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Harkenrider Center in Hermiston on time and on budget

The Hermiston city council discussed progress on the new senior center and approved a police union contract
Jade McDowell

East Oregonian

Published on October 9, 2017 8:59PM

Jackie Meyers,  Bonnie Luisi and Gary Luisi look out of what will one day be a set of french doors at the Harkenrider Center during a tour on Monday.

Staff photo by Jade McDowell

Jackie Meyers, Bonnie Luisi and Gary Luisi look out of what will one day be a set of french doors at the Harkenrider Center during a tour on Monday.

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City councilors, staff and citizens take a tour of the Harkenrider Center on Monday in Hermiston.

Staff photo by Jade McDowell

City councilors, staff and citizens take a tour of the Harkenrider Center on Monday in Hermiston.

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Part of the Harkenrider Center’s great room as seen during a tour by the Hermiston City Council on Monday.

Staff photo by Jade McDowell

Part of the Harkenrider Center’s great room as seen during a tour by the Hermiston City Council on Monday.

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The Harkenrider Center is on time and on budget.

Hermiston city councilors toured the partially-completed senior center Monday before their regular meeting to learn about the building’s floor plan and progress.

“It’s going very well I think,” said Jared Wendlandt of G2 Construction.

He said G2 is working hard to get exterior work finished before winter hits so that bad weather won’t affect the timeline.

The Harkenrider Center, located near the Hermiston Public Library and visible from Highway 395, is expected to open in March 2018. It is 7,000 square feet with a 4,000 square foot unfinished basement. The main floor includes a reception area, great room, fireplace, breakout rooms, offices, restrooms, commercial kitchen and elevator. The outdoors will feature a bus drop-off, parking, covered deck, landscaping and a path leading to Highway 395.

The former senior center was 5,000 square feet but was demolished recently when Hermiston School District took ownership of the former fairgrounds. Willard Fordice, the senior center’s bus driver, said Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church was gracious in offering up its parish hall for senior meals in the interim, but the seniors are looking forward to having their own space again.

“Some of them can’t believe it’s that big,” he said of a recent tour the seniors took. He said Hermiston Senior Center president Irene Miller, 96, was “tickled to death about it.”

City councilors said they have had people asking about the project and asked that some sort of sign be added along Highway 395 across from the Holiday Inn Express so that people would know that was what was being built.

“I’m excited,” Mayor David Drotzmann said. “It looks nice.”

On Monday during their regular meeting the council also approved a contract with the police union. The contract was supposed to be completed before July, but City Manager Byron Smith said a mediator was finally brought in on Sept. 26 to help finish negotiations.

The contract approved Monday provides for a 2.75 percent salary increase retroactively dated to July 1, 2017, another 2.75 percent increase on Jan. 1, 2018 and a 1 percent increase on July 1, 2018. It also gives a $200 allowance for boots, increases bilingual pay from 2 percent to 3 percent, gives 5 percent assignment pay to officers promoted to a new corporal position and expands the definition of sick leave and bereavement leave to fit the one used by the city’s non-union employees. Association members agreed to pay 2.5 percent of current health insurance premiums starting July 2018.

Smith said the contract was a little above what the city had budgeted for, including 2.5 percent salary increases, but didn’t have a total dollar amount off the top of his head.

Smith also reported to the city council that he had met with the owners of Ranch & Home, and they reported that problems getting electrical contractors had delayed progress on their new store on South Highway 395, and they would likely not open until February or March. The city had offered the company financial incentives for gaining their occupancy permit by Jan. 1.

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





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