HERMISTON, OR. - The Oregon Department of Transportation is adding Hermiston to road signs.
The Oregon Department of Transportation is giving the city a visibility boost by adding four signs on Interstate 84 between The Dalles and Hermiston, to show drivers how many miles they have left until they reach the largest city in Eastern Oregon.
"We're thrilled to do this," ODOT spokesman Dave Thompson said.
Thompson says it's unusual for the department to add a city that was not directly on the interstate, but city leaders were persistent in their arguments that Hermiston deserved a place on the signs.
Previously the only warning motorists had that they were approaching Hermiston was two miles away from the turnoff. Now they will have a heads-up at mileposts 111, 125, 138 and 149.
Thompson says the city paid for the new signs and ODOT provided the labor.
The assistant city manager says for years ODOT has justified not having Hermiston on the interstate signs because it is not directly on the freeway. But in light of Hermiston's growth, ODOT says it eventually saw the city as a "valid addition" to its mileage signs.
The effort to give more motorists a chance to plan a stop in Hermiston ties into an overall strategy of promoting the idea that Hermiston is a great place not only to go, but also to grow. That strategy includes Hermiston's new brand, unveiled in August, which is brought to life by a text-only logo that reads "Hermiston: You can GROW here."
Businesses, civic organizations and other groups are encouraged to use the logo along with a library of royalty-free professional photographs showing everything from growing children to growing fruit in Hermiston. The image library and other professional artwork were made available to the public this week.