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City of Umatilla Facts

HISTORY OF THE CITY OF UMATILLA

GOVERNMENT
The City of Umatilla was first incorporated as Umatilla City on October 24, 1864 with a mayor, five aldermen, recorder, marshal and treasurer. The first mayor was George Coe. Disincorporation soon followed in 1866 because the citizens felt it was unnecessary to have the burden of a municipal government. Reincorporation took place in 1906 as the City of Umatilla.

The city charter established a mayor/council form of government. The mayor is elected at large to serve for four years, to conduct the monthly council meetings and to officially oversee the operations of the city.

There are six council members elected for a four year term. Every two years there is an election for three council positions. Council members vie for council seats by numbered position. The city council sets the policy for the city. Neither the Mayor nor City Council members are remunerated for serving.

LOCATION
In 1968 the City of Umatilla was moved to higher ground due to the expected flooding of the townsite due to the building of the John Day Lock and Dam. The Army Corps of Engineers acquired the land adjoining the Columbia River and that 130 acre area which did not flood, as expected, is the region referred to as "Old Town."

The land at Old Town has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. Archeological digs have confirmed that an ancient prehistoric settlement once thrived on the banks of the Umatilla and Columbia River. In later times, Indian villages occupied the area. An ancient Indian burial ground remains on the land still and is protected from relic collectors and vandals.

The first archeological dig was conducted in 1965 by a crew from the University of Oregon. Thousands of relics were found and are now stored until eventual funding is available to continue dating and identifying the historic treasures.

In 1970 the Mid Columbia Archeological Society initiated a series of excavations and in the spring of 1979 an archeological investigation was conducted by the Washington Archeological Research Center. The Umatilla site is the largest existent prehistoric site reported in the State of Oregon.

AMENITIES
The City currently has 5 parks.

  • Nugent Park is a 40 acre site that was acquired through the Bureau of Land Management by patent in 1962. A boat ramp is situated in the park area on the shores of the Umatilla River. The covered fishing dock was built with grant funds and is situated on Corps property leased by the City.
  • Kiwanis Park, located near the entrance to the McNary area, was developed with property donated to the City by a private citizen. " Hash Park in McNary includes a youth baseball/softball field, picnic tables, parking lot and restroom
  • 3rd Street Soccer Field - A soccer field with parking lot and restroom
  • Umatilla Landing - "A" Street - This small park has a covered gazebo, benches and access to the Umatilla River. The Umatilla Garden Club sponsored a Blue Star Memorial and planted a flower garden at the park.
  • Other parks include 2 small parks in the South Hill area, a basketball court located across from the LDS Church and a tennis court on Walla Walla Street.

Two cemeteries are maintained in the City. Pioneer Cemetery on 6th Street is now fully occupied although most of the gravestones are missing. The last burial there was in 1984 of a long time employee of the City, recorder Miriam McKenzie. The newer cemetery, Sunset Memorial, is situated off of Powerline Road near the LDS Church.

Water is supplied to the City through the use of four of the five City wells. They are the Golf Course Well, Intertie Well, McFarland Well, Port Well and the original city well called the Old River Well which is not used now. A new sewer plant was built in 1999 and is operated by the City Wastewater Department. The Umatilla City Police Department is operated 24 hours a day with the office being staffed between 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Fire Department is not a part of the City of Umatilla but rather is operated by the Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District.

Bicycle/Pedestrain trails - There are about 4 miles of trails in the City beginning in the Port of Umatilla area, winding through McNary, continuing through the McNary Dam Wildlife area and west along 3rd Street. The trail begins again at the High School Athletic Complex, across the Umatilla River and continues up the hill to Power Line Road and west toward the Umatilla Morrow County line. Plans for the future include connecting trails up South Hill.

CITY OPERATION
Departments in the City include:

1. Water
2. Sewer
3. Police
4. Streets
5. Cemeteries, Parks
6. Court
7. Library
8. Building
9. Finance

Garbage pick-up is through a franchise agreement with Sanitary Disposal Service.

REVENUE SOURCES TO OPERATE THE CITY
The water and sewer departments are funded through user fees. (Monthly utility billing.)

The street department gets its revenue through state gasoline tax, and when available, the City's general fund.

The general fund makes up the rest of the City's funding. A percentage of property taxes from the property within the City come to the City's general fund. This is called our tax base. Our basic tax rate for the general fund is $2.9191 per thousand dollars and our bonded indebtedness is around $1.75 per thousand of assessed value. The total assessed value within the city limits is just over $124,000,000.

Other revenue comes from franchise agreements with public utilities, state and federal revenue sharing, fines and various fees.

PAST MAYORS OF THE CITY OF UMATILLA

1864......................................GEORGE COE.............................1865
1865................................. DANIEL FRENCH...........................1866
1906......................................R.J. YERXA..................................1912
1913.....................................H.N. DRYER.................................1914
1915..................................E.E. STARCHER..............................1916
1917.............................LAURA J. STARCHER.........................1918
1918.................................STELLA PAULA...............................1920
1921.................................C.F. KNUDSEN................................1923
1923...............................D.R. BROWNELL...............................1928
1929.............................ALEXANDER REID..............................1932
1933..............................BERTHA CHERRY...............................1934
1934.................................J.C. TUCKER....................................1938
1939.......................JEFFERSON A. STEPHENS.......................1948
1949............................PAUL B. FOLLETT................................1950
1950.........................GENE R. WILLIAMS................................1950
1950........................ARCHIE W. EASTON................................1952
1953.....................MORGAN L. WILLIAMS.............................1954
1955.......................ARCHIE W. EASTON................................1960
1961...........................BOB ATTEBURY....................................1962
1963............................WARREN ANEY...................................1964
1965.....................ARTHUR "BUD" DRAPER............................1978
1979............................REGIS KAISER......................................1980
1981..................DONALD D. ARMSTRONG...........................1986
1987........................ALLEN LAMBERT....................................1989
1989.....................TONY VILLANUEVA..................................1990
1991.........................GEORGE HASH........................................2004
2005...........................DAVID TROTT