Tribal Government & News

Tribal Council approves increase to Blue Heron demolition contract

07.13.2022 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council
Demolition work continues at the Blue Heron site in Oregon City. (Photo by Timothy J. Gonzalez/Smoke Signals)


By Dean Rhodes

Smoke Signals editor

Tribal Council approved increasing the contract with Elder Demolition of Portland by $1.413 million to demolish nine more buildings at the former Blue Heron Paper Mill site in Oregon City during its Wednesday, July 13, meeting.

The increase brings the maximum contract amount with Elder Demolition to $2.345 million, up from $931,527.

Elder Demolition was first hired by the Tribe in May 2021 to begin demolishing the more than 50 abandoned and dilapidated buildings on the 23-acre Blue Heron site, which the Tribe purchased for $15.25 million in August 2019.

Demolition officially started on September 2021 and the second phase began in April.

The contract increase will bring the number of structures demolished at Blue Heron to 24, which is 44 percent of the existing buildings on the site, said Engineering and Planning Manager Ryan Webb.

In other action, Tribal Council:

  • Approved the third supplemental budget of 2022 that will allocate $485,000 from the Fire Enterprise Fund to purchase two type-6 fire engines and two utility terrain vehicles;
  • Approved the annual memorandum of understanding with 10 other O’Link Tribes regarding federal Housing & Urban Development funding. The agreement will bring the Grand Ronde Tribe an additional $5,000 in housing funding;
  • Approved the Tribal Transportation Program’s fiscal year 2022 agreement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs;
  • Approved a $730,605 contract with R.L. Reimers Co. of Albany to upgrade a culvert crossing and side channel inlet on the Tribe’s Chahalpam conservation property in Marion County. In addition, Tribal Council approved applying for a maximum $2 million grant from the America the Beautiful Challenge that would provide funds to replant 128 acres at Chahalpam back to riparian hardwood/floodplain forest. Tribal Fish & Wildlife Program Manager Kelly Dirksen said during the Tuesday, July 12, Legislative Action Committee hearing that the American the Beautiful grant would put the Tribe five to eight years ahead of schedule in phasing out previous agriculture use on the property if received;
  • Approved the enrollment of one infant into the Tribe because they meet the requirements outlined in the Tribal Constitution and Enrollment Ordinance and approved the voluntary relinquishment of Tribal membership by one person;
  • Re-appointed Tribal Court of Appeals judges Robert Miller, Patricia Paul and Patricia Davis for two-year terms that will expire in July 2024;
  • And approved signing the Willamette Valley Threatened and Endangered Plant Database memorandum of understanding that will allow the Tribe to share information about threatened and endangered species populations on Tribal lands with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Oregon field office.

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