Tribal Government & News
Community Development draft plan shared with Tribal members
By Danielle Harrison
Smoke Signals staff writer
Interest remains high for people who want to give their input on the future of Grand Ronde with almost 40 Tribal members attending a Community Development Plan virtual meeting on Monday, May 24.
The Tribe launched the Shawash-ili?i 2033 – nsayka KHapa aLqi (Grand Ronde 2033 – Our Future) effort in May 2018, to help guide the decisions and setting of priorities for the Tribe as the 50-year mark of Restoration approaches.
The Zoom event was led by Self-Governance and Tribal Lands Department Manager Jan Reibach, Realty Specialist Amanda Wilson, Realty Coordinator Teresa Brocksen and Cascadia Consulting Partnership Managing Partner Rich Foster, who was hired by the Tribe to help develop the plan. Tribal Council member Lisa Leno was also in attendance.
“We’ve been working on this plan for a long time and my hands are up to everyone,” Leno said. “We want (the plan) to be a reflection of who we are as a people. I wanted to take a moment and thank everyone for joining us for this important conversation.”
In April 2018, the Community Development Plan kickoff event was held in the Tribal gym, followed by more meetings in 2019 and early 2020.
Subjects discussed in pre-pandemic listening sessions were Housing, Public Safety, Needed Services and Recreation, Facilities and Gathering Spaces, Health Care, Social Services, Education, Employment and Vocational Training, as well as the past and future of Grand Ronde. In-person gatherings were shelved due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but work continued on the plan. The most recent meeting was the culmination of those efforts, three years in the making.
“We’re excited to share some of the details and summary of (this) Community Development Plan,” Reibach said. “This has been a huge project for the Tribe. … It represents an intensive three-year process that builds on 35 years of strategy and success that we have undertaken since Restoration. Moving toward this plan is representative of our Tribe’s successes … really rising from the ashes after Termination, really rising up for our people to continue to build a strong community.”
In an e-mail to Tribal employees to get the word out, Reibach noted that, “As part of this process, we have held numerous community meetings and listening sessions. As we move toward the final planning stage, we want to make sure your voice is heard, and your vision and values are reflected in the plan.”
The plan includes the input of more than 40 Tribal staff members, 600 responses to past surveys and ideas generated from 275 attendees at community meetings.
The Tribe’s last Community Development Plan was conducted in 2010. In late 2017, Tribal Council asked that a new plan be scoped, budgeted and planned, and that an outside consultant be recruited to assist.
Former Planning Director Rick George was tasked with the project. Reibach was recruited as his replacement before George’s retirement in March 2020.
“This is a two-part process,” George said shortly after the project launch. “We are updating our strategic plan and at the same time starting a much more intensive community development planning process. That plan will be focused right here, on your Reservation.”
The plan was expected to be complete by late 2020, but after the pandemic hit, it will now be unveiled in the fall, celebrated at the Tribe’s 38th Restoration Celebration in November and fully launched in January 2022.
The purpose of it is to set priorities, identify objectives and drive decisions to help steer the Tribe’s vision of recovering the historic Grand Ronde Reservation lands, stimulating the growth of the community, increasing prosperity, and improving education, employment and community health outcomes for Tribal members.
Tribal Council directed the planning process to utilize the “four communities” approach to showcase the uniqueness of the Grand Ronde Tribe and the Reservation. These four communities are the seat of government, a place to live, a place to connect and a regional economic engine.
These were further developed into various topic areas of population growth drivers/response, community vitality and livability, community sustainability and community infrastructure. Each of these topic areas includes three to five specific focus areas.
“The four communities approach was one way we sought to affirm the uniqueness of the Grand Ronde community,” Foster said. “We also chose to focus on topic areas instead of governmental departments. … These are constructs that are subject to change over time. We wanted to make sure we reflect the interconnectedness of the community development actions, and develop a plan that inspires collaboration.”
The presentation ended with draft initiatives within the four communities.
“This represents the Tribe’s journey,” Reibach said. “It represents what we have learned from all of our beautiful growth and our successes, the things we know now, and the things we could probably have done better. Our plan results in these initiatives that represent years of work. …It is no longer an idea, it’s a big encompassing document with hundreds of hours of work. …The goal is that this won’t be just a document that sits on a shelf. This is your document to grow our community and grow as many initiatives as possible. These initiatives will be explored and vetted, receive proper attention and due diligence, so the needs and vision of the community are met by the Tribe.”
Afterward, Reibach and Foster fielded more than two dozen audience questions and comments.
Drawings also were held with $25 going to Alex Drake, $50 to Kelsi Haller and Melissa Palanuk-Mercier, and $100 to Anthony Quenelle.