Tribal Government & News

General Council briefed on Community Development Plan

02.15.2024 Danielle Harrison General Council


By Danielle Harrison

Smoke Signals editor

Grand Ronde Community Development Department Manager Kristen Svicarovich briefed Tribal members on the Tribe’s Community Development Plan during a Sunday, Feb. 4, General Council meeting held via Zoom and at the Monarch Hotel & Convention Center in Clackamas.

Approximately 50 people logged in to attend the meeting virtually and another 50 participated in-person. The meeting opened with an invocation by Tribal Council Secretary Michael Cherry, followed by a drum song.

“Thank you so much for being here today,” Svicarovich said. “It’s a pleasure and honor to talk about the Community Development Plan and the 2023 annual report.”

The Tribe launched the Community Development Plan effort in May 2018 to help guide the decisions and setting of priorities for the Tribe as the 50-year mark of Restoration approaches.   

Svicarovich discussed the plan’s history, communication and outreach, 2023 accomplishments, 2024 themes and work plan, and next steps.

“This is an overview of all the 2023 activities and many happened across the organization, so a big shout-out to the department managers that are making all of this work happen and the progress we see with the Community Development Plan,” she said.

The plan began with a kickoff event in 2018, followed by more meetings in 2019 and early 2020. Subjects discussed in pre-pandemic listening sessions were Housing, Public Safety, Needed Services and Recreation, Facilities and Gathering Spaces, Health Care, Social Services, Education, Employment and Vocational Training, as well as the past and future of Grand Ronde.

In-person gatherings were shelved in 2020 due to the pandemic, but work continued with remote and hybrid community meetings. The plan was adopted by Tribal Council in November 2021.

“The focus of the plan is to answer the question, ‘What will the Grand Ronde community look like when we gather for the Tribe’s 50th Restoration Celebration in 2033?’ and with that question in mind, there was a tremendous amount of public outreach, reviewing documents and really trying to answer that question,” Svicarovich said.    

The result of this work is a 10-year plan with 77 different initiatives, 15 focus areas and 99 goals.

“Often, plans are focused on one set community,” she said.  “What’s wonderful about this plan is that there was a four communities approach that was taken.”

The four communities approach includes the seat of government, a place to live, a regional economic engine and a place to connect, Svicarovich said.

“The plan really focuses on the Grand Ronde community and also includes Willamina and Sheridan as a larger community area,” she said. “Part of the reason for that is that the Grand Ronde community can be defined in many different ways. It doesn’t have a set urban growth boundary and there’s the historic reservation boundary, the zip code or the census designated place. There’s a couple different approaches.”

During 2023, Svicarovich met with Tribal department managers, updated Tribal Council in June, attended Veterans Powwow and the Contest Powwow during the summer to solicit feedback, and met with managers again in the fall. The year closed out with a Tribal Council update in December.

The Community Development Plan can be accessed by visiting and clicking on the “Grand Ronde 2033” link.

Svicarovich also gave a brief presentation on the 2023 annual report.

Some highlights from the report include:

  • The Tribal Lands Department had the most property acquisitions in its history, totaling nine. Five of these were in relation to the Health & Wellness Department and were funded by grant money.
  • The Gathering of Native Americans was held with 80 different participants at Chachalu Tribal Museum & Cultural Center.
  • The Cultural Resources Department continued the Indigenous Place Keeping Fellowship with five fellows, up from two in 2023. Grant funding through Meyer Memorial Trust was used for that expansion. It culminated with a two-spirit/Indigiqueer installation at Chachalu called “Shimkhin,” which received high acclaim.
  • There were several openings of new projects and amenities, which include the chinuk wawa skul, shelter villages, the Community Center expansion, Creekside Elder Housing phase three, mobile medication assisted treatment clinic and Great Circle Recovery Portland medication assisted treatment clinic.
  • A child development center and fire station expansion are both under construction, and 20 residential units are underway in the Tribe’s homeownership development. The health care and vaccination clinic is expected to open later this month.
  • In August, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife Commission approved a memorandum of agreement with the Tribe that significantly expanded its ceremonial and cultural hunting and fishing areas on off-Reservation lands, and allowed the Tribe to manage this for its members in coordination with the state.
  • There are new offerings and amenities in the works, including an outdoor nature playground with a native plant restoration garden, as well as increased transitional housing.

“(Those are) the highlights of the different accomplishments throughout the year,” Svicarovich said. “I encourage you to dive into the report and look more at the different accomplishments.”

After the approximately 40-minute presentation was complete, Svicarovich fielded nine questions and comments from the audience.

“Thank you for the report,” Tribal Council Vice Chair Chris Mercier said. “When you come out to Grand Ronde, you see a lot of these things in the process of being built. It’s been really good, a lot of growth in the community and it’s really thriving.” 

In other action, Mercier announced that the next General Council meeting will be a hybrid format at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 3, on Zoom and in Tribal Council Chambers, with a report about capital improvement projects.

 Chris Rempel, Tonya Gleason-Shepek, Bill Stephens, Olive Adams and Val Alexander won the $50 door prizes while Lisa Archuleta, Eric Bernando and Anthony Quenelle won the $100 door prizes.

The meeting can be viewed by visiting the Tribal government’s website at and clicking on the Government tab and then Videos.