Union has maintained its rural charm and friendly atmosphere. With a population of just over 2100 this town has clean air and fabulous water and is a highly desirable place to live, play, retire and visit. Open space, appealing Victorian style homes, buildings and tree-lined streets preserves its historic authenticity.
Union has many great amenities including Buffalo Peak Golf Course, Eastern Oregon Live Stockshow, Union County Museum, Union Historic Cemetery, Union Historic Hotel, Historic Carnegie Library, too many to list.
Union offers a unique character and quality of life. Strategically placed between La Grande
and North Powder on Highway 203 and 237, Union has much to offer. With the Federal
Highway (Interstate 84) 11 miles northwest of Union, access to and from the community is
efficient and diverse. Union has infrastructure to allow growth without disturbing the beauty
of the landscape.
In 1862, Conrad Miller planted apple and pear trees and began one of the first nurseries in the Grande Ronde Valley. Other settlers soon followed and a town was established in 1878. Victorian homes and charming brick buildings lined Main Street through what is now known as the town’s National Historic District. Traditionally a lumber and agriculture town, Union has broadened its interests to include serving visitors. A few more of Union’s amenities are; a health clinic, gift shops, pharmacy, Post Office, City Park with gazebo, proximity to camping, hiking and hunting, Historic Hotel, Catherine Creek, community/school athletic facility with several fields geared to tournament size activities, and an amazing school district.
We encourage you to browse our site and if you have any questions please feel free to
contact City Hall.
Wastewater Treatment Facility – Required Upgrades
Currently the City is facing the need to make major improvements to the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and disposal system in order to comply with future, more stringent, Catherine Creek water quality standards. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) sets water quality standards to project beneficial uses. The State standards must be approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Establishment of water quality standards for a stream or river is a complex process that evolves over time as aquatic impacts from pollutants become better understood. At this time, the two (2) water quality standards that are driving the need to upgrade the wastewater treatment system are temperature and ammonia. These water quality parameters will be measured at the end of the pipe as the treated effluent discharges to the creek. With the present WWTP design and configuration, the City would not be able to meet proposed treated effluent discharge limits (quality) for creek discharge.
The City Council has determined that the best course of action for the community is to stop discharging to Catherine Creek altogether. Water quality standards for Catherine Creek are expected to become even more stringent in the future which could trigger additional WWTP improvements should the City continue to discharge to the stream. The improvement alternative that was selected by the Council was to discontinue discharge to Catherine Creek by continuing the present plant operation, constructing storage lagoons, maintain the golf course irrigation, and secure additional cropland to irrigate with the remaining treated wastewater effluent not used at Buffalo Peak.
An invitation to apply for funding for the project through the Business Oregon Infrastructure Finance Authority (IFA) has been received by the City. Of all the funding options available, the City Council selected this option as being in the best long term interest of the citizens. A town hall meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Leonard Almquist Council Chambers, Union City Hall on September 22nd, 2015 to explain the project need, the project, and potential cost impacts.
Published January 2015 Newsletter
Dear Union Resident,
The City of Union ended 2013-2014 in a healthy financial position, according to the financial audit, which was presented to council November 10th. Lewis, Poe, Moeller, Gunderson & Roberts LLC Certified Public Auditors informed council during a regular city council meeting the city finished in line with the budget as planned. They continued to report city staff and Council did a great job at internal controls and they had no difficulties working with management while working on the audit. Council was satisfied with the report and the city’s ability to manage the budget. Citizens can review the audit and the auditor’s findings on the city website or pick up a copy at city hall.
In view of the city moving into the 2014-2015 fiscal year, as budget officer I will closely monitor revenues and expenditures in all departments. Ballot measures passed in 2006 restricting water and sewer revenues to those departments is taken very serious. Unlike other communities and in Union prior to 2006 those funds were shared among other funds to support services. Good, bad or indifferent, management struggles to fund services outside of water and sewer fund. Growing cost of materials and services is out pacing the growth of dollars we have in our bank accounts. The departments hardest hit are parks, library, police and streets. Without the emergency service fee of $10.00 per home, this department would also be included in the list.
