Yesteryears -- Jan. 15, 2018

01.12.2018 Danielle Frost History

2013 – Mark Johnston was named Tribal general manager. Tribal Council Chairman Reyn Leno announced the news in a staff-wide e-mail. Johnston began working for the Tribe in June 2007 as the executive director of Health Services. Previously, he had worked six years with the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians and six years with the Coquille Tribe. “Given Mark’s management style with the clinic, I have a lot of faith in Mark’s abilities and his leadership to get the best out of his people,” Tribal Council member Steve Bobb Sr. said. “That is exactly what we need in today’s climate, everyone at their best. He has my support and I wish him all the best.”

2008 – Tribal attorney Jennifer Biesack was featured in Smoke Signals. The Wisconsin resident began working for the Tribe’s Legal Department a few months before, handling issues involving land, construction and housing. “Jenny is a welcome addition to the Tribal Attorney’s Office,” Tribal Staff Attorney Lisa Bluelake said. “She comes to us with a lot of experience, having previously worked as an in-house attorney for another Tribe. Her experience and personality complement the other attorneys in the office. It is a great fit.”

2003 – The Grand Ronde Tribe’s new residential community was under construction and set to be complete by June. It was funded using federal money provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “There’s always been a great need for family housing in Indian Country,” said Linda Layden, the Tribe’s Housing director. “And it’s been a long time in coming. So, it’s great to be able to meet that need.” The 36-unit project consisted of mostly duplexes ranging in size from one to five bedrooms for families with “moderate incomes,” meaning a resident’s rent would not exceed 30 percent of their income.

1998 – The Tribe and Spirit Mountain Development Corp. announced plans to build a $3.1 million retail and commercial center in Salem at the corner of Fairview Road and Commercial Street. The project was intended to help the Tribe diversify its economic base and gain self-sufficiency for its members. “This project shows our confidence in Salem’s future and by working with Stew Stone, we will produce a high-quality retail center that benefits the entire community,” Tribal Council Chairwoman Kathryn Harrison said. Stone was a Salem real estate agent who worked in commercial development and had completed projects for national chains such as Taco Bell, McDonald’s and Burger King.

1993 – Grand Ronde residents Linda and David Olson were featured as “Entrepreneurs of the Month” for their two businesses, Little Feather Tee’s and Eagle Feather Construction, both of which utilized the Tribe’s Economic Development Department to help further their business ventures. Linda was a Tribal member and past coordinator of the Tribe’s foster care program. She had taken economic development classes in the past, but suggested the Tribe offer small loans to members with a well-planned business idea.

1988 – Enrollment Director Margo George started to enter enrollment records into a computer for more efficient service. She stressed the need for an accurate and current membership roll, as it is the source of documentation used to determine the amount of federal aid allocated to Tribal governments. “It is also the source that determines our Tribal needs for programs,” she said. “I am requested to provide statistics on age groups and residency for the Health, Education, Housing and Social Services programs. If I do not have the correct information to compile, an inaccurate needs assessment could be made.”


Yesteryears is a look back at Tribal history in five-year increments through the pages of Smoke Signals.