Sponsored by Oregon Business

Tribes explore wind power

| Print |  Email
Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tribes_WindOne day wind turbines might add a futuristic element to the Umatilla Reservation. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation are currently evaluating wind patterns to establish whether wind power is a worthwhile investment, but they are also considering turbines’ impact on the landscape and culture.

“The knowledge of a place where perhaps somebody fought the bad guys and won is important. It may not have a monument or marker there, but if it’s recorded in the tribal oral histories, it’s important,” says Stuart Harris, director of the tribes’ Department of Science and Engineering.

They’re putting up four anemometers around the reservation to measure wind speed and direction. They’ll use this data to develop a wind power energy policy. According to Harris, if the tribes decide to develop a wind farm, the Board of Trustees will decide whether to partner with a company (which would allow the project to receive energy tax credits) or build the farm themselves.

Board of Trustees Chairman Antone Minthorn says wind power could create opportunities for employment and energy independence.

The tribes have been financially involved with wind power since 2004, when they helped develop the Rattlesnake Road Wind Power Project in Arlington. They sold their equity investment to Texas-based Horizon Wind Energy but continue to have a financial interest in the operation.

Other tribes around Oregon are also investigating wind power. Three tribal groups along the coast — the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians; Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians; and Coquille Indian Tribe — are interested in wind power and have been approached by wind energy companies, but are not yet developing wind power plans. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs conducted a study to determine the potential of wind energy and are discussing the next steps of development.

Being sensitive to tribe members’ personal retreats and the history of the land is also important to Warm Springs tribal members.

“We’ll take into consideration discussions with elders that have knowledge of the area,” says Jim Manion, general manager of Warm Springs Power and Water Enterprises.

Through town meetings the Umatilla tribal government hopes to mitigate disturbances to their members’ relationship to the land.

“Our view of the earth is the earth is our church and there are places where people go to find solace and meditate on the landscape,” says Harris. “If it happens to be on the spot where they put a windmill, I think that would disturb you.”



5th Generation Oregonian
0 #1 Please consider the long-term impact!5th Generation Oregonian 2009-09-03 12:21:28
There is so much pressure from all side to develop wind energy projects. I just beg people to slow down! Take a look at how these huge monsters impact our incredibly beautiful landscapes. You don't only get the windmills, you get the disruption caused by the roads and powerlines that serve them. Imagine what it is like to have the scenes you enjoy every day and night ruined by blinking red lights and industrial development. Is this truly "green" energy? What about the impact on the birds and wildlife, as well? Is the short term gain of jobs worth the long-term loss of what we love most about Oregon and what visitors come from all over the world to enjoy? Please, please! Take a breath and let's live with what we have for a while before we let them populate our entire scenic vistas. And, just because you can't see them from where you live, doesn't mean they aren't a blight on the landscape for the people who live within 30 miles of them!
Quote | Report to administrator

More Articles

Photo Log: Inside Portland Razor Co.

The Latest
Wednesday, October 14, 2015

2-sheets-IMG 4897


100 Best Nonprofits announced

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

1015-nonprofits01Oregon Business magazine has named the seventh annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon. The rankings were revealed Wednesday night during an awards dinner at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland.


Run, Nick, Run

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

Controversial track star Nick Symmonds is leveraging his celebrity to grow a performance chewing-gum brand. Fans hail his marketing ploys as genius. Critics dub them shameless.


5 questions for Ruby Jewel creator Lisa Herlinger

The Latest
Saturday, October 24, 2015

What's it like working with your sister and how do you compete in Portland's crowded artisan ice cream space?


Have a baby and keep a job? It won’t be easy in Portland

The Latest
Friday, October 02, 2015
100115kimblogthumbBY KIM MOORE

Our intrepid (and expecting) research editor finds the child care search involves long waiting lists, costly fees and no certainty of securing a place before she goes back to work.


There's a great future in plastics

Linda Baker
Friday, October 30, 2015
103115-lindachinathumbBY LINDA BAKER

This is a story about a small plastics company in wine country now exporting more than one million feet — 260 miles worth — of tubing to China every month.


5 facts about the teaching profession in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, October 08, 2015

Based on several metrics, Oregon has one of the lowest performing K-12 education systems in the country. Teacher compensation is part of the problem.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02