing more recycling opportunities, reducing traffic congestion by adding more streets, creating more downtown parking, and strengthening the city’s airport.
The next step in the project is to find the people and resources necessary to achieve the goals.
“We’ll be discussing (at the next council meeting) what the oversight committee looks like and develop priorities,” said City Manager Byron Smith.
Jer Pratton, a member of the Hermiston 2040 steering committee, said he has been involved in similar projects in other cities and they all had varying degrees of success. The work, he said, has only just begun – great ideas are one thing, implementing them is another. Pratton said the city must focus on three key areas.
“You have to push beyond just ideas,” Pratton said. “You need to prioritize which ideas will really make a difference.”
Finding the money is next. “The city can’t pay for all this,” he said.
And third, the project needs people willing to put in the time and effort to make things happen.
“You need all three, but prioritization is the biggest step right now,” he said.
During Monday’s council meeting, Wilson went over the steps the city took to arrive at its vision for the next 20 years. It began with extensive outreach to community members with online surveys, vision labs, focus groups, as well as an open house.
More than 1,000 people responded to online surveys offering their ideas for enhancing Hermiston’s future.
“We took that feedback and extracted the themes and really started thinking about what we are hearing from the community,” she told the council. “That’s where we started zeroing in on what is the vision for Hermiston – what is it that people want to see 20 years from now.”
To download the full Hermiston 2040 plan, visit the city’s website and click on Hermiston 2040 Report.