The city of Hermiston, with help from Umatilla County, is beginning a project that will bring water to about 1,000 new residential lots. Assistant to the City Manager Mark Morgan said that the new water tower and additional water lines will also increase the city’s water supply, and impact landowners who developers say are asking high prices for land that’s currently available for housing.
“By us coming in and dropping an extra 300 acres of otherwise developable land onto the market, the hope is that – if nothing else – it will allow developers more leverage when negotiating with landowners,” Morgan said.
The new water tower will also give Hermiston more room for water storage. Morgan says that the comprehensive plan brought home the fact that if there were to be a long-term power outage in the city, it would not have sufficient water supplies.
It will also pave the way for a new elementary school on almost 20 acres at Northeast 10th Street and Theater Lane. That land is being annexed into the city at the request of the Hermiston School District.
“If not for these improvements, if the school district were to go in and put a new elementary school out there, they probably would have faced upwards of $1.5 to $2 million in water system costs,” Morgan said.
The city council has given the green light to the construction of the water tower on the northeast side of town, approving a $3.3 million contract for the 1-million-gallon water tower and two miles of water main.