Hermiston Council Honors Parks Employee for Heroic Actions

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The city of Hermiston honored one of its own Monday night for his heroic actions a month ago when he encountered a man whose life was being threatened by another individual.

The Hermiston City Council presented Brandon Artz with a Community Awareness Award for his quick actions on Feb. 10.

“Something kind of crazy happened downtown and Brandon happened to be the right person at the right time,” said Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann Monday night.

Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann, left, listens as Brandon Artz describes the events of Feb. 10 that lead to the city presenting him with a Community Awareness Award Monday night.

Arts, who works in the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said he was driving back to his office on Feb. 10 when he saw a man lying on the ground on Gladys Avenue with a dog next to him.

“I realized he was in distress, so I thought I’d mosey down the street and see what’s going on,” said Artz. After asking if the man was alright, Artz was informed that someone had threatened him and shot the his dog.

“Then I see a handgun nearby and I thought, ‘OK, something’s going on.’ ”

As Artz was calling 911, an individual came out of a nearby house on Gladys Avenue. The victim indicated to Artz that the man approaching was the individual who shot his dog multiple times. Artz then kicked the handgun under his own car to keep anyone from getting possession of it.

“I said to myself, ‘I’m not letting this gun get into anybody’s hands, not even mine,” said Artz.

The Hermiston Police Department arrived inside of two minutes and detained and arrested Howard Califf, 46, of Hermiston, on multiple charges including attempted murder, animal abuse in the first degree, unlawful use of a weapon, first-degree burglary and more.

“I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time,” said Artz.

Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston thanked Artz for his actions.

“He had a gut feeling and went with it and stepped up,” said Edmiston. “Otherwise, it could have ended a lot worse.”