Hermiston Forms Urban Renewal Agency

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The Hermiston City Council will serve as the city's urban renewal agency.

The city of Hermiston took another step toward the formation of an urban renewal district Monday night by forming an urban renewal agency.

The agency was formed by the passage of an ordinance which names the Hermiston City Council as the urban renewal agency.

“The agency will actually be referring the (urban renewal) plan to the council for adoption, so as the agency, you’d actually be referring it to yourself,” Hermiston City Planner Clint Spencer told the council.

“Don’t argue with yourself,” cautioned Hermiston City Manager Ed Brookshier.

“This is a procedural matter more than anything,” Spencer said.
A feasibility study was presented to the city council in December which showed the need for Hermiston to form an urban renewal district. The city then formed an Urban Renewal Planning Advisory Committee which has been outlining projects aimed at revitalizing the city’s downtown core. Members of the planning advisory committee are currently presenting the proposed project list to various clubs and service groups throughout May and June. A public open house will then be held June 13, where all members of the community can review the project list. The planning committee will then make a final proposal regarding an Urban Renewal District Plan in July, with city council action expected in August.

“What this ordinance does, it basically adopts that feasibility study as a justification toward forming a district and declaring that the council will be the urban renewal agency,” said Spencer. “It’s not forming a district at this time. It’s not implementing any of the recommendations or programs, but we have to have an agency formed in order to refer the overall plan being developed by the planning advisory committee.”

As the urban renewal agency, the council will refer the plan out to all affected taxing districts, the Hermiston Planning Commission and the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners for review and comment prior to adopting the plan.

The proposed urban renewal district is bordered by Highland Avenue to the south, Ridgeway Avenue to the north, Northwest Sixth Avenue to the west, and extends past Southeast Seventh Street to the east. The district will encompass 96 acres.

The city of Hermiston’s website has detailed information about the proposed Urban Renewal District, including its proposed projects and boundaries.

Also on Monday, the city council proclaimed June to be the National League of Cities Small Cities Month. The National League of Cities describes small cities as those with a population of 50,000 or less. Council President Rod Hardin said roughly three quarters of all cities in the United States have populations of 50,000 or less. Hermiston’s population is just under 17,000.