As Pendleton’s mayor recently put it, running the city is very expensive and costs just keep going up. Besides the required costs for public safety (police and fire protection), and maintenance of our infrastructure (streets, public buildings and water/sewer systems), our city management team has decided that “being everything to everyone” is the proper approach to effective management.
Well, something has got to give since this concept of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” management style has left our city infrastructure in pretty sorry shape with the city borrowing money at a record pace, and current operations have proven unsustainable.
Although it’s been common knowledge for quite some time there were major problems with our streets, city management has been slow to act, citing the lack of adequate funding while simultaneously redirecting their energy to such essential projects as relocating the Eighth Street Bridge to Main Street, renovation of the Rivoli Theater, the unnecessary donation of $150,000 to the Farm II project, providing financial support to the Pendleton Downtown Association, the purchase of the riverbank property out in Riverside, and supporting a program to block even minimal private housing development along the north bank of the Umatilla River. The unnecessary property giveaway to the Pendleton Heights developer is the latest example of bad decisions from City Hall.
The airport asks for a new hangar, and the city wastes no time in giving the thumbs-up. The residents ask for better streets. The response? We’ll try to get you a proposal, not a solution, in a couple months when the budget is ready for approval, already admitting the $1.2 million proposal will not be nearly enough.
Two of the biggest losers the city has are the Vert Auditorium and the Olney Cemetery. Is it time to get rid of one or both? These are the kinds of tough decisions City Hall has to make since effective management of either has been nonexistent.