Tribal Government & News

Tribal Council approves emergency Fish & Wildlife Ordinance amendment

09.06.2023 Danielle Harrison Tribal Council, Fishing, Hunting


By Danielle Harrison

Smoke Signals editor

Tribal Council approved an emergency amendment to the Fish & Wildlife Ordinance to implement a memorandum of agreement with the state Fish & Wildlife Commission for off-Reservation and non-trust land hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering during its Wednesday, Sept. 6, meeting.

On Friday, Aug. 4, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife Commission approved a memorandum of agreement with the Tribe that will significantly expand its ceremonial and cultural hunting and fishing areas on off-Reservation lands, and allow the Tribe to manage this for its members in coordination with the state.

The agreement will allow Tribal members to harvest fish, lamprey, shellfish and crustaceans, mammals and birds in the Wilson, Trask, Willamette, Stott Mountain and Santiam wildlife management units, taking pressure off the much-used Trask Management Area.

The emergency amendment will take effect immediately, allowing the implementation of a “scaled back” version of the MOA for the fall hunting season. Tribal members will still have 30 days to comment on the ordinance amendment.

“Our team is working hard to implement this for the 2023 hunting and fishing season,” Tribal Fish & Wildlife Program Manager Kelly Dirksen said during a Tuesday, Sept. 5, Legislative Action Committee meeting. “The emergency amendment will open a 30-day comment period and we hope to use these comments along with revisions that we know we will need for a larger program. We’ll bring that larger ordinance update to (council) in 2024.”

In other action, Tribal Council:  

  • Approved the reappointment of Spirit Mountain Casino Chief Executive Officer Camille Mercier and the reappointment of Tribal Council members Michael Cherry, Denise Harvey and Brenda Tuomi to the Spirit Mountain Community Fund Board of Trustees with terms expiring on Sept. 30, 2025;
  • Approved an early work amendment for the installation of electrical switch gear and a generator at the Tribe’s child care center project at a cost not to exceed $261,375;
  • Approved a first reading of the Tribe’s Burial Fund Ordinance amendment to increase the benefit from $7,000 to $8,000;
  • Approved final adoption of the Tribe’s Gaming Ordinance amendments to change definitions of high security and primary management official gaming licenses, and revise license application and background investigation requirements to better reflect information currently necessary to safely operate the gaming facility;
  • Approved a resolution to begin the fee-to-trust transfer process of the 113.87-acre South Yamhill 2 property located near Spirit Mountain Casino;
  • Approved the annual agricultural permits program for 2023-24 with an estimated amount of $43,000 to be generated from the program;
  • And approved the enrollment of two infants into the Tribe because they meet the requirements outlined in the Tribal Constitution and Enrollment Ordinance.

In other business, Tribal Council approved the issuance of a Tribal liquor license to the Happy Dragon Chinese Restaurant at Spirit Mountain Casino. Additionally, Tribal Council Vice Chair Chris Mercier read a statement directing the Tribe’s Housing Department to pause any actions regarding its pet policy in Tribal Housing until council has an opportunity to evaluate it.

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