Tribal Government & News

Tribal Council appoints former staff writer to Editorial Board

09.05.2018 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council

Tribal Council appointed Dayton-area resident Ron Karten, a Smoke Signals staff writer from 2002 through 2015, to the Editorial Board during its Wednesday, Sept. 5, meeting.

Karten will replace Cultural Resources Department Manager David Harrelson, who resigned from the board in May after serving a year. His term will run through March 2020.

The five-member Editorial Board oversees the operations of Smoke Signals, the Tribe’s independent newspaper since January 2017. Karten joins former Public Affairs Director Siobhan Taylor and Tribal members Mia Prickett, Monty Herron and Andrew Jenness on the board.

The Tribe’s Independent Tribal Press Ordinance approved in December 2016 requires a majority of the Editorial Board be comprised of Tribal members.

Before joining the Smoke Signals staff in 2002, Karten was a longtime freelance writer and worked at the Oregon Legislature for former state Sen. John Lim. He retired in early 2015 after working for the Tribe for almost 13 years.

In other action, Tribal Council:

  • Approved applying for a $10,600 Community Services Block Grant from the Administration for Children and Families that would support the Social Services Department’s Gathering of Grand Ronde Tilixam event.

  • Approved applying for a $250,000 Tribal Transit Discretionary Grant from the Federal Transit Administration. If received, the grant would improve local service to Dallas with the addition of two smaller buses/vans, as well as the addition of bus stops and signage.

  • Appointed Drew Mahalic to the Spirit Mountain Gaming Inc. Board of Directors for a term that runs through June 2021. Mahalic is the former chief executive officer of the Oregon Sports Authority.

Also included in the Sept. 5 Tribal Council packet were approved authorizations to proceed that:

  • Recommended Tribal Council member Jack Giffen Jr. serve as the North Willamette Territory representative for the Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program Advisory Committee;

  • Changed the land use designation for the AGZ property at the southwest corner of Grand Ronde and Hebo roads from agricultural/cultural to housing/residential;

  • Changed the Enrollment Board back to a Tribal committee and changed the board from a monthly stipend to an hourly rate like all other Tribal committees and special event boards;

  • And set the per capita payment to be distributed on Sept. 14 at $1,000.

Harrelson gave the cultural presentation to open the meeting and discussed the change of season from summer to fall, as well as cultural events coming up in September and October.

Harrelson mentioned the canoe races hosted by the Coquille Tribe, the Tribal encampment being held at TouVelle State Park near Table Rocks the weekend of Sept. 21-23 and the Champoeg Celebration being held Saturday, Oct. 13, at Champoeg State Park.

The entire meeting can be viewed by visiting the Tribal website at, clicking on the News tab and then Videos.