Tribal Government & News
Tribal Council OKs school resource officer agreement with Willamina district
By Dean Rhodes
Smoke Signals editor
Tribal Council approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Willamina School District during its Wednesday, Dec. 14, meeting that formalizes the Grand Ronde Tribal Police Department providing a school resource officer to the district’s three schools clustered together on the Oaken Hills campus.
Grand Ronde Tribal Police Chief Jake McKnight said during the Tuesday, Dec. 13, Legislative Action Committee hearing that the arrangement of the Tribe providing a school resource officer to Willamina schools is “working really well” and that he felt now was the right time to formalize the situation.
Tribal Police Officer JJ Flynn started working at the Willamina schools in early 2022. His positon is paid by a grant that allowed McKnight to hire another officer position, which freed up Flynn to work in the schools.
In addition, the agreement will include the Yamhill County and Polk County Juvenile Departments so that the four entities can exchange information. The Willamina School District is located in both counties.
The school resource officer will remain a full-time employee of the Tribe and the four entities will re-evaluate the agreement on an annual basis.
“It is great to have the official presence of a uniformed officer on campus,” Willamina School District Superintendent Carrie Zimbrick said. “I think it creates an added layer of safety to the community, but it can’t go without saying that JJ’s personality and demeanor are a perfect fit for this work. He has developed relationships with students that are grounded in genuine care, and he provides a level of expertise for our facility operations. He has taken the lead on our safety response protocols and works closely with our administration and tech director to improve systems that impact the safety or our campus.”
McKnight added that having a school resource officer provides an opportunity to deal with minor situations with students before they balloon into major and potentially criminal problems.
In other action, Tribal Council:
- Approved a Tribal credit card with a $100,000 limit for Procurement Manager Nathan Rolston for Tribal operations to purchase items from Amazon, which no longer accepts purchase orders;
- Approved an easement to Portland General Electric for the Tribe’s Commercial Street property in Salem. The Tribe is seeking to install an electric vehicle charging station at the Great Circle Recovery medication-assisted opioid treatment clinic and PGE requires the easement to improve and extend the electrical equipment and systems at the site;
- Approved the Tribal prevailing wage rates for 2022-23. Prevailing wage rates are based off wage rates for the region and are in alignment with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries rates. The rates will be used when the Tribe is not required to pay federal Davis-Bacon wage rates;
- And sent amendments to the Tribal Building Code, which has not been updated since 2010, out for a first reading that will give the membership 30 days to comment. The amendments will reflect updates to applicable Oregon State Codes and require contractors to be licensed by the state, among other items.
Also included in the Dec. 14 Tribal Council packet was an approved authorization to proceed instructing staff to investigate funding and building 15 houses in the first phase of the home ownership project that are not currently being built by Tribal members.
To watch the entire meeting, visit the Tribal government’s website at www.grandronde.org and click on the Government tab and then Videos.