The city of Hermiston will open its newly-constructed city hall in October, moving its customer service desk, municipal court, and other departments into the building at 180 N.E. 2nd St.
The new city hall is the centerpiece of a modernization plan for other city facilities. By moving the municipal court to city hall, the Hermiston Police Department and Umatilla County Fire District #1 will have room to maximize the use of the Public Safety Center. The lower floor of the Hermiston Library was renovated to create room for city services during construction and will now be utilized by the library. And the city’s building department will move into the new city hall, leaving the historic Carnegie Building open for other uses.
“Before starting this project, we did a full review of all our options keeping in mind what’s best for the community and our overall health as a city,” said Hermiston City Manager Byron Smith. “We conducted a survey to find out how residents prefer to access city services and determined that it would be the best long-term option to build a modern facility from the ground up. This will create efficiencies with our staffing and the best customer service as Hermiston continues to grow. We’re excited to welcome the community to the building and are very pleased that we were able to make it through a challenging couple of years with the project on time.”
The city funded the project with a $9.6 million bond to be paid off using enterprise zone funds and in partnership with Umatilla County, which contributed $3 million to the cost of the project in exchange for office space on the lower floor to expand their Public Health Department services in western Umatilla County.
“The Umatilla County Commissioners have been excellent strategic partners in making this project a reality,” Smith said. “I’m really excited that this partnership enhances public health services available to our community, adds additional foot traffic In our downtown core, and allows us the flexibility of maximizing use of the facility from day one.”
The project also included upgraded parking lots to the east and west of the building which resulted in a net gain of parking spaces available in the downtown core. The city also took the opportunity while the parking lots and alleys were demolished to replace century-old water and sewer lines serving downtown businesses. No taxpayer funds were used for the construction.
Hermiston City Hall services will be closed the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 5 as essential equipment is moved from the old offices to the new ones. It will officially open to the public the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 5. The municipal court will move into city hall the following week.
A city hall open house on Monday, Oct. 10 from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. will give residents the opportunity to explore the building and ask questions about changes in service and functionality. A ribbon cutting will take place at 6:30 p.m. followed by the first city council meeting in the new building at 7 p.m.
The American flag that will be raised at the front entrance of city hall was gifted by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden to Hermiston Mayor David Drotzmann. It had previously flown above the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. in recognition of the explosion and fire at Shearer’s Foods in February.
Additional information about the city hall project, including a timelapse video of construction and complete project details, can be found on the city’s website.