New Water System Project Aims to Attract Housing Developers

The Hermiston City Council on Monday awarded a $3.3 million contract to Premier Excavation to build a new water tank and two miles of water main. (Photo: Michael Kane)

If a community want to attract a larger workforce, it needs to have adequate housing. To get adequate housing, a community needs an adequate water system. That was the message Monday night as the Hermiston City Council awarded a $3.3 million contract to Premier Excavation for the north Hermiston reservoir and water system improvements.

The project, which will install a new 1 million gallon water tank and two miles of water main, will provide adequate water pressure for future housing developments out to the northern and eastern limits of Hermiston’s Urban Growth Boundary. Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan said the project aims to accommodate more than 1,000 new housing units in Hermiston over the next decade. The project will also allow for major modifications to the Alora Heights Booster Pump Station.

Morgan said Hermiston lost out on having AutoZone build a distribution center in Hermiston because there wasn’t enough people in the local workforce.

“We’re not adding housing fast enough to attract the workforce we need,” Morgan said.

The new 124-foot tall water tank will be located on city-controlled land at the corner of N.E. 10th Street and E. Punkin Center Road.  The tower will be served by new transmission mains in East Theater Lane between N.E. 4th and N.E. 10th, along N.E. 10th between Punkin Center and Theater, along Punkin Center between N.E. 4th and N.E. 10th, and connecting back in to the existing system at NE. 4th and N.E. 8th.  Morgan said the project help facilitate a major economic development goal of the city council.

Morgan said in addition to solving pressure issues for all future residential development in the northeast quadrant of the city, the new piping will bring the newly-pressurized water to a substantial amount of otherwise developable residential land.

Morgan said the new piping will be immediately adjacent to 13 individual parcels which all are at least 10 acres in size, and have no more than one home on them currently.  These parcels total approximately 290 acres; capable of supporting more than 1,000 new housing units.

Morgan said the project should get under way by spring.