For nearly 80 years, Umatilla Electric Cooperative has not only provided electric service to the rural areas at the lowest possible cost, it has also carved out a long history of investing in the community. On Tuesday, the electric co-op invited its members and the public to an open house showcasing its new front lobby in its Hermiston office.
“Umatilla Electric is owned by the people we serve,” said UEC General Manager and CEO Steve Eldrige. “We’ve always believed that part of our mission is community development. When we first opened, there was nothing but jackrabbits here.”
The UEC lobby remodel was designed not only for aesthetic appeal, but also to increase security.
“Our number one priority was providing a safe environment for our employees that work with the public,” Eldrige said. “I think it turned out to be pretty attractive.”
UEC announced earlier this year that it will open a new operations center in Boardman at the Port of Morrow. The 23,970-square-foot building is expected to open next year and will have space for five truck bays, including room for two mobile substations. Other spaces include warehouse, crew quarters, dispatch, a large meeting room and outside storage for poles and transformers. There will be a business lobby and offices, a drive-up window staffed during business hours, and a drive-up kiosk for 24-hour payments.
The Hermiston Chamber of Commerce hosted Tuesday’s open house at UEC.
“The remodel here is really beautiful,” said Chamber President and CEO Debbie Pedro. “Thank you for investing in our community.”