Tribal Council OKs $1.1 million loan to begin remodel of Spirit Mountain Lodge

Tribal Council approved a maximum $1.1 million loan to Spirit Mountain Gaming Inc. to fund the design phase of remodeling Spirit Mountain Lodge at its Wednesday, March 7, meeting.

The funds will be drawn from the Tribe’s TriState Capital Bank line of credit and will continue Grand Ronde efforts to update and remodel Spirit Mountain Casino in the wake of 2017’s opening of the Cowlitz Tribal casino in southwestern Washington state.

Tribal Council member Kathleen George, who also sits on the Spirit Mountain Gaming Board of Directors, said the lodge’s interior remodel will include adding more high-demand suites, updating older lodge rooms, and redesigning and updating the entrance way and Hall of Legends that connects the lodge to Spirit Mountain Casino.

George said that many lodge guests are requesting suites when they want to spend a weekend at Spirit Mountain Casino and the remodel will add more of them.

“Right now, we don’t have as many suites as we could be filling with customers,” George said during the Tuesday, March 6, Legislative Action Committee hearing. “This is really part of our sustainability plan at the casino.”

The revamping of the 254-room lodge follows the Tribe’s investment of $13 million to remodel the casino in 2016.

The Grand Ronde Tribe is in the enviable position of having the financial resources that it can loan Spirit Mountain Gaming Inc. the necessary funds for remodeling both the casino and lodge and then Spirit Mountain Gaming pays the loan back to the Tribe with interest.

In other action, Tribal Council:

  • Approved applying for a $312,500 Victims of Crime Act grant from the Oregon Department of Justice. The 30-month grant would fund a full-time victim’s advocate and purchase of a minivan if received, as well as provide some funding for the Court Appointed Special Advocates program. Planning & Grants Manager Kim Rogers said this is the first time there has been a set aside for the state’s nine federally recognized Tribes in the grant program.

  • Approved applying for a $90,000 First Nations Native Language Immersion Initiative grant that would, if received, fund curriculum development, lexicon and dictionary work, as well as upgrading of the existing Chinuk Wawa application and printing Chinuk Wawa educational materials.

  • Approved applying for a $635,904 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice that would, if received, further support the Women’s Transition House, fund development of a Tribal Wellness/Drug Court and add another officer to the Grand Ronde Tribal Police Department for three years.

  • Approved re-appointing Tribal Council member Denise Harvey as the Tribe’s primary delegate to the National Indian Gaming Association and paying the annual $25,000 in dues. All other Tribal Council members act as alternate delegates.

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

Also included in the March 7 Tribal Council packet were approved authorizations to proceed that:

  • Authorized staff to proceed with an update of the 2010 Strategic Plan to be presented to Tribal Council by June 1.

  • Directed Natural Resources to establish and recruit for a restoration ecologist position;

  • Authorized staff to proceed with the Summers Collection Exhibit option with a budget of $337,272 and a projected exhibit opening date of May 31;

  • And authorized staff to generate an official Tribal membership roll that will include all Tribal members living and deceased, not omit any Tribal members even if requested and be made publicly available.

Seven drummers visiting Grand Ronde for the Agency Creek Round Dance performed the cultural drumming and singing to open the meeting. They were led by Round Dance master of ceremonies Devon Bellerose and stickman Bobby Mercier.

The entire meeting can be viewed by visiting the Tribe's website at and clicking on the News tab and then Video.