In just four years, the city of Hermiston has seen its inventory of available large industrial land ready for development shrink to zero.
“We’ve seen gangbuster industrial land sales in the last four years,” Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan told the council during Monday night’s Hermiston City Council work session. “In 2018, the city and its partners were sitting on the neighborhood of 250-300 acres of shovel ready, site-certified industrial land. Hermiston currently has zero large acreage industrial land available for development.”
In the past few years, Meyer Distributing bought 40 acres for its warehouse located at the South Hermiston Industrial Park near the Wal-Mart Distribution Center. Amazon purchased a 100-acre parcel along Kelli Boulevard. In December, Amazon closed on another 178 acres along Feedville Road.
The city has been working with Maul Foster & Alongi, a consultant business, to figure out how to expand its inventory of developable industrial land to attract new economic development.
The consultants have taken an inventory of a lot of the existing industrial land located within the city and within its urban growth boundary (UGB), as well as properties within about a mile outside of the UGB to see what some of those opportunities are for expanding the UGB.
Garrett Augustyn, a planner with Maul Foster Alongi, spoke to the council Monday night via Zoom. He told the council that their study showed Hermiston has just 234 acres currently available for industrial development. He said, however, that there are high-acreage tracts of land just outside the city’s UGB but the city will have to go through the lengthy process of working with the state to expand its UGB to absorb those large tracts. He told the council that they city will need to make the case that expanding the urban growth boundary will result in new economic development.
Hermiston City Planner Clint Spencer said it would take 18 to 24 months to accomplish, but said the city has a good chance of success.
“If we are willing to go through the economic opportunities work and really develop a solid case, based on the conversations we’ve already had with the state, I think they would be supportive. But they’re going to want to make sure that every hoop is jumped through.”
Following the work session, the council adopted the consultants’ report and intends to move forward with the UGB amendment process.