PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde on Wednesday revealed the name it selected for its 23-acre site near Willamette Falls
The Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde bought the former Blue Heron Paper Mill and the land it sits on near the falls in 2019. Now, the site will be known as Tumwata Village.
The name includes the native name for falls: tumwata. It reflects the Tribe’s long-standing connection to the area.
The Tribe also launched a new website Wednesday where community members can learn more about the vision for the site, development plans, ongoing progress and how it can help support the restoration efforts.
Tribal Chair Cheryle Kennedy spoke to KOIN 6 News’ Ken Boddie in August about the property. Kennedy is a descendant of the Clackamas People.
“We are focusing on re-establishing ourselves in that area, so this was just a thing that came along and we’re so pleased that when the property went up for sale, we were in the position to purchase it,” she said.
The Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde plans to establish all of its cultural and traditional practices at the site. Kennedy said there is no discussion of putting a casino in Oregon City.
She said the development of the property could take almost 20 years to complete.
“Tumwata Village is a meaningful name for a meaningful site,” Kennedy said in a news release about the new site name. “It connects the Grand Ronde Tribe of today with our ancestors, it dignifies a landscape that is sacred to us, and it offers hope for a prosperous future here at the Falls and beyond.”
The Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde plans to perform extensive ecological restoration at the southern end of the property. It will restore the natural basalt landscape and historic water channels under the former industrial buildings. It will also work to re-establish native plants and the riparian habitat.