Construction is scheduled to start soon on the grow facility that will house the tribes’ cannabis enterprise.
The construction phase will take four to five months, with Ventures estimating a completion time around October.
Meanwhile, the building phase is generating new construction jobs, said Don Sampson, Ventures executive director.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the project proved to be a popular event. On hand were many community members, plus the tribes’ partners in the project, and federal and state officials.
Stan Speaks, BIA Northwest regional director, mentioned how the tribes and Ventures have handled a unique and potentially complicated business idea.
“They have been very careful and very cautious,” Mr. Speaks said of the tribes. “They are certainly going to be a model.”
An economic study has projected significant revenue, possibly more than $20 million a year when in full operation, from the cannabis enterprise. “But this is bigger than dollars and cents,” said Pit-ta Pitt, project coordinator.
“This is not a quick fix,” he said. “This is about a group of people trying to find a way to educate, clothe and house themselves.”
The greenhouse and the tribes’ retail shops will create about 80 new jobs, according to the study developed last year.
For the shops, Ventures has been looking at sites in Portland, Bend, Hood River, Eugene, Salem and Government Camp.
The greenhouse itself, on Lower Dry Creek Road, will be 36,000 square feet.
Ventures is planning to host job fairs in the community in June or July.
The cannabis project is coming on-line as the tribes are looking to new sources of general fund revenue.
Forest products, and power generation from the hydro-electric dams once were the financial basis for the tribes.
These industries, though, can no longer provide the same kind of economic foundation.