Whisky Fest

Staff photo by Kathy Aney

Police officers subdue a suspect during Saturday’s Pendleton Whisky Music Fest.

A tip of the hat to local police agencies for stepping up time and again to make big events safer.

Collaboration and cooperation are how rural communities throughout Oregon pull off big events and attractions. Folks in Umatilla and Morrow counties know that well. From county fairs to the Pendleton Round-Up, locals pour in from all corners of the region to help.

Policing is no exception.

The Pendleton Police Department last weekend had its hands full with the Pendleton Whisky Music Fest. Event organizers estimated 17,000 people attended, effectively doubling the population of Pendleton for much of a weekend. Pendleton’s finest would have been hard pressed to handle the load alone.

Oregon State Police pitched in with some of its mobile response team — troopers on bicycles. Officers from Boardman, Hermiston, Pilot Rock and the Umatilla Tribal Police Department also assisted. The East Oregonian ran a front page photo Tuesday, July 16, showing law enforcement dealing with a combative and bleeding man. Those officers were Morrow County sheriff’s deputies.

The sheriff’s deputies did not call the East Oregonian demanding recognition. They were just doing their job, after all.

A job that nowadays involves social work as much as traffic stops, dealing with the mentally ill as well as drunks, or stepping in to help someone overdosing while arresting a drug dealer.

The job also takes wading into a party pit in Pendleton’s July weather where as many as 6,000 people were shouting, gyrating and bouncing around and into each other amid blaring music just to get a hold of someone trying to take on security officers.

Most of us can think of more enjoyable ways to spend our days at a festival. The willingness of local police to take on these tasks means most of us can.

A tip of the hat the Hermiston School District for being a good steward of taxpayer dollars, which should be good news for voters. The school district was recently awarded the Certificate of Achievement for excellence in Financial Reporting.

The district garnered the award for the 12th year in a row. The district’s financial reports and debt management services — among an array of other metrics — are measured by the Government Finance Officers Association. While surely a boost for the district, the award is more important because it illustrates that an entity funded by public dollars isn’t wasting taxpayer money. In a day and age where out-of-control government spending is the norm, this type of news about a local school district is welcome.

A tip of the hat to all of those who sponsored or volunteered to make the Pendleton Whisky Fest and the Pendleton Bike week a success. Local events such as these enhance our community and attract needed tourism dollars. Such events take a lot of preparation work but the end result is worth it.

A kick in the pants to President Donald Trump for his continued insistence in creating controversy, this time with four Democratic lawmakers. This consumes valuable time better spent on key issues facing our nation. While everyone — including the president — has a right to speak their mind, clearly attacking lawmakers personally doesn’t help move the nation forward. We face an array of problems, and the President’s comments only distract from then national issues that need to be solved.

A tip of the hat to the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office for purchasing a new utility vehicle that will make the agency more versatile and flexible when responding to an emergency. At first glance the acquisition may not appear to be a big deal, but when you are in an accident and trapped in a secluded place, suddenly the new vehicle is a pretty important addition. The investment is a good one, and the sheriff’s office should be lauded for having the foresight to make the buy.

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