PENDLETON - Representatives of the Pioneer Humane Society are excited about the latest development in its quest to build an animal shelter in Pendleton - the offer of a more attractive site than the city had previously provided.

"I think it's wonderful," said Carol Speed, society president. "It's about time we get to move forward on all this."

The Pendleton City Council Tuesday offered the humane society a new lease on 3 1/2 acres near the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport. The property involves four lots at Northwest 48th Drive and H Avenue in Pendair Heights.

"We are in the process of having a lawyer tweak that right now," Speed said Wednesday of the agreement. "The way it's written, it's more one-sided."

The Humane Society board also is advertising for a grant writer to help secure funding for construction and operating expenses.

The next step, Speed said, will be a fund-raising campaign expected to begin in October. The Humane Society's goal will be $800,000, she said.

Jerry Gildemeister of Union, who helped build Union County's animal shelter and has been working with the Pioneer Humane Society, has developed a model of what the proposed 6,000-square-foot animal shelter might look like. He is pleased with the new site because it's flatter and more suitable for a shelter than the previous one the city offered.

At the beginning of this year, Gildemeister said, the Humane Society had $62,287 in a dedicated reserve fund for the proposed animal shelter, plus $9,750 in a dedicated reserve fund for cages and other shelter equipment. This money came from a 1998 fund-raising campaign, Gildemeister said.

"The Pioneer Humane Society has less than 10 percent of what I figure they will need for the site development, shelter construction, equipment and supplies," he said. "So there is a lot of work ahead to make this successful."

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