In response to Rick Rohde’s recent comments published in the East Oregonian on December 27, please note the following:
1. In regards to the city council decision to repeal the River Quarter plan, the plan was not developed by a consultant. It was developed under the direction of the city planner and a group of eight dedicated community citizens in an attempt to preserve and improve our city. No consultant was involved.
2. The cost overruns of the Eighth Street Bridge were not caused by the Pendleton Enhancement Project, and the PEP committee, which invested over two years of effort trying to bring this project to fruition, mishandled nothing.
Replacement of the old bridge required the city to mitigate the loss of the historic bridge. The PEP plan proposed to meet that need and to preserve and honor a major historical element of our heritage. The delay in the project was caused by coordination issues at the state level, which were unknown the by the PEP and outside of their control.
Repurposing of the historic truss panels is still required by December 31, 2022. Other possibilities for reuse of the bridge will be explored to meet the Federal and State Historic Preservation mitigation requirements.