Over the years drastic cuts have been made in the following areas to alleviate the burden; transfer station which was closed, Union’s police department has been shut down and we now contract, library services were cut in half and now partly funded with a bond and city hall cut a full time position. This comes to about $180,000 in savings. Each year the budget committee is faced with the same revenues and a growing need for maintenance and service.
I encourage you to get involved in the upcoming 2015-2016 budget process. These are your dollars and this is your opportunity to have a say. Currently the budget committee has one opening on the board. The budget committee is made up of the city council and one citizen for each of the council and mayor with a total of 14 members. All meetings are open to the public, stay tuned for further meeting notice.
Did you know the City of Union is a leader among municipalities when it comes to utility management? The 2006 ballot measures which assured water and sewer revenues stay in those funds has placed Union in the eye of envy of other communities for our good faith effort to maintain our aging system. To top it off both the water and sewer departments have facility plans which will guide the city to 2020. As you know the city has a built-in automatic 2.5% increase in the rates each year, which most cities struggle to implement. While it is important to realize fee increases are not popular, regardless they are essential to assure that our most important assets are taken care of. When the lavatory flushes, we’re all happy.
Looking forward, several projects are scheduled for 2015. Union’s water tank will get a face-lift, several blocks of street will be chip sealed, several blocks of waterline and customer service lines will be replaced, there are a couple unknown sewer projects planned, several grants will be written and turned in, EMS will be recruiting and training volunteers and the library will be hard at work with the reading program.
That said, the city has numerous wheels turning which takes various folks with creative minds to keep those wheels going in the right direction. Don’t hesitate to volunteer, it’s our responsibility.
Sandra Patterson, City Administrator
Antelope Ridge Wind Power Project LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Horizon Wind Energy LLC, is proposing to construct and operate the Antelope Ridge Wind Power project (Project). The Project would involve erecting up to 164 wind turbines, varying in height from 328-475 feet each, on 11,000 acres of land in Union County in the vicinity of the City of Union (City), with the potential to generate up to 300 megawatts of electricity. The city had investigated the potential for the Project to impact the City’s costs of providing public services, and its property tax revenue. In general, we found that other communities near similar wind projects have so far experienced minimal impacts related to the projects. Still, the Project-related burden on the City’s voluntary and understaffed fire and emergency resources could be noticeable relative to its existing needs and responsibilities. Also, while data from other communities do not show that nearby wind projects have so far resulted in substantial reductions in property values, other evidence suggest that there is potential for the City’s property tax revenues to decrease due to the Project. This is formaiton is summarize in a report by ECONORTHWEST, click here.
For ARWF most resent update, click here.
Letter from Antelope Wind Farm September 2013, click here.
The City of Union has launched a new Facebook page as part of its ongoing effort to enhance communications and transparency in the community. City Council last February during their goal setting session recognized this particular form of media as being important to local citizens.
Council knows the value of this popular tool in the digital age and feel the city’s new Facebook page constitutes a real step forward towards reaching out and engaging the community outside of the other methods already used.
In addition to posting news and announcements and that ever so often emergency, each city department can now also regularly contribute content to the city of Union’s Facebook page as an additional communications tool. Facebook users will be able to read, like, share and comment on city posts.
The city hopes to make this a fun, informative, interactive site to help communicate and celebrate Union’s events, activities, meetings and achievements. With so many of us relying on social media to stay informed, we’re excited to offer this additional communication platform to the community.
The new report entitled, Evaluation of Public Service Provisions Costs Impacts ofAntelope Ridge Wind Power Project on the City of Union, defines several public service concerns. The report demonstrates a likelihood of impact to the City of Union as a result of the proposed wind farm project. Report prepared by “ECONorthwest” was responsible to insure citizens of Union that any and all concerns would be address in the report regarding public service impacts. It is the cityâ€™s position to protect Union citizens and...read more
Union was platted on November 11, 1864 along the Oregon Trail. The name references the Union states, or Northern States, of the American Civil War. La Grande was named the county seat when Union County was created in 1865. Due to the Thomas and Ruckle Road going through Union, it elected the county seat in 1872, but when the railroad was built it was put through La Grande instead of Union. La Grande became the bigger town within the county and regained the county seat in 1902. J. W. Shelton, a local attorney,...read more