County Commissioners Dispense Funds from Livestock Auction

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Umatilla County Commissioner Dan Dorran fields bids Aug. 14, 2021, at the Umatilla County Fair Youth Livestock Auction in Hermiston. (East Oregonian file photo)

The Umatilla County Fair youth livestock auction created a helpful cash bonus.

August’s livestock auction at the county fair took in $40,231.91 in commission from sales. The county board of commissioners at its meeting April 24 in Pendleton approved the funds to the Youth Livestock Sale Committee, which the fair board requested.

County Commissioner Dan Dorran said the money can go toward improvements such as shade cloth or new scales to weigh the animals or additional pens.

The youth livestock auction is for the sale of animal husbandry projects of local members of high school FFA or 4H.

“In the last few years it’s set some incredible records,” Dorran said. “Last year it passed the $1 million mark at about $1.35 million. To do that the Umatilla County Fair Board works with the Youth Livestock Committee. There is unbelievable generosity from the communities in Umatilla County toward the youth.”

Dorran said the auction rewards youths for their hard work but also benefits the community.

“Those kids now have investment funds, whether it be an education or trade school or to buy additional animals,” he said. “It goes on and on. So the investment is not just upfront. It also is a lasting investment in the community from the generous buyers of those animals at the Saturday livestock auction.”

Dorran said Umatilla County actually has three youth livestock auctions per year — the Junior Show in Milton-Freewater, the county fair and the Pendleton Livestock Show. The variety allows youths to participate in several different levels.

“The Milton-Freewater sale is obviously much smaller than the fair, but it helps the kids who have animals that don’t qualify for state, or are not taking non-market animals to state,” he said. “It’s another option they can have each year, so it’s an incredible program, especially in Umatilla County.”

Another county commissioners piece of business was a $67,000 paving job the Practical Assistance through Transitional Housing project outside Hermiston to provide shelter for homeless persons.

Dorran said the money will pave Lind Road which hooks into Bensel Road, “so it’s paved all the way around the Project PATH, but that’s only part of the reason it got paved. It also got paved when Umatilla County transferred ownership of those roads to the city of Umatilla within the urban growth boundaries and one of the conditions of that transfer agreement was the paving of that road.”

Commissioners also approved an $8,000 grant from the Echo Community Benefit Plan to the Echo Fire Department for a backup generator. The money for the fund comes from renewable wind projects. Dorran explained the county dedicated a percentage of dollars from wind projects to community development needs in Weston, Athena, Helix and Echo.

Dorran said the fund “has done some amazing work” in communities that don’t always have the resources or the ability to get certain projects done.

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