Tribal Government & News

Polk County does not object to Tribal land request

05.12.2011 Ron Karten Federal government, Natural resources

The three-member Polk County Board of Commissioners voted April 19 not to object to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde's proposal to take two lots totaling about 142 acres into its Trust Lands.

Polk County Assessor Doug Schmidt said the loss to the county would be minimal -- less than $400 a year for all taxing districts affected.

Tribal member and Tribal Lands Manager Jan Reibach said one parcel is about five acres, located near Tribal headquarters and adjacent to land that is already part of the reservation. He said the parcel, which is currently used to grow hay, will be used for a drain field system serving Tribal housing.

The larger tract is about 137 acres south of Spirit Mountain Casino. It is mountainous forestland located south of the Yamhill River and also adjacent to reservation land.

Reibach said the tract, called the South Yamhill Property, is currently managed as forestland and putting it in trust is part of an ongoing effort to regain lands lost during Termination.

"The Tribe is acquiring this property to support consolidation of its land base and self-determination objectives," said a Department of Interior letter to the Polk County Board of Commissioners seeking comment on the acquisition. "There is currently no development planned for this property."

"Over the years, the Tribe has established an excellent relationship with both Polk and Yamhill counties," Reibach said. "Their staff is top notch and I appreciate their professionalism."

The Bureau of Indian Affairs' Northwest Regional Office will make the final decision on incorporating the properties into Tribal trust lands.