Tribal Government & News

Grant may fund 10 electric vehicle charging units on Tribal campus

10.26.2022 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council, Environment
Tribal Council approved applying for a federal Department of Energy grant that, if received, would fund the eventual placement of 10 solar-power electric vehicle charging stations on the Tribal campus over the next five years during its Wednesday, Oct. 26, meeting. (Contributed photo)


By Dean Rhodes

Smoke Signals editor

Tribal Council approved applying for a U.S. Department of Energy grant during its Wednesday, Oct. 26 meeting that, if received, would fund the installation of 10 electric vehicle charging stations on the Tribal campus over a five-year period.

The federal grid resiliency grant would allow the Tribe to purchase two charging units a year.

The solar-powered units are standalone and do not require infrastructure or utilities to serve them, according to the staff executive summary. In addition, they can also provide backup power during power outages.

According to the manufacturer, Beam Global of San Diego, the units are already in use by Google, New York City and in the state of California. The current unit price is approximately $65,000 each.

Tribal Council member Kathleen George said during the Tuesday, Oct. 25, Legislative Action Committee hearing that she is “excited” to see the Tribe investing in electric vehicle charging technology. She added that Spirit Mountain Casino also will be investing in electric vehicle charging stations to help make the technology widespread throughout the state of Oregon and also in rural areas such as Grand Ronde.

In other action, Tribal Council:

  • Re-appointed Lori Sterling and Kalene Contreras as alternates to the Election Board with terms expiring in March 2024;
  • Appointed Flicka Lucero to the Enrollment Committee with a term expiring in March 2024;
  • Approved the Housing Department purchasing two properties in Grand Meadows that are HUD Section 184-guaranteed properties at the discounted rate of $10 per property. The owners have defaulted on their loans and the lenders have assigned the loans to the Housing and Urban Development Department;
  • Approved the Housing Department purchasing new housing management software from Yardi based in Santa Barbara, Calif., for approximately $25,000;
  • Approved the purchase of the 12.36-acre Lynn Freeman property at 28075 McPherson Road. Tribal Council OK’d a purchase price of $265,000 during its Sept. 7 meeting;
  • And approved Tribal Court Chief Judge Patrick Melendy signing a memorandum of understanding with the Tribal, State and Federal Court Forum that has been updated to include the federal court as a member and allows the forum to hold more than one meeting annually. The original Tribal and State Court Forum was created in 2016 when the Oregon Justice Department and nine federally recognized Tribes in the state signed a memorandum of understanding.

Tribal Council also approved the agenda for the 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, General Council meeting, which will feature the traditional executive session briefing from Finance Officer Chris Leno regarding next year’s draft budget. The meeting will be hybrid on Zoom and with in-person attendance allowed in Tribal Council Chambers.

Also included in the Oct. 26 Tribal Council packet were two approved authorizations to proceed that appointed Tribal Council member Brenda Tuomi to the Spirit Mountain Community Fund Board of Trustees through September 2023 and approved applying for a $500,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Education’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to fund expanded capacity and services in the Tribe’s Youth Enrichment Program.

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