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A Tip of the Hat

A tip of the hat; a kick in the pants

 

East Oregonian – “Our View”

Release Date: August 3, 2010

 

A tip of the hat to the Umatilla Chemical Depot Local Reuse Authority for completing its year-longtask.

 

The committee last week approved a three-volume, 1,186-page reuse plan that is being delivered to the U.S. Army and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this week.

 

The LRA was comprised of representatives from Umatilla and Morrow counties, the ports of Umatilla and Morrow and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. They discussed and decided how to divide the 19,728-acre Umatilla Chemical Depot for use after the Army has completed its mission of destroying all chemical weapons stored there. The demolition contractor should be finished in 2012.

 

Organizing the meetings and writing the plan were employees of Dana Engineering of Kennewick, Wash. They, too, deserve a tip of the hat.

 

The Dana team gathered data such as the condition of the 1,411 Army-owned structuresencompassing approximately 3.6 million square feet.

 

The whole reason for this exercise, and those that will continue for the next couple of years, isimportant.

Approximately 1,170 employees work at the depot, with 635 of them living in Morrow and Umatilla counties. The depot's total annual estimated payroll for the workers for the two counties is nearly $44.7 million.

 

In addition to the direct employment, an additional 252 induced jobs are supported in the region. That means an estimated 907 jobs representing total labor income of $52 million annually would be lost when the depot closes if something isn't done to replace those jobs.

 

Industries expected to be most impacted by the decline in household spending include food anddrinking establishments, physicians, dentists, health practitioners; real estate professionalshospitals, retail, and wholesale trade.

 

With that in mind, it's easy to understand why the LRA's efforts to recommend commercial,industrial and agricultural uses on the property, in addition to military and wildlife refuge spaces, is so critical.

 

Media Contact -- Dean Brickey, East Oregonian