Tribal Government & News

Statement from the Chair (1)

08.13.2015 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council

Tribal members:

I’d like to take a moment to update you on some of the initiatives and projects here in Grand Ronde. After wrapping up the Veterans Summit, our annual Marcellus Norwest Memorial Veterans Powwow and the dedication of our new arbor, we’re gearing up for 2016 and have a number of things to report back to the membership.

Third annual Veterans Summit and

Marcellus Norwest Memorial Veterans Powwow

This year’s Veterans Summit and Marcellus Norwest Memorial Veterans Powwow were a big success. I’d like to thank the Native Wellness Institute for once again working with the Tribe to provide resources, benefits coordination, health care and opportunities for healing and networking for our veterans. For the last three years, the summit has provided a venue and platform for the Native Wellness Institute and the Tribe to bring awareness to veteran’s issues and have conversations with federal and state agencies on ways to address some of the issues affecting veterans and their families.

Over the weekend, many veterans and their families joined us for the annual Marcellus Norwest Memorial Veterans Powwow. The Tribe’s new powwow arbor provided guests with ADA accessibility, great views of the arena and a fair amount of relief from the sun and other elements. As the annual Contest Powwow draws near, we hope to have our announcer’s stand and soundstage built to improve mobility and accessibility.

CY2016 Tribal Operating Budget

Last month, department managers and supervisors began preparing their budgets for the upcoming calendar year. As with years past, Tribal Council has been meeting with staff to discuss upcoming Tribal Council budget priorities and initiatives. This year, the deadline for managers and supervisors to submit their preliminary budgets to Finance was Wednesday, Aug. 12. As we move through the budgeting process, Tribal Council will continue to pay close attention to the bottom line and will begin to cut back where necessary. I’d like to encourage you to submit your thoughts regarding next year’s budget. The feedback you provide is valuable and helps us focus on the things that matter most to our Tribal members. 

Spirit Mountain Casino Capital Improvement Projects

This year, a number of renovations took place at Spirit Mountain Casino in anticipation for our 20-year anniversary. The projects included many things, such as a parking lot overlay, kitchen repairs, new slot machines and chairs, and exterior painting. Casino staff did an outstanding job keeping the projects on time and within budget. As we get into the CY2016 budget, Tribal Council and casino staff will begin looking at any additional projects that need to be completed in 2016.

Employment Services building

On July 23, the Tribal Employment Rights Office moved into the new Employment Services building and began serving Tribal members and other Natives, offering a variety of services from career development to construction training. Since then, the 477 Program, Vocational Rehabilitation Program, and the Human Resources departments from both Spirit Mountain Casino and the Tribe have moved into the building and have set up shop to provide employment services to Tribal members, other Natives, veterans and job-seekers within our community. The new building is a “one-stop shop” for Tribal members and community members seeking employment, employment training services and career development. The new building features two training/classrooms and provides job-seekers with work stations so they can submit their applications online. With these departments working together, we will be able to better meet the needs of our members and our community.

Elder Honor Day

This year’s Elder Honor Day was a huge success and was attended by more than 500 Elders and their guests from around Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. I’d like to thank our Elders Committee for working so hard on the event and working with all of the departments and employees who helped make it such a success. The staff at Spirit Mountain Casino helped us pull off a flawless event and I’d like to thank them for all their time and preparation. Here at the Tribe, Tribal departments put together giveaway baskets for the raffle and Natural Resources donated smoked salmon for the event. The event was well-received and the Elders did a tremendous job working up to and during the event. I look forward to next year.

Additional Hunting Tags on Our Reservation

On Sept. 5, 2014, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the Tribe’s Fish and Wildlife Management Plan. As part of that plan, the state delegated authority to the Tribe to manage wildlife and species on the Grand Ronde Reservation. An administrative rule was developed as part of the process and provided the Tribe with additional tags for the Grand Ronde Reservation. Tags can be applied for through our Natural Resources Department. The tags are non-transferable and additional tags will be evaluated on an annual basis.

Fire Protection on Our Tribal Timber Lands

This summer has been hot and dry, and as a result Tribal Council and staff have been meeting on a regular basis to assess the fire danger on the Grand Ronde Reservation and on our timber lands. Over Fourth of July weekend, the Tribe decided to close the Tribal timber lands to protect our natural resources. Our timber is a multi-million dollar asset and the Tribe and Tribal Council have an obligation to protect all of our assets. Protecting the Grand Ronde Reservation and our natural resources is one of the highest priorities for us in Grand Ronde. As we move through the dry weather, staff will continue to meet and we will be sure to keep the membership informed of our decisions.  

I’d like to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to update you on a few of the things your Tribal Council is working on. As always, it is a privilege to serve you and I look forward to providing you updates as we move through the CY2016 budgeting process. We have a lot to be proud of here in Grand Ronde and I look forward to working with each and every one of you as we work to protect our assets and secure benefits for future generations.


Reynold L. Leno

Tribal Council Chairman