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Council defends audit choice

Decision based on what was best for city, councilors say

At least two city councilors said they stand behind their votes to select a Pendleton-based accounting firm to handle the city’s audits, a decision that has come under fire from the local business community about taking the business out of town.


City approves K Avenue vacation application

Council also places moratorium on permanent street furnishings

The La Grande City Council gave the OK to Union County on its application to vacate K Avenue from Fifth to Sixth streets during a regular session of the council Wednesday night.

The county has applied to the city to vacate part of K Avenue in order to provide ample off-street parking for a proposed courthouse to be sited on the corner of 5th Street and L Avenue, where Shelter From the Storm currently sits. 


BRIEFLY: Literacy Center closes for spring break

Literacy Center closes for spring break 

The Literacy Center at Cook Memorial Library will be closed beginning Monday for spring break. The center will reopen April 1. Hours are 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday. For information on tutoring, call the library at 541-962-1339.


Oregon Connection Academy cleans up Riverside

The weather was not perfect but the timing was.

Seven students with Oregon Connections Academy, a public, accredited online school, did extensive cleanup work at Riverside Park Thursday afternoon. The youths, ranging from grade school to high school students, swept the Riverside Park pavilion, cleaned its tables with disinfectant and picked up litter on the park’s grounds.


10 Things to Know for Friday, March 21

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


Street vacation proceedings initiated

In busy regular session Wednesday night, the La Grande City Council voted to move an application for a street vacation forward, place a moratorium on downtown amenities and decided to consider an ordinance that would ban medical marijuana dispensaries.


10 Things to Know for Thursday, March 20

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


OSP investigating death of 25-year-old near Pendleton

Oregon State Police, with the assistance of the Umatilla County Deputy Medical Examiner, is continuing the investigation into the death of a 25-year-old Hillsboro man. Preliminary investigation indicates a drug overdose is the apparent cause of death. 

BRIEFLY: 15-year-old cited for alleged assault

15-year-old cited for alleged assault

A 15-year-old was cited into juvenile Monday afternoon after allegedly assaulting a younger student at La Grande Middle School, police said.


Forest access bill rallies support

Rep. Greg Walden announced Monday he has introduced a bill to Congress that would give local governments more control of federal forests. The bill would halt travel management plans and require consensus before roads are closed. (KELLY DUCOTE/The Observer)

Local officials, residents back Walden’s bill, introduced last Friday 

Residents and officials voiced support for U.S. Rep. Greg Walden’s Forest Access in Rural Communities Act Monday morning. 


School board ratifies contract

It is official — Beth Burton, an Arlington educator, is set to become the Imbler School District’s next superintendent.

The Imbler School Board formally named Burton as the school district’s future superintendent Tuesday night. The board unanimously ratified a two-year contract for Burton, who will also serve as the Imbler Elementary School principal. 


Thieves empty lockers at high school

Limited number of items stolen during incident

Powder Valley High School students received a shock when they arrived at school Monday morning.

The students learned that almost all of the nearly 100 lockers on the second floor of their school had been emptied Sunday night. Fortunately, few items were reported missing, according to school district officials. 


Funding structure

(Bureau of Land Management photo)

Top 1 percent of wildfires to be funded as natural disasters through FEMA

A bipartisan group of members of Congress at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise pledged Monday to work on behalf of legislation that would change the funding structure for fighting wildfires.


Water project in the works

The water drainage system and Gekeler Slough may undergo changes in the next few years following the adoption of a new surface water management plan. The plan seeks to address flooding issues in and around La Grande. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

Grande Ronde Valley drainage improvement alternatives laid out  

Officials may soon be working to upgrade the drainage system in and around La Grande to better address flooding situations in the valley.

A draft of the Gekeler Slough Surface Water Plan was presented Monday night in a joint work session of the La Grande City Council and Union County Board of Commissioners.


State: Eastern president will do right by the university

Despite departure, Bob Davies will push hard for new governance model

The impending departure of Eastern Oregon University President Bob Davies to Murray State University in Kentucky is raising questions about the direction EOU will take in the future.

New uncertainties now loom, but this much is certain — Eastern is still on track to have the hybrid governance structure Davies is endorsing for the university. The hybrid governance model is one Davies will keep pursuing for Eastern.  

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