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Pendleton Mayor John Turner speaks about the new fire station during a groundbreaking ceremony in Pendleton in 2018. The city now faces a hefty fine for erosion violations during the station’s construction.

PENDLETON — The city of Pendleton is working to reduce an $86,977 fine for environmental violations during the construction of the new fire house.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality gave the city a permit in March 2018 to discharge storm water during the construction of the fire house at 1455 S.E. Court Ave. Per the permit, the city was responsible for implementing an erosion and sediment control plan.

But during a visit in late March, according to the DEQ, state regulators found the city had not put best practices in place to control erosion. The city also violated the permit when it failed to visually monitor storm water runoff during active construction.

The DEQ issued the penalty on Sept. 25. Pendleton Public Works Director Bob Patterson said the almost $87,000 figure came as a surprise and city went to work immediately to address the oversight and put the erosion control practices in place.

He also said city attorney Nancy Kerns is working to appeal the size of the fine. The Department of Environmental Quality allows violators 20 days to request to ask for a hearing to dispute any allegations. Those hearings can result in lower fines.

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