Tribal Government & News

Tribal Council supports re-opening of Willamette Falls Locks

03.12.2015 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council

By Dean Rhodes

Smoke Signals editor

Tribal Council approved a resolution on Wednesday, March 11, to support the re-opening of Willamette Falls Locks.

The resolution urges the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the rehabilitation of the Willamette Falls Locks and re-opening of the locks to the public and commercial, recreational and marine traffic in a manner that does not harm fish and other aquatic resources.

The resolution also supports the creation of a state task force that would include the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde to work with the Army Corps of Engineers to develop a plan for sustainable operations of the locks.

The resolution also urges Oregon’s congressional delegation to support re-opening the locks and says that rehabilitation of the locks is an integral part of the State and National Heritage Areas at Willamette Falls.

Willamette Falls Locks opened on Jan. 1, 1873, to allow passage around the waterfall at Oregon City. In November 2011, the locks were placed into “non-operational” status and were closed to vessel passage based on an engineering assessment that identified safety concerns. The status has rendered the Willamette River non-navigable above Willamette Falls.

In other action, Tribal Council:

  •        Appointed Kevin Schultz to serve on the Grand Ronde Gaming Commission. The interim appointment will last until June.
  •        Appointed Tribal Council member Chris Mercier to serve as the Tribal representative on the Willamette Partnership Board. Ceded Lands Manager Michael Karnosh was named as the alternate.
  •        Named the General Manager’s Office as the signing authority for Housing Department contracts.
  •        And approved the enrollment of four non-infants and one infant into the Tribe.

Also included in the March 11 Tribal Council packet were authorizations to proceed that changed the canopy being installed on the powwow arbor to a UV shade only and gave permission to the Nutrition Program to establish hen houses at the Community Garden to supply farm fresh eggs to the Elder Meal Site, preschool kitchen, Adult Foster Care and the Tribe’s Farmers Market.

Land and Culture Department employees Reina Nelson, Michael Karnosh, Jan Looking Wolf Reibach, Travis Stewart, Bobby Mercier and Travis Mercier performed the cultural drumming and singing to open the meeting.

The meeting, in its entirety, can be viewed on the Tribal website,, under the News tab and then click on the Video link.