PENDLETON - The Pendleton City Council hopes to spur downtown development with the Temple Hotel.
It approved purchasing a $10,000 option to buy the historic building Tuesday night. The city, however, will search for a developer and let it exercise the option, said Larry Lehman, city manager.
The option fixes a purchase price of $915,000, and gives the city sole right to purchase the building for one year.
"There's no desire for the city to own this building," Lehman said. "The goal is to foster development of this property."
The firm price will help attract developers and state grants for a renovation project, Lehman said.
The option costs $10,000 in its first year, and there are two additional extension years, if desired by the city, for $5,000.
Connie Wright was the sole council member to object to the purchase option. She did so because of concerns with Measure 28.
If Measure 28 fails, Wright wondered if there would be state grants available for the project.
She also said she wondered who would want to develop in Pendleton if the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution closes.
While the city could lose $10,000 or more if no developer is found, several council members looked at the option as an opportunity to improve downtown.
"This is a chance to invest in the future, and I'd rather take that chance than not," said John Brenne, council member.
Ron Hughes noted that he had heard several complaints about the Temple.
Lehman said the city was acting much in the same way as it did with Goodwin Courts. However, in that instance, the city bought the vacant property itself and then attracted a developer.
In other business, the council:
Unanimously approved an LID for street improvements for Southwest Sheridan Avenue, 42nd Street, and 43rd Street.
The LID originated from a large number of complaints about the roadways, which were developed in the 1970s as part of county land, but later annexed by the city. However, neither the city or county maintained the roads because they didn't meet standards.
Because of that unique circumstances, the city will pay for $92,500 for street improvements in the LID. About 20 affected property owners will pay a total cost of $131,000 for curb, sidewalk and gutter improvements. A few also will have sewer improvements made.
Tabled until Jan. 21 a hearing on the proposed Grecian Heights Community Park, and the Land Use Board of Appeals and Court of Appeals decisions regarding that.