PENDLETON — The Umatilla County Public Works Department is upgrading some big pieces of equipment.

The county board of commissioners on Wednesday gave its approval for the department buy a new motor grader and two dump trucks.

Tom Fellows, public works director, in a memo explained the department tries to turn over graders every five years or at 5,000 hours of use to have the best possible maintenance equipment for the county’s gravel roads. The new John Deere grader from Pape Machinery, Pasco, costs almost $312,000.

The county is selling its old Cat grader to Harney County for $125,000, according to Fellows, and those proceeds plus the difference from money in the budget for capital outlay equipment and miscellaneous expenses will cover the price.

The county is buying the two dump trucks from Woodpecker Truck and Equipment Inc., Pendleton, for about $147,600 each to replace older trucks. The county will sell the old ones at auction.

Commissioner George Murdock noted the purchases were local. Fellows said in future months the department will look to buy another dump truck and two transport vehicle from Woodpecker, which makes equipment available on Sourcewell, a cooperative purchasing organization.

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