SALEM – State Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner) says he’s working hard with Rep. Bobby Levy (R-Echo) and Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Athena) to keep funding intact for Blue Mountain Community College’s FARM II project. He said the project could run into some problems.
“We do have to have a little bit of a reality check,” Smith said. “Their enrollment is half of what it was five years ago. You know, they’re in the process of making some really hard decisions.”
The college is currently working to improve enrollment numbers and rework its programs to be more student centered. FARM II is the result of a partnership with the college, the city of Pendleton, Umatilla County, and the Pendleton Round-Up. The facility would include agriculture classroom space as well as an indoor rodeo arena west of the Pendleton Convention Center. Smith said the college needs help to achieve its goal.
“It’s going to be really incumbent upon the city of Pendleton to collaborate with the community college to make that work,” he said. “We’re supporting it but, boy, it’s going to take all hands on deck.”
Originally, BMCC was to receive the funding in the current fiscal year. However, the pandemic caused a shortage in the availability of lottery funds earmarked for FARM II were not available and the funding was delayed for the coming biennium.