Good news: After stifling new development for nearly a decade, the Pendleton City Council has voted to repeal the plan known as the River Quarter Overlay. Although described as "a good plan" by one council member, its failure confirmed that it really wasn't good for anyone except the consultants that drew up all the plans.
More good news: Cost overruns on the Eighth Street Bridge replacement project, caused by the Pendleton Enhancement Project (PEP), should be a thing of the past now that its director has resigned and the relocation of the old bridge to Main Street has been abandoned. Hopefully, donations for the project will be used to cover those cost increases, and hopefully the Pendleton Development Commission (PDC)/City Council will step up, dispose of the old bridge, and put this rather bad idea to rest once and for all. After all, with 22 city parks to maintain, facilities like the Round-Up and Happy Canyon stadiums, the Convention Center, Recreation Center, and the Vert Auditorium all at our disposal, do we really need more?
Not so good news: With the formation of the North Bank Umatilla Advisory Committee, city officials will be shifting their focus away from the River Walkway over to the north side of the Umatilla River, attempting again to limit any new economic development and instead turning the area into a wildlife refuge. Other Oregon cities are seeking authority to limit deer populations within their borders because of the problems they create. Our city officials are taking the opposite approach putting any problems created on future generations.
The bad news: The Feds have given the thumbs down on the city's request for $26 million to redo Exit 209. Perhaps they are aware of the way the Eighth Street Bridge project has been mishandled, or maybe they felt the proposed redesign of the exit offered little in a long-term solution to the congestion problem. Who knows? It looks like we'll be relying on our "consulting agency" to sort it all out.
Other news: On the economic development front, city financial support beyond that for the downtown association's pub crawl is being proposed for a Wild West Brew Fest. Rumors persist that a "pot" festival is coming. It may be time for Chief Roberts and AA to consider staffing up for an increase in business.