A grant of $1.46 million dollars for the community of Hermiston is expected to produce hundreds of new jobs for multiple projects in the city’s industrial park.
The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce as part of the CARES Act designed to help communities hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
“This money will support new water infrastructure in Hermiston, helping to grow the economy and jobs in Eastern Oregon,” Walden said. “I am glad to see that the essential funding from the CARES Act continues to flow into communities in Oregon and I look forward to ensuring that sustains.”
Hermiston officials said the investment will help create 16 shovel-ready light industrial parcels in the federally-approved Opportunity Zone. It will also assist in developing two sites that could potentially house new warehouse operations.
Specifically, the funds will be used to extend water, sewer, and roadways and help prepare the South Hermiston Industrial Park for development. Walden said the infrastructure improvements is projected to create 250 jobs as well as generate $70 million in private investment.
“This investment from the EDA allows us put some focus on supporting smaller light-industrial operations who need only 1-5 acres in the South Hermiston Industrial Park,” said Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan. “These smaller operations help deepen our available supply of regional contractors and service providers for the agricultural, energy, and transportation sectors. I am very grateful for the foresight and assistance of our partners at the Port of Umatilla and Umatilla County, who saw the fundamental economic benefits of this project early on and committed to assist in covering the local match.”
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden applauded the news.
“Hermiston secured this grant by demonstrating Eastern Oregon-style resiliency with a targeted investment in an industrial park that will support small business growth,” Wyden said. “This smart approach will generate jobs and investment that diversifies the city and regional economy for generations to come.”
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley said the funds are needed in Hermiston.
“Between the economic impacts of this pandemic and sick family members, friends, and neighbors, the Hermiston community has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus this year,” said Merkley. “As we continue to take steps big and small that will keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from the virus, we must also make critical investments in our workforce and infrastructure that will help us create jobs and build for a better future. That’s why investments like this one are so important, and why I’m going to keep fighting for the resources that will help Umatilla County bounce back stronger.”