Council addresses ‘blight’ on community

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Mobile vendor debate
The Hermiston City Council isn't through with the issue of mobile food vending just yet. On Monday, the council discussed possible changes to a draft ordinance regulating vendors.

Hermiston businesses come in all shapes and sizes. Some are new and some are decades old. Some are conventional and some are not. Some are here one day and gone the next. And some even sell fish from multi-colored trucks with flashing lights parked just off the road.

The issue of mobile vendors, those businesses that are often operated out of vehicles or temporary stands in parking lots throughout the city, drew the attention of the Hermiston City Council at its Jan. 28 meeting.

City Planner Clint Spencer told the council that local business owners have said mobile vendors are a “visual appeal” concern. Regulating mobile vendors is problematic, said Spencer, since they do not fall under any of the city’s code of ordinances.

Councilor George Anderson said the city should find a way to address the concerns of the established business community.

“Mobile vendors are really a blight on our community,” said Anderson. The problem, said Anderson, is that many of the vendors are not, in fact, very mobile.

“We have some who are setting up and are permanent,” he said.

Councilor Rod Hardin said the issue is a complicated one because any action taken to regulate mobile vendors could impact nonprofit groups selling fireworks as well as those taking part in the Hermiston Saturday Market and Umatilla County Fair.

“There are a lot of issues and you’ll have to take everything into consideration,” said Hardin.

While no action was taken on the matter at the Jan. 28 meeting, the council asked the Business Advisory Committee to look into the issue and present some recommendations to the city.

In other news addressed at the Jan. 28 meeting:

The council announced three vacancies on the Planning Commission. The terms will run from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2016. Applications can be picked up at City Hall.

The council announced a vacancy for an unexpired term on the Budget Committee. The term would run until Dec. 31, 2014. There is also a vacancy for an unexpired term on the Library Board. That term would end on June, 30, 2016.

The council approved the installation of stop signs at the intersection of E. Montana Avenue and N.E. Sixth Place, as well as at the intersection of W. Catherine Avenue and N.W. Spruce Street.

A resolution was passed by the council approving a franchise agreement with Pacific Power allowing them to continue serving residents outside the Hermiston city limits.

A request was approved by the council to allow the Hermiston Saturday Market to use the Hermiston Conference Center Parking lot. The Saturday Market runs from the first Saturday in June to the last Saturday in October.