FS (Forest Service) Ready for Move

April 2012, CUJ

PENDLETON – The U.S. Forest Service expects to move about 65 employees into a new home on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in mid-May.

Construction of the 15,400 square foot facility is expected to be primarily completed by the end of April. McCormack Construction is building the Umatilla National Forest headquarters in Coyote Business Park. The Confederated Tribes are the owners of the building and are leasing it to the Forest Service.

“It is wonderful. It’ll blow the socks off you, that’s how nice it is,” said David Hatfield, a staff officer for the Umatilla National Forest, which had been headquartered for more than 40 years in a building off Southgate on the hilltop above Burger King. A blessing ceremony and ribbon cutting at the site are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on April 30 – one day before the lease begins on the building for the Forest Service.

Over the first two weeks, the Forest Service plans to move modular furniture, which has to be assembled, into the new building with the actual employee move May 18-20.

“Our last day of operations in town will be May 17 (lease ends May 31) and we hope to be operating in the new building on May 21,” Hatfield said.

In addition to basic furniture, the move will require the routine hardware mostly taken for granted – computers, telephones and a high-density file holding system.

“It will take a good several weeks to work out the kinks,” Hatfield said. The CTUIR negotiated for more than a year with the Forest Service, after its lease was raised at the former facility. The Forest Service conducted a competitive process through the Regional Leasing Office in Portland to solicit proposals for the new building.

The current building owner did not submit a proposal. The City of Pendleton and the Tribes each submitted proposals but Coyote Business Park was chosen because it is “shovel ready” for tenants.

Hatfield praised the work of the Tribal staff, including Bill Tovey and Stephanie Seamans from the Department of Economic and Community Development, plus McCormack Construction, Scott Edwards Architecture from Portland, and Dave Fischel, the CTUIR contract representative at the construction site. “They all did a wonderful job,” Hatfield said. “It’s a very pretty building.”

The Umatilla National Forest in Northeast Oregon and Southeast Washington is administered from the Forest Supervisor’s Office in Pendleton and four Ranger Districts – Walla Walla, Pomeroy, North Fork John Day and Heppner. The Forest Supervisor, assisted by a professional and technical staff, is responsible for all activities affecting the 1.4 million National Forest acres. District rangers and their staffs accomplish on-the-ground management of forest resources.

The National Forest system is administered by the USDA Forest Service. The Umatilla National Forest is within the Pacific Northwest Region, which includes 19 National Forests in Washington and Oregon. Headquarters for the Pacific

This story originally appeared in the CUJ. The Confederated Umatilla Journal is the monthly newspaper of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Oregon.