Pendleton’s mayor and city council have spoken — “We need more funding for our streets” — and the city manager has offered a few suggestions. Selling the Vert Auditorium is an option, and eliminating the RARE intern. Both ideas are worth consideration.

Although current management has had sufficient time to address the Vert issue, it seems instead they’ve elected to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Rivoli Theater renovation, the Downtown Business Association, and a project to relocate a rusty old bridge whose only historical value is that it’s old.

The reluctance to make any meaningful budget cuts leaves but one choice, the “stick it to the Round-Up” mentality that seems to be gaining momentum, withsome city councilors making statements like “my friends wouldn’t mind paying an extra fee for tickets,” oblivious to the fact that not all local residents are doctors, lawyers or Tier 1 PERS retirees.

There is reluctance to use the entire “pot” tax for streets, citing the uncertainty of future levels. With revenue exceeding $300,000, they are still committing only $100,000 to streets. Drive down Emigrant to Southwest 20th and turn right. This dead-end street, with little traffic and only two houses, was recently repaved while streets like Byers Avenue and North Main, with real problems, are ignored. It makes you wonder if they’re really serious, and what they are doing with the rest.

Then there’s the city’s latest “deal” with the Pendleton Heights contractor. Promises of nearly $70,000 a year for new property taxes and unwavering support by the city manager has wooed the city council into an approval despite seasoned councilors reluctant to even introduce a motion in support of the “deal.” For a brief moment it appeared common sense would prevail until a little extra prodding by the mayor brought the motion to the floor by freshman council member Carol Innes. The majority of the council then caved and the measure passed.

What wasn’t stressed was that increase in property revenue won’t pour into city coffers for use updating city infrastructure until we pay off the contractor for giving him that sweet “deal.” That could be 4 or 5 years down the road, and that’s if he doesn’t ask to renegotiate again.

“There’s a sucker born every minute” and “A fool and his money are soon parted,” and unfortunately we may be blessed with both.

Rick Rohde


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