The Hermiston City Council, acting on the recommendation of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center board, voted Monday night to terminate its contract with the project’s construction consulting firm.
Along with the contract termination, the city council voted to move forward with hiring a full-time project manager for the EOTEC.
“We’ve identified that the current contract with Fishel C.M. is not going to meet the needs of EOTEC to move forward,” said Nate Rivera, whose been working in an advisory role with the various EOTEC committees. “The (EOTEC) board has expressed a desire to have someone in-house to provide a road map for moving forward.”
EOTEC will be the future home of the Umatilla County Fair and Farm-City Pro Rodeo. It will also provide a venue for trade shows, conventions, sporting events and family entertainment.
Hermiston City Councilor George Anderson said he supported the EOTEC Construction Committee’s recommendation to terminate the contract and hire a full-time project manager.
“The construction committee has spent a lot of time on this,” Anderson said. “I view this positively.”
Rivera said the decision to terminate the contract with Fishel C.M. was not reflection on the work provided. The Fishel contract did not require the company to be on the EOTEC site full time.
“Instead of re-negotiating the contract, we felt it was in the best interest of EOTEC to terminate the current contract,” Rivera said after the meeting. “We need someone to be on site full time to protect EOTEC and its interests.”
Rivera said Fishel C.M. is welcome to put forward a new proposal to become the full-time project manager.
Fishel C.M. oversaw Phase 1 of the EOTEC project, which consisted of conceptual plans for the facility. Rivera said he did not anticipate any major changes to the facility’s design when the new project manager comes on board.
The 80-acre facility, which Rivera said is expected to be about 67 percent larger than the current fairgrounds, is scheduled to be ready for the 2016 fair and rodeo.
Rivera told the council that the contract termination is not expected to delay the facility’s construction.
“I have no worries that we’re going to build a great facility and it’s going to be a benefit to the community,” he said.