Tribal Government & News

General Council briefed on investment portfolio, 2020 projections

10.11.2019 Danielle Frost General Council, Events
Robert W. Baird & Co. Director Joseph Hoon discusses the Tribe’s financial investment performance during the General Council meeting held on Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Tribal Community Center. (Photo by Danielle Frost/Smoke Signals)

By Danielle Frost

Smoke Signals staff writer

A representative from Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. briefed the general membership on the Grand Ronde Tribe’s burgeoning investment portfolio during the General Council meeting held Sunday, Oct. 6, in the Tribal Community Center.

The 20-minute session with Director Joe Hoon was held in open session instead of executive session with all in attendance permitted to hear the details.

“We had a phenomenal third quarter,” Hoon said. “Our global portfolio is up to $753 million. Even though we have downturns in the market, a fully diversified portfolio has worked very well.”

Hoon said that two key factors -- whether the country is headed toward a recession and if President Donald Trump will be impeached – will likely influence how 2020 looks regarding the economy.

“I’m going to try to give you some insight to how things stand today by looking at the market and other key aspects of the economy to answer those questions,” he said.

Hoon said that there are concerns over recent dips in the manufacturing sector, but manufacturing only makes up 10 percent of the economy. Seventy percent of the U.S. economy is consumer-driven, and with the Federal Reserve indicating that there is at least one interest rate cut coming before the end of the year, it should have a positive effect.  

“When the Fed lowers rates, it stimulates growth,” Hoon said. “We are a consumer-driven economy.”

At the moment, Baird consultants believe that there will not be a recession in 2020, but that warning signs are starting to become more prominent.

“The expectation is with the impending impeachment, it is adding a degree of uncertainty,” Hoon said. “It will probably add a lot of choppiness as the year unfolds. … Watch the consumer sentiment, which is key.”

Finance Officer Chris Leno fielded one question from the audience after the presentation. He also noted how the Tribe’s investment funds have increased over the years.

“I remember two years ago, the Tribe’s portfolio was $695,000 or so,” he said. “I think sometimes we forget how blessed we are to have the resources that we do. I want to thank the original Tribal Council members for their wisdom. I am looking forward to the day when we are above $1 billion.”

By ordinance, the Tribe annually diverts 10 percent of the funds transferred from Spirit Mountain Casino into investment accounts that help fund health care, government operations, cultural and educational programs and Elders benefits.

After the portfolio presentation, everyone in attendance sang “Happy Birthday” to former Tribal Council Chair Reyn Leno, who turned 69. Leno also addressed General Council regarding his concerns about the lack of state statistics on suicide by veterans. Leno serves as vice chair of the Oregon Veterans’ Affairs Advisory Committee.

“The problem is that these deaths are not getting reported as a veteran who (died by suicide),” he said. “It’s hard to get money to help with this without the numbers. I am hoping we can create some kind of form to submit to the state about veteran suicides.”

In other action, it was announced that the next General Council meeting will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, in the Tribal gym and will provide an overview of the proposed 2020 Tribal budget.

Joanna Brisbois, Maxine Clements and Dan Stroebel won the $100 door prizes. Stroebel donated his winnings to the Veterans Special Event Board. Tracie Meyer, Nina Portwood Shields, Ed Larsen, Nancy Norton and Kamiah Koch won the $50 door prizes.

Reyn Leno and Dorothy Leno won beaded necklaces and Linda LaChance, Louise Coulson and Debi Anderson won insulated fish/clamming bags that were donated by Tribal Elder Victor Lomboy.

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