Urban Renewal Area Creates Funding for Residential Development

A conceptual image of what a proposed new housing development along Feedville Road could look like.

The Hermiston City Council voted at its regular meeting Monday to approve the formation of the Southwest Hermiston Urban Renewal Area (SHURA), setting the framework for a large-scale resident development on Feedville Road. 

The city is working with a developer on the 350-acre area near the intersection of Feedville Road and Highway 207 known as Prairie Meadows. At full build out the project is expected to include 1,300 housing units, plus public services, parks, and commercial nodes.   

To start development, the urban renewal plan includes several infrastructure projects, including a 6,000-foot water line, 5,300-foot sewer line, 2-million-gallon water reservoir, and upgrades to the nearby Joseph booster station. These projects come with a proposed budget of $9 million. The plan does not include roads, which can be funded through developer fees once construction begins. 

A 38-acre regional park around the large basalt butte on the site and a trail network connecting to several small neighborhood parks is also included in the plan with a proposed budget of $4.7 million. 

The SHURA will divert new tax revenue from development to the Urban Renewal Agency, which will pay off the debt from projects. The plan is expected to take 19 years with an initial loan of $12 million. These tax diversions apply only to permanent tax rates and not bonds. Every new home will contribute to school and fire district bonds, and the developer has agreed to donate 1.5 acres for a fire station. 

“Over the past five years Hermiston has added almost 600 new housing units for all income levels,” said Hermiston City Manager Byron Smith. “We’re constantly working to make sure we meet the needs of current and new residents. The next big hurdle will be finding land where developers can build at an adequate pace, and the South Hermiston Urban Renewal Area is a perfect location. It will help sustain Hermiston’s growth and create more options for homebuyers.”