The annual Union County fireworks show, set to make an encore in Union two months from now, was further propelled toward its fundraising goal Wednesday.

The Union County Board of Commissioners voted to provide $3,500 to the fireworks show. The donation was made at the request of Doug Wiggins, Union’s city administrator.

The fireworks show now has between $19,000 and $20,000 in contributions, according to Wiggins, a member of the Union County Fireworks Action Committee.

“Our goal is to raise $22,000,” Wiggins said.

The Fourth of July fireworks show was conducted in La Grande on the campus of Eastern Oregon University for at least three decades before it was moved to Union in 2018 because of excavation work at EOU. The Union County Fireworks Action Committee is keeping the show in Union this year because of the success of last year’s show, Wiggins said.

The total number of people who attended the show is not known, but Wiggins said about 500 people were at the Union High School athletic complex, where the show was based. Many of those attending were from outside Union, based on the lengthy lines of traffic after the show headed to La Grande, Cove and North Powder, he said.

This year’s show will again be at the UHS athletic complex. Wiggins said the fireworks committee hopes to add to the number of family events and vendors at the complex.

The money the Union County Board of Commissioners provided for the fireworks show came from its Community Development Fund. Union County has traditionally supported the fireworks show and in 2018 donated $3,045.

Wiggins said he is grateful for the help received from the Union County Board of Commissioners.

“I’m ecstatic about the county’s continued support,” he said.

He said it is fitting because the event benefits all of Union County, not just Union.

In another action item at the meeting, the commissioners voted to award a bid of $56,931 to Western Steel & Supply of La Grande for supplying steel for a county bridge replacement project in the High Valley area. Western Steel & Supply was one of two firms that submitted bids for the project. The other was a company from Colorado.

Also on Wednesday, the county commission discussed a report from the Oregon Department of Agriculture detailing the amount of money Northeast Oregon counties received between Jan. 31, 2018, and Jan. 31, 2019, to compensate ranchers for livestock killed by wolves. In Union County, ranchers received $1,303 from the state for the loss of livestock. Baker County ranchers received $10,634 in compensation for livestock lost to wolves, and Wallowa County ranchers were paid $5,760. All requests for compensation filed by ranchers in Union, Wallowa and Baker counties were granted.

The $1,303 ranchers received in Union County covered the loss of an alpaca and a yearling steer to wolves, said Commissioner Donna Beverage.

See complete story in Friday's Observer