Tribe takes possession of former Grand Ronde Middle School site

08.31.2011 Ron Karten History

The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde became official owners of the eight-acre Grand Ronde Middle School property on Monday, Aug. 15, Tribal member and Tribal Lands Manager Jan Reibach announced in a Tribal-wide e-mail.

The Tribe agreed to buy the land and 27,443-foot facility for $675,000 from the cash-strapped Willamina School District in May. The district has since consolidated its elementary, middle and high schools at its Oaken Hill campus in Willamina.

The deed was recorded and final steps in escrow completed on Aug. 15, Reibach said.

The property was part of the Tribe's original reservation given to it in President Franklin Pierce's 1857 Presidential Order in exchange for ceded lands that included most of western Oregon.

The property is zoned Grand Ronde Public Assembly by Polk County, which allows for a wide variety of uses.

Reibach thanked Tribal colleagues for helping with the purchase, including staff members in the Executive Office, Tribal Council, Legal, Facilities, Lands Management, Education, Culture and Natural Resources.

"Certainly this property poses many possible benefits for the Tribe," Reibach said. "The Executive Office is facilitating a process to evaluate the property for potential use(s) and shall be reviewing options with Tribal Council in the coming months."

The Tribe's Facilities personnel picked up the keys to the building on Aug. 15 and started management of the building and property, Reibach said.

The Tribe has had a long association with the property. Before Tribal facilities were constructed, many powwows, General Council meetings and other events were held at the middle school following 1983's Restoration.