The Pendleton old city hall could be ready for occupancy, more than three years after it exploded.
After meeting behind closed doors Tuesday, the Pendleton City Council unanimously agreed to a settlement with the family who owns the fire-damaged building at 34 S.E. Dorion Ave.
Both sides were set to meet in Pendleton Municipal Court in August over thousands of dollars the city has fined the Quezadas, but the settlement means the owners will avoid the fines.
Old city hall originally exploded in July 2015, killing Eduardo Quezada, a member of the family that owns the building, and severely damaging the interior and exterior. The city council voted to fine the Quezadas $500 per day starting in January, after the family failed to install a new roof and seal the building by the end of 2016.
Following the council’s vote, City Attorney Nancy Kerns shared the terms of settlement.
In exchange for dropping the fines, the Quezadas will plead guilty to the nuisance ordinance violations.
The family will again be required to meet certain benchmarks to avoid penalties. With the building now roofed and other openings boarded up, the benchmarks focus on installing new windows.
The windows facing Southeast Dorion Avenue and Southeast First Street must be installed by mid-January and the rest of the windows replaced by mid-April. Additionally, the Quezadas must apply for a certificate of occupancy by Sept. 1, 2018.
If the owners fail to meet that criteria, the city can foreclose on an approximately $26,000 lien it obtained through the settlement, resume fining them $500 for violating the nuisance ordinance, or both.
Before meeting behind closed doors, Charles Denight, associate director of the Pendleton Development Commission, said the Quezadas are looking at bids for new windows.
Other council business included:
• The council approved a $1.1 million bond from Culbert Construction to replace water lines under Southeast Third Street, South Main Street and Southeast Goodwin Avenue.
The Third Street line, installed in 1911, is the primary line between the South Hill and North Hill reservoirs and the production wells in Stillman and Kiwanis parks.
According to a report from City Engineer Tim Simons, the Third Street line was shut down over the summer after the city discovered a leak under the railroad track, causing concern that it would create a “soft spot” under the tracks.
During the master planning process, consultant Murraysmith discovered that other water lines near the Third Street line also needed replacement, leading to the Goodwin and Main Street projects.
The city will pay for the water line projects through the water utility rate hikes and a $14.9 million dollar loan from the state.
• The council unanimously approved a cost-share agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation for the first phase of an Interstate Exit 209 interchange realignment.
If the council applies for a $1 million federal grant with ODOT for engineering work, it would cover 30 percent of the cost.
• The Oregon State University Extension Service took another step toward putting a taxing district on the May ballot.
The council unanimously approved a resolution the includes Pendleton in the proposed district. Hermiston approved a similar resolution in August.
Contact Antonio Sierra at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0836.