Tribal Government & News

Council adopts three salmon recovery policies

02.08.2023 Danielle Harrison Tribal Council, Environment
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife


By Danielle Harrison

Smoke Signals assistant editor/staff writer

Tribal Council adopted a resolution to establish a fisheries framework to bolster the Tribe’s position on salmon recovery efforts during its Wednesday, Feb. 8, meeting.

Natural Resources Department Fish & Wildlife Program Manager Kelly Dirksen said during the Tuesday, Feb. 7, Legislative Action Committee hearing that these policies would further the Tribe’s voice in salmon recovery efforts.

“We feel like salmon recovery somehow ends up at the bottom of the list of priorities (with state and federal agencies),” he said. “So, we want it amongst the highest priorities.”

The three policies will establish the Tribe’s position on what the end salmon populations should be, prioritizes salmon and steelhead recovery when making decisions on dam operations in the Willamette Basin, and recommends that Congress deauthorize hydroelectric power at eight dams.

“Hydropower kills salmon and loses money,” Dirksen said in a memo. “In every alternative proposed by the (Army Corps of Engineers), the revenue is less than the cost of power generation. … The best path forward for salmon and ratepayers is to stop hydropower at Upper Willamette Basin dams. Because hydropower is an authorized use of the Willamette Valley in the Flood Control Act of 1938, Congress would need to deauthorize hydropower. We urge Congress to act quickly.”

In other action, Tribal Council:

  • Approved a construction contract with Triplett Wellman to build the new health care and vaccination clinic on the Tribal campus. The 10,000-square-foot, $6.9 million project will include educational classrooms, dental offices, examination rooms and a laboratory;
  • Approved an application to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for $750,000 in firefighter grant funding with 5 percent, or $37,500, in Tribal matching funds. The funds would purchase a new fire truck for the Emergency Services Department;
  • Approved a two-year agreement between the Tribe and Marion-Polk Food Share for the operation of the Grand Ronde Food Pantry and other community food-related services;
  • Approved removing former General Manager David Fullerton as manager of Dakta LLC and appointing Interim General Manager Chris Leno to the position that oversees the Tribe’s interests in SAM Medical Products;
  • Approved authorizing a grant agreement between the Tribe and Department of Land Conservation and Development for a $30,000 Rural Transportation Equity Grant. The grant will provide funding for a planning project to assist the community with developing a connectivity plan such as a bike and pedestrian trail network;
  • Approved a limited waiver of the Tribe’s sovereign immunity in favor of Charles Schwab Trust Bank for resolution of disputes under the trust agreement to be submitted to a member of the American Arbitration Association in Oregon. Charles Schwab is the trustee of the Tribal employees’ retirement plan;
  • And approved a modification of current housing leases to include the new Creekside Elders property, which will consist of 24 units, with the first being available starting in May.

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