Vast expanses of mountains, valleys and canyonland cover the eastern half of Oregon. A lot of the landscape hasn’t changed in centuries, apart from a patchwork of farmland and the population hubs springing up bringing rural areas together.
Hermiston sits at the crossroads of Hwy 184 and I-82 with Hwy 395 going directly through the heart of the town. It is known for its transportation system that stimulates the local economy, which includes the transportation hub of the Union Pacific Railroad and the Columbia River. It is the turn-around for products being transported to and from Seattle, Portland, Spokane, Boise, Bend and all places in between. Major companies such as the Walmart Distribution Center, UP Railroad, UPS, Lamb Weston, Amazon and FedEx have located here because of the easy access to this system.
Today Hermiston attracts a diverse group of newcomers, including young professionals, growing families, and energetic baby boomers, all seeking that ideal location: “Where Life is Sweet.”
- •Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt - Apr
- •Clean Sweep Spring Clean Up Week – Apr
- •Star & Stripes 4th of July Celebration - Jul
- •FunFest - Jul
- •Pendleton Bike Week – Jul
- •Takin it to the Streets 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament – Jul
- •Pendleton Whiskey Fest Music Festival - Jul
- •Umatilla County Fair & Farm-City Pro Rodeo – Aug
- •Pendleton Round-up and Happy Canyon – Sep
- •Oktoberfest Pendleton – Oct
- •Treats on Main and Beyond – Oct
- •Farm Fair Tradeshow and Seminars – Nov
- •Pancakes with Santa – Dec
- •Community Tree Lighting Celebration - Dec
In the 1860's and '70's, Hermiston was known as "Six Mile House", a sturdy old west hotel with bar and brass rail. Alongside was a deep and cool well, curbed with lava rock and a feed barn for mules and horses. Six Mile House was an overnight stop for trail-weary travelers and freighters.
Hermiston was incorporated in 1907, and the Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, “The Weir of Hermiston” inspired the name.
Under administration of the Bureau of Reclamation, Cold Springs Reservoir was constructed east of Hermiston for storage of Umatilla River water. Formal opening of the head gate leading to the main canals took place on May 27, 1908. With this advent, irrigated farming was undertaken on a large scale.
Agriculture was Hermiston's lone industry until the Umatilla Army Depot was constructed immediately prior to World War II. In 1947 McNary Dam was erected on the Columbia River by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The 1960s saw commercial developments in the Hermiston area. One of these was the C&B Feedlot just off the Butter Creek Highway, south of town. Shortly after opening, the facility was feeding 3,000 to 4,000 cattle and about 15,000 lambs at a time. Most notable of the developments, however, was Marlette Coach Company's new mobile home plant.
The 1970s witnessed a widespread development in agricultural industry. Playing a major role were the large potato processing plants constructed by Lamb-Weston and J.R. Simplot, which provided employment for thousands and in many other ways, stimulated the area's economy. New irrigation techniques, particularly circle sprinklers, led to the farming of much land formerly covered by sagebrush. As Hermiston grew businesses invested such as the Union Pacific Railroad developed Hinkle Terminal, Marlette Homes, Inc. began manufacturing mobile Homes, Wal-Mart Distribution Center, Pioneer Seed, Fed X, Good Shepherd Medical Center and UPS are just a few businesses that have expanded to this community.
From modest beginnings, Hermiston has grown into a modern, progressive city as the largest city in Eastern Oregon, enjoying a wealth of assets in people, land, climate, the mighty Columbia River and has tremendous potential for further agricultural, Commercial and industrial expansions, because of logistics and land availability.