Tribal Government & News

Longtime Tribal employee Kim Rogers walks on

11.16.2021 Dean Rhodes Tribal employees
Planning & Grants Development Manager Kim Rogers, who worked for the Grand Ronde Tribe for almost 21 years, walked on Monday, Nov. 15. (Smoke Signals file photo)


By Dean Rhodes

Smoke Signals editor

Longtime Tribal Planning & Grants Development Manager Kim Ray Rogers, who is credited with bringing the Tribe millions of dollars in grants to fund Tribal services during his more than 20 years of employment, passed away on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, in Salem, Ore.

“This is a terrible loss for the Tribe,” Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy said during the Tuesday, Nov. 16, Legislative Action Committee hearing.

Kennedy said Rogers was worth more than his weight in gold for all of the grants he was able to obtain for the Tribe.

“He will be sorely missed,” she said.

Tribal Council Vice Chair Chris Mercier said Rogers had a “profound impact” on the Tribe through his tireless work in obtaining grants to fund Tribal services for the membership. He added that he would often see Rogers’ car still in the Governance Center parking lot long after the work day had ended.

“He will be a hard person to replace,” Mercier said.

Rogers started working for the Grand Ronde Tribe on Dec. 4, 2000, and became known for the stratified layers of paperwork that consumed his office. However, he seemed to know where a particular document was among those layers if it was requested. "He had a fortress," Kennedy said.

Born in April 16, 1953, at Osteopathic Hospital in Portland, Ore., he was the second of three sons of Ray Frederick and Veryl I. Rogers. He grew up in Forest Grove and graduated from Forest Grove High School in 1971. He received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 1975 from Portland State University, where he also obtained a master’s in Public Administration two years later.

In 1984, he went to work for the city of Ketchikan, Alaska, as the Public Works director. After three years, he went to work in Calaveras County, Calif., and then became the Capital Improvement coordinator for the Tulalip Tribes in Washington state.

In 1993, Rogers became the general manager of the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe in Darrington, Wash., and then went to work for six years with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians as its Community Planning manager.

He then moved to McMinnville with his cat when he accepted the Policy and Planning manager position with the Grand Ronde Tribe. That position eventually morphed into the Planning & Grants Development manager, who was charged with providing program and project planning, program and facility grant development and management, public transit services, and geographic information services.

As Mercier acknowledged during the Legislative Action Committee hearing, Rogers liked cats and soccer -- he was a season ticketholder for the Portland Timbers and Thorns. He stated in a 2001 Smoke Signals story that his one regret in life at that point in time was not yet having attended the World Cup.

In an all-employee e-mail, Tribal Council Chief of Staff Stacia Hernandez said the Tribe is working with Rogers’ family through this difficult time.

The Tribe and Rogers' family held an in-person and virtual memorial service on Thursday, Dec. 9, in the Tribal gym.

Rogers was preceded in death by his parents and older brother, Sandy Ray Rogers. He is survived by his brother, Shawn Ray Rogers; Shawn's wife, Wendy, and their daughter, Bella Rae; sister-in-law Joan Anne Rogers and her son, Brent Ray Rogers, and Brent's wife, Tonya, and their daughters, Gracie and Payton.