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Maxwell Siding Event Center adding new event venue to Hermiston

Building remodeled to fill hole left by Thompson Hall closure
Jade McDowell

East Oregonian

Published on June 9, 2017 11:45AM

The Maxwell Siding Event Center opens June 16.

Contributed photo by the Maxwell Siding Event Center

The Maxwell Siding Event Center opens June 16.

The back patio of the Maxwell Siding Event Center can hold up to 120 people.

Contributed photo by the Maxwell Siding Event Center

The back patio of the Maxwell Siding Event Center can hold up to 120 people.

The Maxwell Siding Event Center set up with tables.

Contributed photo by the Maxwell Siding Event Center

The Maxwell Siding Event Center set up with tables.

The Maxwell Siding Event Center staged for a banquet.

Contributed photo by the Maxwell Siding Event Center

The Maxwell Siding Event Center staged for a banquet.


Planners of weddings, class reunions and corporate Christmas parties now have another venue option in Hermiston.

The Maxwell Siding Event Center, located at 145 N. First Place near Nookie’s Restaurant, will hold a grand opening next Friday. The building can seat about 150 people indoors and accommodate another 120 on the back patio.

The center will help ease a shortage of local event space caused by the closing of Thompson Hall when the old fairgrounds were turned over to Hermiston School District. Mitch Meyers, owner of Nookie’s and Hermiston Brewing Company, said he had always planned to turn the space into an event center someday, but the “vacuum” caused by losing Thompson Hall and lingering questions about the future of the Hermiston Conference Center helped him decide that the time was now.

“There are opportunities in life and in business that when the opportunity presents itself, you need to move,” he said. “And this is one of those times.”

It doesn’t hurt that a new Holiday Inn Express just went up next door. Meyers is already working with the hotel to offer package deals for people to book a block of rooms for visitors coming in for events at the Maxwell Siding Event Center — a move that should help curtail drunk driving.

Thanks in part to the new hotel, Meyers said business at Nookie’s and Hermiston Brewing Company has nearly tripled in the last year, causing the restaurant to start turning away large-scale reservations for corporate events. Now those events can be catered by Nookie’s in the event center.

Miranda Torres, the Maxwell Siding Event Center’s manager, said the center will offer a variety of catering options for breakfast, lunch and dinner events and beverage options ranging from coffee to hard liquor. They can set up rectangular or round tables and offer linens, floral centerpieces and other decorations. They will also offer electronic equipment including a screen, projector and sound system.

“We try to make it as comfortable as possible,” she said.

Meyers said the center is cleaner and more attractive than Thompson Hall and has more “personality” than the Hermiston Conference Center.

“It really has a nice warm feel to it,” he said.

The Maxwell name comes from the railroad’s Maxwell Siding, which predated Hermiston as a city. The building where the event center is located was used in the early 1900s as a siding warehouse where trains could pull up and be unloaded directly into the building.

“We can’t exactly put a date on it, but we believe this building was built in 1914,” Meyers said.

Later, the building was used as a turkey slaughterhouse and dry goods mercantile. In 2007 Meyers remodeled it and had been using it as a business office until remodeling again and adding additional parking and landscaping on the north side of the building over the last few weeks. He said he is working with the city to go through the approval process on turning the large gravel area to the south into an outdoor pavilion where additional events can be held.

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony for the center at noon on June 16, with an open house running from 5:30-8:30 p.m. that evening.

For more information about the center or to make a reservation visit www.maxwelleventcenter.com or contact Torres at maxwelleventcenter@gmail.com or 541-561-1047.

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Contact Jade McDowell at jmcdowell@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4536.







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