Tribal Government & News

Tribal Council OKs budget to purchase property adjacent to Blue Heron site

12.02.2020 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council
The Grand Ronde Tribe is in the final stages of closing on the property at 450 Main St. in Oregon City. The almost half-acre lot is adjacent to the former Blue Heron property the Tribe purchased in August 2019. (Photo by Timothy J. Gonzalez/Smoke Signals)


By Dean Rhodes

Smoke Signals editor

Tribal Council approved a fifth supplemental budget for 2020 during its Wednesday, Dec. 2, meeting that will allocate $1.235 million to purchase an approximately half-acre plot adjacent to the Blue Heron property in Oregon City.

The property, located at 450 Main Street, is at the entrance to the former Blue Heron Paper Mill property and has an office building on the site.

The Tribe purchased the 23-acre former Blue Heron Paper Mill site in Oregon City for $15.25 million in August 2019. The property was on the market and the Tribe’s purchase will ensure that it controls the site’s future use so that it is complementary to Blue Heron’s development.

“The historical and cultural significance of the area surrounding the Blue Heron site cannot be overstated,” said Tribal Council Chief of Staff Stacia Hernandez. “By purchasing this property we are expanding our land base of culturally significant lands within our homelands as well as continuity with the Tribe’s vision.”

Tribal Finance Officer Chris Leno said during the Tuesday, Dec. 1, Legislative Action Committee meeting that the supplemental budget notice did not receive any comments from the Tribal membership.

The budget was approved in a 6-1 vote with Tribal Council member Jack Giffen Jr. dissenting.

Tribal Council approved the purchase of the Main Street property during its Oct. 28 meeting.

The property will join the Blue Heron site, the former Multnomah Greyhound Park in Wood Village, the office building on Barbur Boulevard and the home of a future medication-assisted treatment clinic on Southeast 82nd Avenue as properties the Grand Ronde Tribe owns in the three-county Portland metropolitan area.

The first four supplemental budgets approved in 2020 all had to do with the COVID-19 Relief Fund and making CARES Act monies available to help Tribal members adversely affected by the nationwide pandemic and the suspension of per capita payments in June and September.

Tribal Council also continued adding Tribal member names to the Restoration Roll. The 24 names added brings this year’s total to 127. In 2019, Tribal Council added 204 names to the historically important roll.

The Restoration Roll was the first roll compiled of Grand Ronde Tribal members after Nov. 22, 1983. However, because the membership had become so dispersed during the 29 years after 1954’s Termination, all those who should have been included could not be identified at the time or were unaware that they should have had their names on the roll.

The current process, which requires Tribal members apply for addition to the Restoration Roll, allows a Tribal member who was living on Aug. 13, 1954 – date of congressional approval of the Western Oregon Indian Termination Act -- and born to a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde to be added.

In November 2018, Tribal Council approved a resolution that established criteria for consistently applying the phrase “entitled to be on the membership roll of the Tribe on Aug. 13, 1954” as meaning that the person was entitled to be on the roll if that person was alive on that date and born to a Tribal member.

The 24 names now move forward to the Department of the Interior for approval.

In other action, Tribal Council:

  • Approved applying to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a $3.5 million Indian Housing Block Grant that would fund design and construction of 20 low-income housing units in five fourplexes. If received, the Tribe would have up to five years to design and build the housing units;
  • Approved increasing the maximum amount of the uyxat Powwow Grounds arbor expansion project contract with Scholten Construction of Willamina originally approved on Nov. 18 from $1.82 million to $1.95 million to account for building materials that were not included in the original estimate;
  • And approved a consent and recognition agreement between the Tribe, the Siletz Tribe and 7-Eleven Corp. of Irving, Texas, regarding the convenience store being constructed at Chemawa Station in Keizer.

To watch the entire meeting, visit the Tribal government’s website at and click on the Government tab and then Videos.