TERO focuses on jobs, local economy

 The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs now has a Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance, or TERO, office.

Mary Sando-Emhoolah is the Warm Springs TERO director. Her office is at the Ventures-Tribal Construction building at the industrial park.

Mary and husband Michael own and operate the construction trucking company Emhoolah Trucking Co.

They started the business in the 1990s. Over the years they have worked with the Grand Ronde and Umatilla TERO offices. “We’ve always wanted to see a TERO office in Warm Springs, and now it’s finally happened,” Mary was saying this week.

The benefits of the program will be many for Warm Springs, she said. The office will facilitate the hiring of tribal members and other Native American residents for Oregon Department of Transportation and other construction projects in the region.

There will be the jobs for local residents, which will help keep money circulating on the reservation, providing more economic opportunities, Emhoolah says.

Too often the money flows one-way off the reservation: “It’s like someone having a barbecue in your backyard, and you’re not invited,” she says.

Among the first tasks for the TERO office will be negotiating the boundary area with ODOT.

The TERO office will work with the regional contractors to get them certified in the TERO program.

Another project will be identifying the local residents with the qualifications to participate in the program, such as heavy-equipment operators.

Training for the local workforce is another aspect of the program. Tribal Council earlier this year approved the TERO program.