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Blue Heron Project

Blue Heron Request for Proposal

On August 15, 2019, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde purchased a 23-acre property at Willamette Falls known as Blue Heron. The property is located within the Tribe’s ancestral homelands land and holds significant historical and cultural importance for the Tribe.

The lands were once home to the Charcowah village of the Clowewalla (Willamette band of Tumwaters) and the Kosh-huk-shix Village of Clackamas people. They were ceded to the United States Government under the Willamette Valley Treaty of 1855. Following the Willamette Valley Treaty, tribal members were forcibly removed from Willamette Falls and relocated to Grand Ronde.

The Blue Heron property is a significant purchase for the Tribe. The acquisition ensures that the Grand Ronde Tribe has the opportunity to provide the cultural context of the Falls’ importance to all its neighbors and partners. The purchase allows the Tribe to reclaim a culturally important part of that homeland, allows the Tribe to tell the story of Willamette Falls accurately, and assures that tribal members will always be able to access Willamette Falls for cultural purposes.

The ownership of this property allows the Tribe to return to the role of stewards, and caretakes, of these lands all while rebuilding this special piece of the Tribe’s homelands in the Tribe’s vision.

Environmental Remediation & Stewardship

In August of 2019 the Tribe and DEQ came to agreement on terms for a clean-up plan at the former Blue Heron Mill in Oregon City. The agreement was DEQ’s first Prospective Purchaser Agreement with a tribal community and gives direction on how to clean up the site and, in turn, limits the Tribe’s future liability.

Since then, the Tribe and DEQ have worked together to address areas of concern. In 2020, The Tribe conducted sampling studies and took on exploratory work in the administration building parking lot to determine whether or not underground storage tanks were present. Upon completion of the work it was determined that there were no underground storage tanks present.


On October 28, 2020 the Tribe submitted a multi-purpose grant application to the Environmental Protection Agency. If funded, the grant would provide funds to the Tribe to work on the following tasks:

  • Project Management
  • High Priority Assessment and Cleanup
    • Site‐wide underground utility survey.
    • Inventory and remove chemicals and hazardous substances remaining from past operations.
    • Sample and evaluate remedial options for 1,000 cubic yard waste pile beneath former bleach plant. Prior sampling detected metals, PAHs, PCBs, dioxins/furans, and petroleum hydrocarbons above DEQ human and ecological screening levels.
    • Sediment in specific storm water catch basins is known to contain PCBs above DEQ screening levels. The sediment will be sampled, characterized, profiled, removed, and properly disposed.
    • Decommissioning, assessment, and cleanup of up to six underground storage tanks.
    • Complete human health and ecological risk assessments as needed.
    • Evaluate, secure, and/or properly abandon an onsite industrial water supply well to ensure it is not a preferential pathway for contaminant migration and to comply with state regulations.
    • Survey regulated building materials in the site office building including wipe sampling and evaluating asbestos, lead paint, and mercury and PCBs in light tubes and ballasts.
    • Abatement of regulated building materials in site office building as needed based on findings to support its near‐term reuse as office space for the Tribe.
    • Prepare Draft and Final versions of Task 2 Report including conceptual site model, risk evaluation, and all cleanup related disposal documentation for DEQ and EPA review.

  • Focused Remedial Investigation
    • Prepare draft and final versions of Task 3 Work Plan for DEQ and EPA Review.
    • Soil, groundwater, storm water, sediment, and soil gas sampling. Areas to be assessed will include aboveground storage tank areas, stained surface soil, unassessed release areas, water treatment plant filter media, and hydraulic systems (e.g. freight elevator and filter plant pump room).
    • Complete human health and ecological risk assessments.
    • Prepare draft and final versions of Task 3 RI Report including conceptual site models, risk evaluations, and cleanup recommendations for DEQ and EPA review.
  • Cleanup and Planning
    • Prepare draft and final versions of Task 4 Cleanup Plan for DEQ and EPA Review.
    • Potential Remedial Actions (dependent on assessment data gathered during Tasks 2 and 3) - Excavate and dispose of contaminated media at various locations where past operations or visual observations of staining indicate cleanup is needed. - Prepare demolition plans for water treatment plant building. Recommendations regarding engineering controls to be incorporated into future construction.
    • Prepare draft and final versions of Task 4 Cleanup Report including conceptual site model, risk evaluation, and all cleanup related disposal documentation for DEQ and EPA review.
    • Contaminated Media Management Plan (Draft, DEQ Review, Final) and deed restriction coordination.
    • Focused reuse planning that refines and carries forward the overall reuse plans described in Section 1.b.i is in the early stages and is being funded by the Tribe. Planning is currently focused on sustainably repurposing the Site office building, safe entry and exit at the Main Street/Highway 99 intersection at the north end of the site, and on infrastructure needs. The Tribe does not plan to use this EPA grant to conduct reuse planning.

  • Community Engagement

    Awards will be made in Spring of 2021.


In spring of 2020, the Tribe contracted with GBD Architects for site planning services. Since then, they have worked with Tribal Staff and Tribal Council to put together the Tribe’s vision for the site and conduct additional site analysis. On November 19, 2020 GBD and staff held a Zoom meeting where they presented the draft visioning document to tribal members and answered questions.


The comment period for Tribal members is now open.

All comments must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 11, 2020.

Please contact Stacia Hernandez by email at
for more information.


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Get in Touch


Location & Contact

Tribal Headquarter Address
9615 Grand Ronde Road
Grand Ronde, OR 97347

General Phone Inquiries
800-422-0232 or 503-879-5211

Contact us

Fax *: 503-879-2025
*Please do not fax medical information to this number, use the Health and Wellness fax 503-879-2071

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