Hermiston's can-do attitude is going to turn a pile of manure into a flower for the future of the city.

Faced as always with issues of water availability impeding the growth of its end of Umatilla County, the city has vouched to provide a 300-unit residential golf-course project with its water from the Columbia River.

That pledge gained Desert Falls a future of green lawns and fairways where once cattle were fattened for C&B Livestock.

There are few places in America where it would be a struggle to turn a feed lot into a housing and recreational highlight. Desert Falls has been a struggle since its conception.

First the city had to work with the Oregon Land Use Plan. The efforts to expand its Urban Growth Boundary to incorporate Desert Falls took more than two years and a six-figure investment until this year when the land use commission ordered its staff to "cause no harm" to Hermiston in this area.

Then there came the water issue. Hermiston is positioned in one of Oregon's "critical groundwater" areas. Each development has to have a water use mitigation plan approved before construction may begin.

But Desert Falls is seen by Hermiston's leadership as a solution to missing key elements in the continued growth of the community. High end housing to attract and retain business owners and managers as well as first class recreational asset are expected to add another level of diversity to the growing region.

With the city's pledge of water, Desert Falls now has a green light to proceed.

And a former feedlot will provide sustenance and energy of another type to the residents of Eastern Oregon.

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