Tribal Government & News

General Council briefed on capital improvement projects

03.14.2024 Danielle Harrison General Council


By Danielle Harrison

Smoke Signals editor

Tribal Engineering and Planning Manager Ryan Webb briefed the membership on various capital improvement projects on and off the Reservation during a Sunday, March 3, General Council meeting held via Zoom and in Tribal Council chambers.

“It really is a pleasure to provide an update to the membership on everything that we’ve been working on during this last year,” Webb said. “I think everyone can agree that it has definitely been amazing to see the Tribal campus and community growing, seeing some of these buildings and projects come to fruition where there’s been lots of great conversations and input into them.”

He provided the Tribal audience with an update of Creekside Elder housing, the Tribal homeownership development, Wind River Apartments, Warriors of Hope expansion, language education building, health care and vaccination clinic, Grand Ronde Fire Station upgrade, child development center, resident and recreation center, electric vehicle charging stations, community paths grant and the Tumwata Village project in Oregon City.  

“You see these projects coming out of the ground, and seeing them and realizing that it was really rewarding to be a part of that,” Webb said. “I appreciate the support from the executive team and council to make all of this happen.”  


Creekside Elder Housing: The 24-unit project located at Creekside Drive and Grand Ronde Road includes 12 two-bedroom, one-bath duplexes. Each unit is 1,120 square feet, with 16 market rate units and eight subsidized units.

Each one has solar panels plus backup battery storage, and is rated by the Energy Trust of Oregon as a net-zero home, meaning that over the course of the year, tenants should pay next to nothing in utility bills.

The $7.19 million project is funded with 80 percent Tribal dollars and 20 percent federal grant funds. The project was completed in December 2023 and a grand opening was held in late January.

Homeownership development phase one: The project is located at McPherson Road east of Grand Ronde Road, with all 20 homes projected to be ready for occupancy by the end of March. Home sizes range from two- to four-bedroom, 1,200- to 2,000-square-feet on 10,000-square-foot lots. Each unit is solar-ready. The project is funded by federal sources and Spirit Mountain Casino revenues.

Wind River Apartments, phase 3: There will be up to 45 units within 10 apartment buildings located adjacent to the Tribe’s Housing Department offices at 28450 Tyee Road. The apartments will contain a mix of one- and two-bedroom solar ready units. There are plans to explore adding solar panels with Energy Trust of Oregon. The design phase of the $12.5 million project is due to be complete within a few months and construction is expected to start this summer.

Warriors of Hope program expansion: The $1.7 million, 2,100-square-foot addition to the current Community Center was complete in May 2023. The funding breakdown is 50 percent Tribal and 50 percent federal.

“That was a really exciting project. … This was one of the smaller projects we got built last year but it has one of the biggest impacts on our community due to the program it houses and the services that they provide,” Webb said.

Warriors of Hope is the Tribe’s program for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Language education building: The $4.35 million, 6,600-square-foot building was completed in September 2023. It has six classrooms, office space and an outdoor playground. It is located next to the existing Education Department complex on the Tribal campus and houses the Tribe’s Chinuk Wawa education program.

It was paid for through a combination of Tribal, federal and other funding.

Health care and vaccination clinic: Located adjacent to the current Health & Wellness Clinic, the new 10,000-square-foot building broke ground in March 2023 and was recently completed. The $7 million project is primarily grant funded.

The 8,400-square-foot interior includes a reception area with vaulted ceiling and children’s play area, spacious medical and dental exam rooms, high-tech labs, a break room and administrative offices.

Outside space includes an 800-square-foot concrete patio and a covered, 700-square-foot fish pit area. Adjacent but indoor next to the fish pit is a community kitchen that is set up to accommodate streaming nutrition classes with offsite Tribal members.

Staff will soon be able to begin moving into the building and a grand opening event is set for Wednesday, May 17.  

Grand Ronde Fire Station expansion: This $8 million project is funded through American Rescue Plan Act funds and includes a 20,000-square-foot expansion with office space, classroom, living quarters and four bays for fire equipment and engines. Construction began in May 2023 and is expected to be complete this summer.

Child development center: The 26,000-square-foot building will include 12 classrooms, a new kitchen, outdoor play areas and support areas, and is located behind the old powwow grounds near the existing Tribal gym. The project is funded with federal, Tribal and grant funds and is approximately $16 million. Construction began in December and is expected to be complete by the end of 2024.

Resident and recreation center: The new 20,000-square-foot building will be located at the Smith property across from Tribal Housing Department offices with a design cost of $660,000 and construction costs undetermined. Community input will determine most of the programs offered at the center. Webb is hoping to secure federal grant money for construction of the project, which is tentatively slated for 2025.

Electric vehicle charging stations: All buildings on campus will have electric vehicle chargers added in the future, with all new buildings constructed as EV charging ready. One solar charging station was installed at the Tribal Governance Center in 2023. Two more will be purchased with six chargers located on campus and two electric vehicles added to the Tribal fleet for employee use. The chargers and stations are being funded through an Oregon Department of Transportation Carbon Reduction Grant. 

Multi-use path from Grand Ronde to Spirit Mountain Casino:

The Tribe received a $206,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Community Paths Program for a feasibility study for a pedestrian/bike connection between Grand Ronde Road and Spirit Mountain Casino. The study should be complete by year’s end.

Tumwata Village: Located at the former Blue Heron Paper Mill site in Oregon City, much of the work this year has been focused on environmental cleanup efforts. The project was awarded an $800,000 Brownfield grant and $2 million in congressional funding. Thus far, 24 structures have been removed so far and more demolition work will continue this year. The Tribe will soon submit a land-use application to Oregon City for development of the site.  

Webb also gave a brief update about the projects Public Works Coordinator John Mercier has been working on during the past year. Currently, Mercier is in the process of updating the Long Range Transportation Plan from 2019 and will submit it to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for approval. Approximately $25 to $30 million is projected to be spent on transportation planning in the next 20 years.

In the area of transportation maintenance, Grand Ronde Road work, from highways 18 to 22, began in June and was complete by September.

“It caused some delays and impact to the community but the fact that they were able to get in and get that work done so quickly, it means that we have now a safe and more reliable road,” Webb said.

The project was a collaboration between the Tribe and Polk County.  

After his presentation was complete, Webb fielded six questions and comments from the audience.

“I appreciate all of the questions and the wonderful report that you’ve given today,” Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy said. “It’s truly a tribute to you and your tenacity to make sure that all of these projects get done.”

In other action, door prize winners were Lee Huffman, Ashley Tuomi, Lise Alexander, Judy Ballini and Richard McKnight, $50 each; and Lisa Watson, Tauni McCammon and Deborah Good, $100 each.

The next General Council meeting will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 7, at the Lane Community College Longhouse in Eugene.

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