Tribal Council OKs education expansion project

Tribal Council approved a $739,500 contract with Whisler Construction of Otis on Wednesday, Dec. 13, to expand the Early Childhood and Youth Education areas of the Tribe’s educational facilities.

General Manager David Fullerton said during the Tuesday, Dec. 12, Legislative Action Committee meeting that the initial bidding process that occurred in May received only one bid that was not within the approved budget for the expansion project.

Fullerton said he thought a busy construction season decreased interest in bidding on the Tribal project.

This time around, the Tribe received two bids and Whisler was the low bidder. The Tribe’s procurement policy requires that Tribal Council approve contracts valued at more than $100,000.

In an Oct. 19 authorization to proceed, Tribal Council set a $740,000 budget for the project that includes $208,000 from an U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Indian Community Development Block Grant, $65,000 from a Spirit Mountain Community Fund grant and $300,000 in Tribal funds.

Fullerton said Whisler is prepared to start work as soon as the contract is approved.

The 1,800-square-foot project will construct a preschool addition to the Early Childhood Education building and renovate the current kitchen, expanding it by 200 square feet. The addition also will include a classroom and additional restrooms, storage and office space.

Additionally, Youth Education will be expanded by approximately 250 square feet. Construction will include restrooms, storage and laundry facilities.

Tribal Council approved applying for the federal grant in October 2015.

In other action, Tribal Council:

  • Approved a resolution to join the Native Farm Coalition, which will provide the Grand Ronde Tribe an opportunity to participate in lobbying efforts for federal agricultural policy.

  • Approved amendments to the Tribe’s Children and Families Ordinance that ensure permanent plans in the ordinance comply with federal funding requirements.

  • Re-appointed Tribal member Ron Reibach to the Spirit Mountain Community Fund Board of Trustees.

  • Nominated Tribal Council member Brenda Tuomi to possibly serve on a task force regarding domestic violence against Native American women.

  • And approved the enrollment of four infants into the Tribe because they meet the provisions outlined in the Enrollment Ordinance and Tribal Constitution.

Also included in the Dec. 13 Tribal Council packet were authorizations to proceed that appointed Tribal Council member Michael Langley to the Oregon Tribal Cultural Items Task Force created by Gov. Kate Brown, authorized transferring $205 from general contingency to the Ceremonial Hunting Board budget to cover harvest processing costs and authorized a new broadcast journalist position in the Publications Department who will primarily be responsible for creating a weekly news podcast.

Tribal Cultural Resources Department Manager David Harrelson gave a brief cultural presentation regarding winter and traditional Native practices and Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy memorialized Vera Katz, former mayor of Portland who walked on on Monday, Dec. 11.

“Vera was a close friend of the Tribes of Oregon and supported the cleanup of the Willamette River, which is vital to the Willamette Valley Treaty,” Kennedy said. “She also consistently referred to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde as the Tribe of Portland and recognized us as valuable business partners.

“We admired her ability to advance social and economic development in the Portland area and saw her as being a leader who could champion even the most challenging issues. She was a staunch advocate for the city of Portland and its people. She will be missed tremendously and her legacy will continue to live on through those that knew her and through the great city Portland has become.”

The meeting can be viewed by visiting the Tribal website at and clicking on the News tab and then Video.