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Our View | Tip of the hat, kick in the pants

Published on August 31, 2018 8:58AM

EO file photo
Makad, Corp. has proposed a deal to build a hotel at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport in Pendleton.

EO file photo Makad, Corp. has proposed a deal to build a hotel at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport in Pendleton.

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A tip of the hat to Taylor Ann Skramstad and Meredith Moore, statewide rodeo royalty from one of the smallest towns in Umatilla County.

Both young women hail from Umapine, an off-the-beaten-path unincorporated community west of Milton-Freewater. But they both earned the statewide honor of Miss Rodeo Oregon and Miss Teen Rodeo.

To earn the titles, Skramstad and Moore had to show their knowledge and skill in rodeo and horsemanship as well as their poise in an interview. They’re expected to be ambassadors to the sport of rodeo, as well as their hometown.

We bemoaned the negative power of a poor civic representation last week, and are quick to applaud young people when they’re willing to proudly fly the banner of Eastern Oregon.

We wish these young women well on that endeavor.

A tip of the hat to the Pendleton City Council for delaying its decision on making a deal with a developer for a new hotel at the airport.

If we’ve learned anything from the city’s dealings with Makad, Corp., it’s that there’s no need to rush. Three years ago the company approached Pendleton about building a data center at the Airport Road industrial park and it’s still a work in progress. The newest plan from the company to build a hotel in the airport parking lot went before the city council earlier this month, and there’s no reason to sign on with questions still unanswered.

There would be obvious benefits to having an airport hotel. There’s no denying it is becoming a hub of activity with increased testing at the Pendleton UAS Range, and travelers into and out of Pendleton on the improved air service with Boutique Airlines could use a place to spend the night before or after a flight.

But there’s also the obvious question of why the city should tie its own fortunes to the success of a private enterprise, and how, exactly, the repayment would work. It’s common practice for cities to provide incentives for development, and Pendleton should be business-friendly. Setting up a lease payment based on gross revenue, however, is an unnecessarily convoluted way to return the city’s investment. It’s not a good precedent.

We’re also not keen on the verbal agreement to build a parking lot or the fuzzy math that councilors questioned.

Ultimately, the decision is the council’s but one the city will have to live with long after its members move on. We’re glad they’re taking the time to do the math and ask hard questions.


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