Youth Sports Coalition Aims to Bring Multi-Sport Complex to EOTEC

A plan is under way to develop a multi-sport complex at the Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center modeled after the SOZO Sports complex (above) located in Yakima, Wash. (Photo courtesy of SOZO Sports)

A brand new multi-sport complex could be in Hermiston’s near future following Monday night’s Hermiston City Council meeting.

A coalition of youth sports supporters presented a plan to the council for a $2.5 million complex at the Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center. The project is intended to develop multiple lighted fields for soccer, lacrosse, football and other sports with the goal of having it ready for the spring of 2023.

This rendering shows where the fields would be developed at the EOTEC site.

Luke Swanson said the coalition has been meeting weekly for the past four months to plan out and develop a budget for the project. Swanson said the group’s intent is to make it a community project with the bulk of the funding coming from corporate and community donors. The city has pledged $150,000 to help connect the fields to the site’s infrastructure.

Swanson said the project has support from throughout the community.

“We want to bring greenspace to Hermiston, bring lighted fields to Hermiston and create a facility that is the crown jewel Hermiston,” he said.

Josh Burns told the council that the complex would be modeled after the SOZO Sports complex in Yakima, Wash.

“It’s a fantastic facility,” he said, adding that he has visited the complex for youth tournaments in the past. “It’s not unusual to go there for a lacrosse tournament and see 7,000-8,000 people and the place packed with vendors.”

The initial specifics of the project call for up to six fields developed on an 18-acres site at EOTEC. Lighting will be the biggest expense with an estimated $1.2 million cost. Another $600,000 will go toward electrical hook-up. The absolute minimum needed to go forward with a scaled-down version would be around $1.4 million.

Burns said the facility would bring money into the local economy. A consulting group estimated that the complex could bring in $1.2 million to the community annually as the study showed the average family spends around $900 at sports events per weekend.

Al Davis, general manager for EOTEC, said the project will be a boon for Hermiston.

“Hermiston struggles at times for an identity when there is one right in front of us – competition,” he said. “If you think about what happens here with AAU basketball and with Little League tournaments and wrestling – people like to come to Hermiston.”

Mayor Dave Drotzmann agreed.

“Youth sports is Hermiston’s tourist attraction,” he said. “I think it could be a very important asset to our community.”

The project also fits in with the EOTEC Strategic Plan which prioritizes a multi-sport complex and overall landscaping improvements.

The council voted unanimously to move forward with project.


  1. “The consulting group’s study showed that the average family spends $900 per weekend at sports events.”
    Really? Can we get a recount on that?
    How much did the study cost?

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