News Stories for Tue., Oct. 24, 2017

Attorneys for several Northwest tribal elders argued in federal court in Portland yesterday that the destruction of a spiritual site along Highway 26 near Mount Hood violated their religious freedoms. The tribal members were from the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, as well as the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde. They say they can no longer practice religious ceremonies at the site. The tribes have asked a federal judge to rule that the government violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The case dates back to 2008, when the Oregon Department of Transportation expanded part of Highway 26 onto land owned by the federal government. During the expansion, burial grounds and a stone alter were destroyed and old growth trees were cut down. Lawyers for the Department of Justice argued the Religious Freedom Restoration Act doesn’t apply in this case and are asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

The Agency District Meeting on the Tribe’s 2018 budget was held last night at the Agency Longhouse. A printed budget handout was offered to the membership that shows revenue coming in from Timber, from the Casino, Credit Enterprise and Carbon Sequestration. The proposed 2018 Tribal Budget is 18 million dollars.  This budget makes up about 24 % of the funding for Tribal Operations.  The Seekseequa District Meeting is tonight at 7 at the Seekseequa Fire Hall and the General Council Meeting on the 2018 Proposed Budget is scheduled for Monday November 13th at 7pm at the Agency Longhouse.

Two of the longest serving members of the Oregon Senate are stepping down from their seats. Democrat Richard Devlin and Republican Ted Ferrioli have been appointed by Gov. Kate Brown to serve as Oregon’s representatives on the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. The agency is funded by the Bonneville Power Administration. It helps develop strategies to balance power production and wildlife conservation in the Columbia River basin. Serving on the council is a full-time job and it means the pair will have to step down from the Legislature, where they’ve both served since 1997. Devlin is the top budget-writer in the Senate, and Ferrioli is the head of the Senate Republican caucus.