Chris Waine’s recent letter to the editor is off the mark. He claims that the Umatilla County Commissioners, city of Hermiston and EOTEC board have conflicts of interest on EOTEC and the county is “bailing out” of the project. These boards all saved the county around $5 million by the county not spending the $8 million it would have cost to simply bring the old fairgrounds up to code. Furthermore, the Umatilla County Fair has been given a wonderful, new, state-of-the-art home at EOTEC. Nothing has been lost. Much has been gained.
While the county may not be an owner any more in EOTEC, it does not matter as its ownership has simply passed from one public entity to another — each of them working for the best interests of the public.
Mr. Waine also complains about noise in the Airport Road area due to EOTEC. Again, he misses the mark. The city of Hermiston acquired the present EOTEC property more than 30 years ago specifically as a new fair site. In 1986 the city, county and fair board tried hard to get the fair moved to this site through a rejected sale of the old fairgrounds and then a countywide bond issue, which failed. For more than 30 years everyone in this community has known that the present EOTEC site was going to be the new fairgrounds. Mr. Waine moved to his residence near EOTEC around four years ago.
Mr. Waine says he represents all the people living along Airport Road. I count 10 to 14 residences. While EOTEC adversely impacts them, and that is unfortunate, 17,250 residents of the city of Hermiston are tickled pink the fair and rodeo moved out of the middle of town and the dangerous traffic and parking problems and noise it caused are gone.