Snoopy came home, and now the Pioneer Humane Society may finally have found a home as well.

Gene and Marilyn Cripe have requested a conditional use permit for a small animal adoption center and city pound at the at 517 S.E. Third St. While the Cripes are the permit applicants, Pioneer Humane Society would run the operation.

The Pendleton Planning Commission will vote tonight on allowing the animal shelter. The commission will meet at 7 at the Pendleton City Hall Council Chambers, 500 S.W. Dorion Ave.

The building now houses Marilyn Cripe's business, Smart Stoves, and used to house Gene's Electric Motor Service. Cripe said she's looking to semi-retire. While she will continue to serve customers who have purchased her stoves, she doesn't want the responsibility of having to open the shop day in and day out.

She said she got the idea for the animal shelter after speaking with Cindy Spiess, who owns and runs Cat Companions, an animal adoption and clinic

"A shelter is something Pendleton needs really bad," Cripe said.

The building sits on railroad land at Southeast Goodwin Avenue and Southeast Third Street in a light industrial zone, which allows an animal clinic, kennel or hospital.

Getting the permit, however, is just one step before the Pioneer Humane Society could actually work out of the building.

The city staff report notes several recommendations the Cripe would have to make to get the provisional permit:

n install sound dampening material;

n use landscaping or architectural screens to conceal areas for parking, animal storage and loading, as well as dog runs and other "outside animal activities;"

n provide off-street parking and parking for bicycles;

n build a fence to keep animals from leaving;

n designate a phone line, which city staff will monitor, for logging noise complaints.

Cripe said cats would be on the Goodwin side of the building, while dogs would be on the railroad side, which is farther from homes. She also said she and the Pioneer Humane Society would abide by the commission's recommendations.

If the commission gives its OK, the issue would go before the city council. That could be in January because the council already met for the last time this year.

If the council approves the use, Cripe would sell the building to the city of Pendleton.

Cripe didn't mention what she is asking for the building, but Umatilla County records show the building is worth $45,090.

"The building is on railroad land, so it's a bargain sale," Cripe said jokingly.

Cripe said the crucial part in the while mix is the city has agreed to buy the building only if an experienced and responsible nonprofit organization leases the facility. In this case, the NPO would be the Pioneer Humane Society.

Providing everyone meets all the "ifs," the facility would be running by the summer of 2009.

Dan Mitzemberg's excitement about the prospect was undeniable. He's the vice-president of the Pioneer Humane Society. The local Humane Society branch has tried - and failed - for years to raise enough money to buy a building.

Mitzemberg said the shelter would create a positive change for Pendleton and Umatilla County. Just having a place to keep animals and take control of feral cats will help that problem, and the facility will enhance the animal adoption process.

Further, the building won't require any structural changes, he said. The largest expense will be the installation of a ventilation system that will recycle air through the building at least every 15 minutes

The local humane society isn't alone in this effort, Mitzemberg said. Pet Companions is involved, as well as and the city. Mitzemberg also encouraged anyone who wants to get involved.

"We're all in this together," he said.

And that is showing, he said, in the new size of the Pioneer Humane Society board, which has grown as volunteers joined.

"This is all becoming incredibly positive," he said.

While Mitzemberg was enthusiastic and eager, he said he also wanted to make sure all the pieces of this puzzle are in place.

And the first piece starts with the meeting tonight.

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