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KLCC: Warm Springs Tribes look for ways to grow economy





Officials with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon are looking for ways to improve the economy:
For every advantage on the Warm Springs reservation, there is a disadvantage. It’s beautiful and the sun shines almost every day, but the soil is some of the worst in the state. There are fishing rights in the Columbia River—once part of the reservation but ceded in 1855—but dams have inundated fishing grounds. The tribal resort, Kah-Nee-Ta, is popular, but only in the summer and it’s not on a main road.

The tribe does logging and operates a saw mill, but in Oregon timber has long been in decline. And there’s the chronic danger of fires spreading from national forests to reservation land. There is the tribal-owned casino, which Eco-Northwest economist Bob Whelan has studied:

“That casino is doing well, but it’s not a lot of money. I think people outside the gambling world see all the cash going back and forth, but realistically a lot of casinos just get by or make a little bit of money. Their main value to a tribe often is just providing employment.”

Whelan says all things considered, the tribe is doing well with what it’s got. But then there are the costs.

Get the Story:
A Possible Turning Point for Oregon’s Largest Indian Reservation (KLCC 8/28)