Survey Shows Most Satisfied with Life in Hermiston, But Concerns Exist

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Sixty-seven percent of residents are satisfied with life in Hermiston, according to the results of a community survey.

The survey, conducted by Zencity, was presented during Monday’s Hermiston City Council meeting. And while the overall satisfaction score was high, respondents were less satisfied with some specific aspects of Hermiston life.

When it comes to the availability of affordable housing, only 15 percent of the 398 respondents said they were satisfied. That compares to 23 percent of Hermiston’s peer cities or cohorts and 37 percent nationally.

Councilor Maria Durón said she hoped to see that number increase over the next year as a number of new housing developments go up in Hermiston.

Only 18 percent of respondents were satisfied with the availability of art and cultural events, compared to 36 percent of Hermiston’s cohorts and 48 percent nationally.

Durón attributed that low score to the disbandment of the Desert Arts Council which presented several arts and entertainment events throughout each year.

Councilor David McCarthy noted that only 39 percent of respondents felt an overall sense of safety in the community, compared to 59 percent of cohorts and 57 percent nationally.

“I would like to consider that as we’re finding ways to potentially introduce new fees or find a way to fund more police officers,” he said.

The survey, conducted from January through June of this year, did show a positive trend in several categories from the previous two surveys, which are conducted online every six months.

For example, 52 percent were satisfied with the quality of Hermiston’s parks and recreation amenities, up from 43 percent the previous six months. A total of 41 percent were satisfied with the sense of community among residents, up from 33 percent the previous six months. Of the respondents, 53 percent were satisfied with the ease of getting around foot in Hermiston, compared to 41 percent from the previous survey.

City Manager Byron Smith said the city conducts the surveys “to see how we’re doing on different factors and how we’re doing over time. It looks like we’re doing better in a number of areas.”

One issue Smith had with the survey was the cities Zencity selected as Hermiston’s cohorts, which included Olympia, Wash., with a population of 52,290, Rohnert Park, Calif. (42,559 population), Springfield (62,729 population), and Antelope, Calif. (48,468 population).

“Are these really our peers?” he asked. “Hopefully we can see some better comparisons in the next six months.”

Durón suggested the next survey should ask residents what they are willing to pay for and what services they would be willing to give up as Hermiston works through a budget shortfall of about $700,000.

“Perhaps they could give us some ideas that we have not explored,” she said.

Mayor Dave Drotzmann said a public forum was needed to highlight the city’s budget situation.

“That way we can say here’s what we’re looking at, here’s the limited resources we have,” he said. “Tell us what’s important to you and tell us what your thoughts are about paying for additional resources. I think community engagement is going to be part of that conversation.”

Smith said that overall community satisfaction can spike up or down, but the key is the long-term trend.

“Right now, it’s on an upward trend, but if something bad happens to the city, it could go down,” he said.

“Like when rates go up?” said Drotzmann.

“Yeah,” Smith said with a laugh.

4 COMMENTS

  1. First of all I know nothing about this survey, secondly, I have a few comments of my own about a few topics.

    Hermiston can definitely use more affordable housing. Rent in this area surpasses the wages people make. Then they don’t have much left for everyday expenses let alone much for food with the outrageous increase for food.

    We have some nice parks, but they are not safe, now that homeless have moved into them and the drug use and paraphernalia that comes with the use.

    How do you propose people to pay for anything else when the community pays a lot already?

  2. If the city does not have enough money for police, for example, the reason why should be examined. Not enough police officers for the increase in population? An increase in population means there is a corresponding increase in taxes. That means that the money is there- or rather was there. The problem is not- not enough money, it’s money management. As the city grows, management must grow also. Accountability must become more and more a priority. If there is a financial problem, it can not be- not enough money from an increase in population. It is not enough money from mismanagement and lack of accountability.
    Before the city enacts more fees on top of an already very expensive place to live, why not submit to an audit from an outside source. Reveal the problem and correct it.
    Then explore ways to make Hermiston more affordable and a safer place to raise our children.

  3. U should try not giving tax breaks for the corporations. There’s your 700,000. When local officials give corporations tax breaks in area like this they expect the regular people to cover difference. They don’t even pay there fair share of tax, got one loop Hooke or another. See if it was truly fair small private companies should have tax breaks, and companies that make millions a day pay full freight.

  4. Online surveys tell you nothing. One that compares this city to dissimilar locales is worse.

    Rent has risen nearly 50% in the past 10 years. Affordable housing should be the top priority. But builders can’t make enough profit from that type of construction.

    Potable water is dwindling, nitrate levels are rising, yet we add more and more industry to suck the aquifer dry.

    Homelessness has reached an alarming level. There are NO security cameras around the Hermiston Plaza, so the indigents hanging out there have little to fear.

    But the steady influx of Amazon facilities has been a stellar achievement, right?

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