Tribal Government & News
General Council briefed on increasing Tribal land holdings
By Dean Rhodes
Smoke Signals editor
The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde increased its land holdings by almost 120 acres in 2020, said Tribal Lands Manager Jan Michael Reibach during the Sunday, March 7, General Council meeting.
A vast majority of the new acreage occurred when the Tribe purchased the 115.74-acre South Yamhill 2 property southwest of Spirit Mountain Casino last year, Reibach said.
Other properties purchased in 2020 included two sites for medication-assisted treatment centers in Portland and Salem, a half-acre adjacent to the Blue Heron property in Oregon City and the almost three-acre Larsen property in Grand Ronde.
At the close of 2020, the Tribe owned 15,979 acres with 11,540 acres that are in Reservation status with the federal government. Tribal properties stretch from Kilchis Point on the coast near Bay City to the former Multnomah Greyhound Park in the northeast Portland suburb of Wood Village to the Rattlesnake Butte conservation property north of Junction City in Lane County.
“These are lands that are owned by all of us,” Reibach said. “As we look at our local lands, we are really trying to restore the Tribe’s land base with useful properties, properties that have a purpose whether it’s forestland or more of a community land for future use or even for open space.”
Reibach’s annual presentation occurred using the Zoom teleconference program and lasted approximately 20 minutes. Tribal Council Chief of Staff Stacia Hernandez said more than 50 people were logged in at the meeting’s beginning.
Reibach said his small staff of four people handle a variety of issues for the Tribe, including ongoing cleanup of the Portland Harbor superfund site, realty and land acquisitions, self-governance with the Department of the Interior and special projects.
For instance, he said that the Tribe recently negotiated a contract with Verizon Wireless that will allow it to use the cell tower north of Spirit Mountain Casino, which should “dramatically” enhance cell phone coverage in the area by the end of April.
The Tribe also earns more than $50,000 annually from hay licenses that the Lands Department negotiates on what would be otherwise idle Tribal properties in the Grand Ronde area and receives revenue from the Cherry City property in Salem and Portland area office on Barbur Boulevard.
Reibach added that his department has been charged with developing an updated Community Development Plan that will guide the Tribe through 2033 – the 50th anniversary of Restoration. The plan will be completed by November’s Restoration celebration, he added.
“When you think of Tribal lands, it’s not just one department and it’s not just one person or a small group of people that takes care of it,” Reibach said. “It really is everyone. We all work together.”
After his presentation, Reibach fielded five questions from attendees.
In closing, Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy praised Reibach for being a good negotiator who has saved the Tribe money on purchasing many of the properties included in his report.
In other action, Hernandez announced that the second Community Input meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 18, via Zoom. The annual meetings solicit input from the Tribal membership regarding possible advisory vote topics to be placed on the September Tribal Council ballot.
The next General Council meeting will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 11, via Zoom as well. The meeting will be held on the second Sunday of the month because of the Easter holiday and feature a Housing Department report.
Door prize winners were Judy Williams, Shannon Stanton and Adrainne Llaneza, $100 each; and Veronica Gaston, Charlene Westley, David Leno, Herbert Stephens and Linda Olson, $50 each. Gaston announced that she has used her recent General Council winnings to maintain the Saige Selwyn Memorial on Grand Ronde Road.
To watch a video of the entire meeting, go to the Tribal government’s website at www.grandronde.org and click on the Government tab and then Videos.