HERMISTON - Hermiston Police Chief Dan Coulombe is on a winning streak. He told the City Council Monday that the city's experiment in renting a Pendleton jail bed is working, and the police beat the firefighters in softball 22-11.
Coulombe said the jail bed keeps accused criminals off the streets while they wait to see a judge and also can be used for those serving a sentence.
"We're trying to get some consequences to actions," Coulombe said. "Aberrant behavior or illegal behavior should have consequences."
Coulombe said the change has caught some local lawbreakers by surprise.
"I think some are shocked that they're going to jail," he said. "We've had that reaction numerous times."
Hermiston rents the bed at a rate of almost $20,000 a year, Coulombe said. It was occupied 28 of 31 days in July.
Also at the meeting Monday night, Mayor Bob Severson read the resignation of City Council member Marie Baldo, who has resigned effective Aug. 31 so she can pursue a municipal position. Baldo applied for the job of city librarian, which led to her resignation to prevent any conflict of interest.
"I'll miss it," she said of the council. Baldo represented Hermiston constituents for more than five years.
The council also passed, again, an expansion of Hermiston's Urban Growth Boundary to accommodate the Desert Falls Golf and Country Club, which is under construction on the former C&B Feedlot property near Highway 207 and Feedville Road. The new ordinance, which includes minor language changes for legal reasons, replaced one passed at the last council meeting.
The council started the evening at Umatilla Electric Cooperative, where councilors heard about improvements to the transmission system. City Manager Ed Brookshier said the improvements should help the reliability of the city's electricity.