Health & Education

Grand Ronde Tribal COVID-19 timeline

03.14.2022 Dean Rhodes COVID-19
Graphic by Samuel Briggs III
[Full Covid Timeline Graphic]


March 3, 2020: General Manager David Fullerton suspended air travel for employees.

March 11, 2020: The Tribe postponed its first event because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic – the Agency Creek Round Dance. It coincided with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown prohibiting gatherings of 250 people or more.

March 18, 2020 – Tribal Council suspended loan payments from Spirit Mountain Gaming Inc. and approved using up to $20 million from the Tribe’s line of credit to maintain account liquidity. The Tribe also declared its first State of Emergency.

March 19, 2020 – Spirit Mountain Casino closed to the public for the first time since it opened in October 1995.

March 25, 2020 – The Tribe held its first Facebook Live event to keep Tribal members informed.

April 1, 2020 – Tribal Council established the COVID-19 Relief Payment Program and extended 120 hours of PTO to casino and Tribal governmental employees.

April 23, 2020 – The Tribe granted employees 80 more hours of PTO.

May 18, 2020 – The Tribal government started a phased re-opening for non-essential employees.

June 1, 2020 – Spirit Mountain Casino re-opened after a 74-day closure.

July 3, 2020 – Spirit Mountain Casino instituted a mask requirement, coinciding with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announcing mandatory mask requirements for all indoor public spaces.

July 2020 – The annual Marcellus Norwest Memorial Veterans Powwow was canceled.

Aug. 5, 2020 – The Health & Wellness Center reported its first new positive COVID-19 case.

August 2020 – The annual Grand Ronde Contest Powwow was canceled.

Aug. 27, 2020 – Grant Ronde Station, the Tribal convenience store adjacent to Spirit Mountain Casino, closed after contact tracing uncovered positive COVID-19 connections.

Oct. 23, 2020 – The Tribe announced that the 37th Restoration Celebration would be held virtually.

Nov. 5, 2020 – Two Tribal employees tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus for the first time, prompting limited campus access for several days.

December 2020 – The Tribe received more than $45 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding in 2020.

Dec. 23, 2020 – The Tribe started administering COVID-19 vaccinations to essential health care workers.

Jan. 6, 2021 – The Tribe doubled its testing capacity from 28 to 56 tests daily.

Feb. 3-4, 2021 – The Tribe held a two-day vaccination clinic that attracted people from as far away as Reno, Nev.

March 3, 2021 – Health Services Executive Director Kelly Rowe announced that the clinic had started offering second dose shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.

March 22, 2021 – Thirteen of 15 Portland Trail Blazers’ players received COVID-19 vaccinations in the Tribal gym.

April 21, 2021 – An uptick in COVID-19 cases closed the Tribal government campus for three weeks.

May 13, 2021 – Despite relaxed mask-wearing rules for vaccinated people from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Tribal government continued requiring masks be worn indoors.

May 27, 2021 – Spirit Mountain Casino reinstated its mask mandate for casino guests.

May 31, 2021 – The Memorial Day celebration returned with a limited number of guest allowed to attend the outdoor event.

June 7, 2021 – The Tribal government ended its mask requirement for most fully vaccinated employees.

July 1, 2021 – The Tribal government ended temperature check stations and the mask wearing requirement on campus. 

July 2021 – For the second year in a row, the Marcellus Norwest Veterans Powwow was canceled.

July 24, 2021 – The Tribe held an Indig-Immunity Youth Vaccination event to get Tribal youth vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

July 28, 2021 – The Tribal government returned to mask wearing for all employees while working indoors because of spread of the more contagious Delta variant.

Aug. 3, 2021 – The Tribal government started a three-week pause for everyone but essential employees because of an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Aug. 11, 2021 – Spirit Mountain Casino reinstituted its mask mandate because of the Delta variant.

August 2021 – For the second year in a row, the Grand Ronde Contest Powwow was canceled.

Sept. 7, 2021 – Spirit Mountain Casino mandated that its employees become vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

Oct. 4, 2021 – The Tribal governmental campus re-opened to all employees after a two-month pause due to an increase in cases caused by the Delta variant.

Nov. 1, 2021 – Tribal governmental employees resumed normal work schedules and operations.

Nov. 22, 2021 – For the second consecutive year, the Restoration Celebration was held virtually.

Dec. 7, 2021 – The Tribe hosted a drive-through vaccination and booster clinic at its Wood Village property, the former Multnomah Greyhound Park.

Jan. 15, 2022 – Spirit Mountain Casino started hosting a month-long vaccination and booster clinic in its parking lot.

Jan. 19, 2022 – The Health & Wellness Center was monitoring 50 active COVID-19 cases as the Omicron variant spread in the state.

March 2022 – The Agency Creek Round Dance was canceled for the third year in a row.

March 11, 2022 – The Grand Ronde Tribal government made mask wearing optional for most employees and guests as COVID-19 cases in the state and community declined drastically.

March 12, 2022 – The state lifted its indoor mask mandate and Spirit Mountain Casino followed suit.