Hermiston Chamber of Commerce Listen to Future of Umatilla Depot - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hermiston Chamber of Commerce Listen to Future of Umatilla Depot

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HERMISTON, Ore. -- More than 100 chamber members listened to what lies ahead for the 17,000 thousand acres of land the Umatilla Chemical Weapons Depot facility is built on.

The US Army, which owns the land, formed a local re-use authority to help with the decision process. The transition manager, Phil Ferguson, says 7,500 acres will be given to the Oregon National Guard, and 5,500 to the Wild Life Refuge. The question remains about the 4,000 acres left over. The Local Re-use Authority's job is to figure out what businesses, if any, could thrive in the area.

"They've hired two different contractors to go out and study the market around here and also look at state planning goals to see if they can actually afford to become, and implement an LRA, and develop the property out around here," said Ferguson.

The project general manager at the UMCDF, Julie Hamrick said so far there have already been 200 layoffs, but about 80 of those people were transferred to other facilities around the country. "We have a program called total workforce planning. We're trying to work with the other sites, to see how many people we can transition to those sites, if possible," said Hamrick.

She says about 200 more people will slowly be phased out this Summer and Fall.