The Oregon Legislature approved $13 million in funding for the FARM II project on Sunday just before the 2019 Legislative Session came to a close.
The FARM II project is a community partnership between Blue Mountain Community College, the city of Pendleton, Pendleton Round-Up, Umatilla County, InterMountain Education Service District and the Port of Umatilla that will construct an educational facility and indoor arena in Pendleton to support regional workforce and agricultural training needs. The funds come in the form of $6.5 million in Article XI-G bonds, which require a dollar-for-dollar match, and $6.5 million in Lottery funds, which will serve as that match.
“We are very grateful to the Legislature for its support of this unique community project,” said Dennis Bailey-Fougnier, President of BMCC. “Governor Brown showed her support by including the project in her proposed budget, and then Sen. Bill Hansell and Rep. Greg Smith – who both sit on the Ways and Means Committee on Capital Construction – as well as Rep. Greg Barreto, helped us keep the project in front of their colleagues in the Capital in a positive way that garnered bipartisan support. We look forward to serving the region even further with this facility.”
BMCC’s partners in the project, which will support training and education in veterinary technician, unmanned aerial systems, and other agriculture education, are excited to be able to take the next step forward in making the project a reality now that funds have been secured for construction.
“The Pendleton Round-Up is proud of its long history of supporting the community, and this project is another great example of that,” said Pat Reay, Publicity Director for the Round-Up. “We look forward to collaborating with BMCC and our partners to bring this project to fruition.”
Pendleton Mayor John Turner agrees, noting the benefits the facility will bring to the region.
“This facility will not only provide needed workforce training opportunities, but it will serve as another prime location to bring livestock and equine events, trade shows and clinics to Eastern Oregon,” he said.
The city of Pendleton and the Round-Up have acquired land for the project west of the Round-Up Grounds, but BMCC will own the facility. The partners hope to solicit bids for an architect this winter. The name FARM II is a placeholder, with the college hoping to finalize a name for the facility soon.