Hermiston Council Moves to Obtain Easement for Sewer Main Upgrade

Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan explains the need for a sewer main replacement during Monday's Hermiston City Council meeting.

The Hermiston City Council voted Monday night to establish “the public’s necessity” to obtain an easement for a sewer main along a portion of Highway 395.

A 2021 study, using a camera to internally inspect sewer mains and pipe segments, found structural failures in multiple locations with failing joints, causing pipe blockage and requiring monthly cleaning. The condition may lead to pipe failure allowing sewage to seep into the surrounding soil.

“That section of sewer main really needs to be replaced,” said Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan.

The city has been in talks with representatives of the trust company that manages the property to secure the easement but have yet to come to a specified agreement. Morgan said the representatives haven’t expressed any opposition to granting the easement, but nor are they necessarily motivated. The price the city would pay for the easement is likely less than the cost of going through the legal procedures.

“The members of the trust don’t really see it as worth their time and effort to go through the process with their legal folks to help facilitate this easement,” said Morgan.

The resolution passed by the council on Monday authorizes city staff and legal counsel to hire appraisers, negotiate in good faith to purchase the easement, pay fair compensation for the easement, and engage in formal litigation to obtain the easement for fair compensation.

Once the easement is obtained by the city, the money would be deposited with the court whereby the members of the trust would work with the court to receive their compensation.