Community Input meeting attracts 50 attendees
By Danielle Frost
Tribal Police Chief Jake McKnight has heard several interesting suggestions during his time in law enforcement.
The annual Community Input meeting was no exception.
“People definitely tell us what they think we are doing right and what we can improve on,” he said. “It’s a good thing.”
McKnight’s department was one of several represented at the event, held in the Tribal gym on Wednesday, June 13. It attracted approximately 50 people in addition to 30 staff members.
McKnight said the most interesting suggestion he’d received that evening had been to put a detox unit at the Tribal Police Station on Grand Ronde Road.
He explained to the person making the suggestion that intoxicated people are not arrested unless they are committing a crime while under the influence.
“This is a good opportunity to get to know the community members and chat one-on-one about what we do,” McKnight said. “It is kind of similar to the ‘Chat With the Chief’ roundtables we have at the station.”
The evening began with an invocation by Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George before a dinner of chicken, pulled pork, vegetables, rice, macaroni salad and cookies.
Tribal Council members Kathleen George, Brenda Tuomi and Michael Langley also attended.
Tribal Emergency Operations Coordinator Steve Warden talked with attendees about one of his favorite topics -- emergency preparedness.
“It’s important to be ready and this gives us a chance to talk about that,” he said. “It’s important to have a two-week supply of everything so that if a major catastrophe happens, you’re ready.”
The event was organized by Planning and Grants Development Manager Kim Rogers, who said the main focus of the evening was to review current projects and programs, take suggestions for improvements, and use input for strategic planning.
“This is an opportunity to collect input from the community on all of our programs,” he said. “Over the years, what we have found works best is to do an open house format with different tables people can visit.”
Departments represented included Tribal Police, Emergency Management, Housing, Education, Recreation, Natural Resources, Geographic Information Systems, Planning and Grants Development, Cultural Resources, Tribal Court, Social Services, Tribal Employment Rights Office, Employment, Food Bank, Behavioral Health and the Health & Wellness Center.
The future of the Tribe’s transportation plan has been a topic of discussion recently and meeting attendees’ suggestions included adding a new route to Dallas, more round trips during the day, creating a new local service loop in Grand Ronde and late night trips.
Tribal Elder Claudia Leno was attending for the first time.
“I was hungry,” she joked.
Leno added that she had seen photos from previous events and decided to see what was going on.
“There are some good things going on here and I wish more people had come,” she said. “My input is that I wish there were more things to do here for kids. That has always been an issue. I’d like to see more youth involved.”