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State Agencies Can Hold Public Meetings On Tribal Lands In Oregon

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network

Back in 2014, Oregon’s Board of Forestry tried to hold a public meeting at an Indian-owned Casino near Coos Bay. The meeting was allowed, but the department could not make any official decisions or deliberate.

House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson of Portland said Senate Bill 317 changes that. 

“This bill clarifies existing state law to allow meetings at numerous tribal facilities throughout the state,” she said.

The bill is now on its way to Gov. Kate Brown’s desk.

Chuck Sams, a spokesman for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, called it a “housekeeping” measure for state departments and agencies. He said it will not affect Tribal law regarding meetings held by those sovereign governments.

There are nine federally recognized Indian tribes in Oregon.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network

Emily Schwing
Emily Schwing comes to the Inland Northwest by way of Alaska, where she covered social and environmental issues with an Arctic spin as well as natural resource development, wildlife management and Alaska Native issues for nearly a decade. Her work has been heard on National Public Radio’s programs like “Morning Edition” and “All things Considered.” She has also filed for Public Radio International’s “The World,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” and various programs produced by the BBC and the CBC. She has also filed stories for Scientific American, Al Jazeera America and Arctic Deeply.