This project will rebuild City Hall on its existing site with a larger facility capable of accommodating future growth and bringing Building Permit and Municipal Court functions into the same facility. This will free up significant space at the Public Safety Center to accommodate growth in public safety services, and increase staffing efficiency in development services.
Hermiston City Hall is located at 180 N.E. 2nd Street in a bank building constructed in 1965. As the headquarters for city operations, the facility includes the primary customer service desk, offices for administration, planning, and finance departments, and City Council meeting chambers.
Due to concerns about available staff space, maintenance costs, and accessibility, the City Council in 2014 directed city staff to begin reviewing options for a future home for City Hall. An HVAC fire in December 2019 hastened the decision, and after gathering public input the City Council approved using funds from the Greater Hermiston Enterprise Zone to design and construct a more efficient and accessible City Hall building on the same property.
The Hermiston City Hall construction project includes:
- Remodeling the Hermiston Public Library basement for interim office space
- Demolition of the 1965 City Hall building
- Construction of a new City Hall on the same property, including expanded parking lot space
- Moving the Hermiston Municipal Court to the new City Hall
- Expanding the Hermiston Police Department into the former municipal court space
- Rebuilding and realigning the parking lot between Banner Bank and City Hall.
- Replacing two blocks of aging water and sewer lines under the alley between Main St. and Gladys Ave. The pipes were first installed between 1920 and 1950 and are due for an upgrade to support the downtown commercial core.
The new City Hall will bring more departments and services under the same roof, increasing citizen access while making better use of other city facilities. The Hermiston Municipal Court will be able to move from the Hermiston Public Safety Center to City Hall, giving the Hermiston Police Department the opportunity to expand its office space. The move will also increase staff efficiency by combining the front desk functions for utility billing and municipal court at City Hall.
How much will the City Hall & Public Safety Center expansion cost?
The City Council approved a $9.6 million bond to cover the full cost of all project components which include the Hermiston Public Library renovation, demolition of the current City Hall, design and construction of a new City Hall, and movement of municipal court out of the Public Safety Center. The final budget is dependent on the construction bid.
City Hall/E. Parking Lot: $8,250,000
West Parking Lot: $254,000
Utility Line Replacement: $180,000
Total Project: $8,684,000
How will the City pay for the project?
The Greater Hermiston Enterprise Zone is funded through new large scale business developments in Hermiston, which pay a negotiated annual fee to the zone to offset their impact on local services. The GHEZ currently provides annual payments of $1 million to the City of Hermiston and Umatilla County. These payments will last for at least 15 years. Umatilla County has agreed to pay $3 million toward the project in exchange for a 15-year lease agreement for use of a portion of the building.
Why does Hermiston need a new City Hall?
The City Hall building was no longer adequate for city services due to its configuration and the era in which it was constructed. Meanwhile, the Hermiston Police Department and Umatilla County Fire District #1 also faced significant space challenges for existing services at the Public Safety Center as the community population has grown. Hermiston’s population has roughly doubled, from 9,000 residents when City Hall was first used to more than 18,000 residents today, and the State of Oregon projects that Hermiston will grow to 28,000 residents by the year 2035. Moving the Municipal Court out of the Public Safety Center into an expanded City Hall allows for long-range expansion of public safety services.
Why demolish the existing building instead of renovating and expanding?
The multi-level construction was not compliant with access requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Attempting to retro-fit the necessary lifts to accommodate ADA in to the existing building would have been very costly. The cost of the lifts themselves is large, but also the cost of designing around those improvements can make the cost of a workable resulting floorplan higher than starting from scratch. A new building constructed with a similar footprint will make more efficient use of space, be more accessible for residents, and will lower long-term maintenance costs compared to maintaining a 55 year old building; all with an upfront costs comparable to renovation.
Why not sell the existing building and build new elsewhere?
The City Council determined that City Hall should remain centrally located in the downtown core for easy access by residents as well as to support downtown businesses by attracting regular traffic to the downtown. Based on the overall site size necessary for a new City Hall, there were very few options for alternative downtown locations, all of which would have come with significant acquisition costs. Meanwhile, the resale value of the existing building was questionable due to the facility’s size, age, configuration, and costs associated with bringing it to ADA compliance.
Why not sell the existing building and convert the Community Center?
The Hermiston Community Center was built in the 1960s as a grocery store. The costs of renovating the facility were estimated to be close to the costs of demolishing the existing City Hall and rebuilding on-site. Meanwhile, conversion of the Community Center would have eliminated a significant asset for community programming, and any potential sale revenue of the existing City Hall building would not have come close to the cost of replacing the community center.
When will the project be completed?
The construction timeline is approximately 18 months. City Hall should open between the middle of 2022 and early 2023.
City Hall Timeline
Foundation work begins on City Hall and the West Parking Lot paving project begins.
Demolition of the old City Hall begins.
Griffin Construction from The Dalles submits the low bid and is approved by the City Council as the project contractor.
The RFP is put out to bid for City Hall construction.
Umatilla County Commissioners vote to purchase the Lanham Building east of City Hall to make room for the new construction, part of the agreement to pay $3 million toward the construction of City Hall in exchange for a 15-year lease to use a portion of the building for office space and services.
The City Council authorizes $9.6 million in bonds to pay for the construction of City Hall and renovation work begins on Hermiston Library basement.
City Council approves moving forward with new construction, beginning with renovation of library basement for temporary office space while City Hall is being built.
City staff reviews options for repairing damage to City Hall and collects data through a public survey about the use of city customer service.
Two public forums are held to discuss potential options for City Hall, including repairs and renovations to current building, moving locations, or new construction.
City Council votes to move forward with design work and cost estimates to construct new City Hall at the current location.
A furnace fire at City Hall causes extensive smoke damage in the building, closing the building the staff and creating the need for a new HVAC system.
The Hermiston population grows to more than 10,000.
City of Hermiston adds on to the former bank building at 180 N.E. 2nd Street and moves into the new City Hall.
First Federal Savings and Loan building is constructed at 180 N.E. 2nd Street.