HERO Sportsplex at EOTEC Moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2

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Left to right: Hermiston High School students Jace Burns, Blake Palzinski and Jackson Bradshaw remove irrigation handlines Thursday, June 15, 2023, in preparation for a permanent reel irrigation system to be installed at the HERO Sportsplex at the Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center. (Photo by Michael Kane)

The HERO Sportsplex at the Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center is moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of its development and will be ready for its inaugural lacrosse tournament in September.

Josh Burns, one of the key figures behind the project, said the second phase consists of removing the irrigation handlines, installing a “Big Gun” reel irrigation system, building an exit road on the west side of the fields and prepping the fields for play.

“We’ve got grass on the fields and its rooted and healthy,” Burns said on Thursday. “It’s full of weeds, but we’ll be spraying it next week.”

On Thursday, some Hermiston High School students were out in the fields removing the handlines in preparation for the new irrigation system.

Work during Phase 1 included surveying and leveling 18 acres, installing light pole bases, planting grass seed, fertilizing and keeping it watered.

Phase 2 will also require raising a little more than $1 million to finalize the purchase of the lights. Burns said the project plan was to have the fields ready to initially play without lights.

“We are very close to having six full-sized sports fields ready to go,” Burns said. Burns expects the group will raise enough money to light the fields by next spring.

The group is working with Made to Thrive, a local youth-focused nonprofit that serves as the group’s fiscal agent for donations.

Burns said the project has benefitted from the generosity of local businesses and organizations.

“All the businesses that donated equipment and time, it’s almost awe-inspiring,” he said.

Treasure State Lacrosse, a regional tournament promoter out of Montana, has scheduled a full weekend at the HERO Sportsplex for the Umatilla Invitational on Sept. 23-24. The inaugural event will bring teams from around the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West to compete in the two-day event.

For more information or to donate to the project, email Burns at josh@swansoninsgroup.com or Luke Swanson at luke@swansoninsgroup.com.

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