Hermiston, Ore. - The Umatilla Chemical Depot is on track to destroy the last of their chemical weapons in November. When that's complete, work will begin to close down the incineration facility.
The future of the depot, and the surrounding area, was the topic of a forum Wednesday night in Hermiston. About 50 people attended, including representatives from the U.S. Army and the depot's Reuse Authority.
The Army says they will close the base once the clean-up is finished. After that, some of the land will be preserved for fish and wildlife habitat. Other portions will be set aside for economic development, including commercial and industrial use.
"I think we're pretty optimistic that it won't be a major economic bust when the incinerator closes. I think we'll be able to weather it. We'll do well, and we'll see some growth out of the whole process," said Umatilla County Commissioner Bill Hansell.
Depot contractors will be holding job fairs in November and February to help their employees find new jobs once their work at the depot is finished.