PENDLETON - Pendleton voters will be asked in November to approve a bond measure totaling nearly $8 million to finance a variety of community projects, including improvements at the Round-Up grounds and the Vert.
After hearing a handful of proponents speak Tuesday night about the value of the investments, the Pendleton City Council adopted a resolution to put the bond measure on the Nov. 2 ballot. The proposal would fund $7,745,000 in projects, plus $235,000 in associated costs, according to City Manager Larry Lehman, for a bond issue totaling $7.98 million.
The cost to taxpayers is estimated at $1.05 per $1,000 of assessed value. That means the owner of property valued at $100,000 would pay $105 more in taxes.
Dr. Tom Weeks, representing the Pendleton Round-Up Association, said the bond would finance replacing the west bleachers at the Round-Up Grounds. Another Round-Up director, Bob Hulden of Union, discussed the plan for a a year-round multipurpose "gathering facility" near Roy Raley Park, which would include new public restroom with showers.
Jane Hill, executive director of the Pendleton Center for the Arts, described the benefits of expanding the arts center and creating a place for people to sit and view the Umatilla River.
Dr. Cheryl Marier, executive director of the Oregon East Symphony, told of the extensive renovation that could be accomplished at The Vert Auditorium if voters approved the bond measure. Included would be additional restrooms, a fire sprinkler system, an elevator, upgrading heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing systems and an additional aisle through the seating area.
Andrea Timmermann, representing The Vert Council, said the lower level of the building would benefit from the bond proceeds too. The kitchen would be remodeled, restrooms would be improved and storage and maintenance rooms upgraded.
"It would bring this part of the Vert Building into the 21st century," she said.
David Byrd, city parks and recreation director, said money from the bond issue would be used to resurface roads and replace the mausoleum roof in Olney Cemetery. He said the city also is considering buying a "service pavilion," which would be a permanent shelter for services that now take place at graveside.
"It would be a great service to the community," he said, noting that it often is difficult for people to get to and from graves for services.
Longtime Pendleton resident Don Cook introduced himself as chairman of a committee that will work to encourage voters to approve the bond issue.
"It's a terrific investment in the future of our community," he said. "I believe the voters, if they are properly informed of the needs, will pass the bonds."
Proposed bond issue projects
Round-Up Association - New West Grandstand and new gathering facility with restroom renovation near Roy Raley Park, $3 million.
Oregon East Symphony, Pendleton Concert Association, Vert Council - Three-floor Vert Auditorium renovation, $3 million.
Altrusa Club - Skateboard park near West Pendleton Overpass, $450,000.
Pendleton Parks Commission - Park playground equipment, $445,000; Olney Cemetery improvements, $375,000; interactive spray pool at Pendleton Aquatic Center, $125,000.
Arts Council of Pendleton - Completing Arts Center exterior project (River Room veranda and downstairs plaza extension), $250,000.
Pendleton Convention Center - New bleachers, $50,000 to complete funding.
Pendleton Little League - Pave main walkway and parking lot, bleachers and three new storage areas, $50,000.