Parks & Recreation Committee - Minutes

Thu., Jan. 19, 2017

Chairperson Cortaberria called the regular January 17, 2017 meeting to order at 5:30pm. Present were Board members J. Stahlberg, R. Severs, L. Garcia, and Councilor Primmer. Board members Williams, Kay and Harrison and Councilor Myers were absent.

2016 November Minutes

Board members J. Stahlberg moved and R. Severs seconded that minutes of the regular scheduled meeting of November 17, 2016 be approved. Motion carried unanimously.

Public Attendance

Barry Trapp

Public Comment



A) Position Announcement, Recreation Supervisor

Director Fetter announced after five years of working in the P & Recreation Department Dan Earp has accepted a position with Carson City, Nevada. Mr. Earp's position will be a career advancement with many opportunities.

Mr. Fetter provided members a copy of the job announcement for this position with a deadline of January 13. He stated there were 32 applicants and he intends to narrow it down to the top five. Mr. Fetter stated he will be doing some skype interviews to get a sense of who candidates are. Director Fetter asked committee if they would be interested in helping thru the interview process and stated the city will offer a luncheon for the finalists. Ms. Cortaberria asked the director how the process would work. Mr. Fetter stated this would be a mid-level management position with a lot of community interaction screening for how well candidate relates to people. The director stated this is an expensive recruitment process so the city is looking for a person to invest time and effort in with hopes the selected candidate would be in Hermiston a long time.

To apply for the position Mr. Fetter asked candidates for a cover letter, resume, and a completed application. That was the minimum. Ideally, he stated he would like to bring in six candidates to interview. Director Fetter stated aquatics is important but is a niche that is hard to recruit for so education and certification could be attained later. Reflecting back the director stated Mr. Earp had to be CPO (Certified Pool Operator) certified when coming to Hermiston so he along with other staff members received the certification together.

Explaining the recreation side, Mr. Fetter stated the supervisor position over-sees several program areas with the aquatic component being the largest with around 60 staff during summer time including a time consuming hiring process and overseeing two coordinators. Coordinator K. Robbins is very involved at the Aquatic Center and oversees Youth Programs. D. Picard is the Adult Coordinator who over-sees the Adult sports and programs, Summer Feeding Program and Summer Day Camps. Both women help during special events. Both of these women have applied for the Recreation Supervisor position and will be included in the interview process. Director Fetter asked committee for feedback.

J. Stahlberg stated she liked the idea of an informal meet/greet setting saying some people interview poorly but perform better at a job. R. Sever stated if a candidate doesn't necessarily have qualifications but is willing to get qualified and stay a long time that should mean something. He stated the two candidates that will be part of the interview process are already built into the community and will not be moving on in 5 years and so both should be given a lot of consideration. Mr. Severs stated anyone can be trained to do a job. Mr. Fetter stated he would also be interested in if anyone of the candidates avail themselves interested and capable on the park side for the future of the Department.

B. Park Priorities 2017

Harkenrider Center

Director Fetter stated the Harkemider Center is going forward with many moving parts.

Complete Trail Interpretive Panels:


Vandalism and destruction has always been an issue at this park the Director stated. The damage being done is primarily by older youth after hours. When incidents are reported, the kids see the police cars drive in then jump over the backside of an existing 3' wood fence leaving the scene. Park staff has suggested installing a 6' black cyclone fence that would provide a safety perimeter and would allow police to retain youth inside of fenced area, discouraging this type of activity.

Hermiston Family Aquatic Center Solar Panels:

Currently there is some seed money to move forward with installing solar panels and the Director is working with a company to come up with a plan. The design will include using shade areas such as a pergolas with the panels on top being interconnected with the pipework. Mr. Fetter is hopeful improvements will be done this spring.


While the park is now fenced, all work has stopped since the snow.

The Director stated he discovered a program, Moda Assist Program, that awards up to $20,000 for playground improvements. Mr. Fetter was contacted and invited to compete against Tillamook and Portland. Mr. Fetter explained that for every assist made on the court,  the Trail Blazers and Moda donates $5 to a Trail Blazer Foundation to support building playgrounds in Oregon communities. What determines the winner is whichever community gets the most votes during the competition. Director Fetter stated involving the public to vote would be important. Voting is done online at To inform and spread the word to get people to vote Hermiston, the board suggested outreach by QR code on the Activity Guide, contact local schools, Vote Notice in the Utility Billings, Parks & Rec. App., Facebook, City website, Park Signage, E-Blast, and possibly partner-up with Police Department and Fire Department.

Disc Golf Course update:

Mr. Fetter stated property permission from the Hermiston Irrigation District and, just recently, the Hospital has been granted for use of land near Oxbow Trail. A use agreement will be signed with both organizations followed by planning and working with local groups to apply for grant monies to use for the project. Mr. Fetter stated round $60,000 is needed to get started. Chairperson Cortaberria reiterated when planning the course that it be designed to manage a game of 1-9 holes while the entire course is I 8 holes, along with careful consideration of locations for restroom and parking lot. Councilor Primmer suggest once things are moving forward Walmart and Big 5 should be contacted so that they can begin inventorying more disc golf equipment.

C) Smoke Free Parks

Director Fetter recapped November guest Janet Jones's of the Health Department visit about "Smoke Free" parks. The director stated he wanted to bring up the topic again to see if the committee is interested in making any changes.

Currently, Funland is the only "Non Smoking" park site and the director stated he was happy where the parks are currently but he would move forward if the group felt strongly about making changes. Chairperson Cortaberria stated she was happy with Mr. Fetter's recommendation. Mr. Fetter indicated botl1 Pendleton and La Grande have adopted "Smoke Free" parks and it's not caused any problems but he is not sure what the benefits would be. Going to a city wide "No­ Smoking" park system would take staff time, maintenance, signage, and ordinance to back it up. Members agreed to continue on with the current plan.

Guest B. Trapp stated concerns he has seen while using the Oxbow Trail during the summer months. He stated he noticed people smoking on the trail and this concerned him about the risk of fire. Mr. Fetter stated there is a "No Flame" policy and it could be imposed on the Oxbow Trail property. The committee members agreed it should be implemented and Mr. Fetter stated the Bureau of Reclamation and Hospital would support the policy. Mr. Fetter will move forward in implementation of the "No Flame" policy.

Program Highlights given by G. Wicks.

Meeting adjourned at 6:05pm

Next meeting will be February 9, 2017

Inclement weather rolled meeting to February 16, 2017

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