Tribal member employment is a top priority of the Twenty-Seventh Tribal Council. On Monday they took significant action toward this goal.
The Council approved a memorandum of understanding between the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs TERO and the Oregon Department of Transportation.
TERO is the Tribal Employment Rights Office, housed in the Warm Springs Ventures building at the industrial park.
With the ODOT agreement in place, the Warm Springs TERO has jurisdiction over federally-funded transportation projects in a large area of the region.
This will provide construction and other employment opportunities for tribal members. TERO also coordinates training programs for members.
The office serves the Warm Springs tribal members, and any other member of a federally recognized tribe.
Wendell Jim, Warm Springs TERO director, Mary Sando-Emhoolah, dispatcher, and tribal attorney Brent Hall on Monday presented the ODOT MOU to Tribal Council.
The process of reaching the MOU took a couple of years, as the parties worked out the details.
The timing of finalizing the deal is important, Wendell Jim said: The 2017 construction season will be picking up this spring and into the summer.
The jurisdiction of the Warm Springs TERO includes all of the reservation, plus areas within 60 miles of the reservation boundary.
ODOT projects within this area—including highways 26 and 97, and part of I-5 in the Portland area—are subject to TERO authority. The Warm Springs TERO is the largest in the state.
A western part of the Warm Springs TERO jurisdiction overlaps with that of the Grand Ronde TERO. This area will be co-administered by both of the TEROs.