Siletz Tribe holds election

Members of the tribal council of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians are: Reggie Butler Sr., left, Lillie Butler, Loraine Y. Butler, Robert Kentta, Angela Ramirez, Selene Rilatos, Sharon Edenfield, Bud Lane and Delores Pigsley. (Courtesy photo)

Loraine Y. Butler, Robert Kentta and Selene Rilatos were elected to the tribal council of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians in elections held on Feb. 1.

Butler, from Siletz, was re-elected with 391 votes; Kentta, from Logsden, was re-elected with 434 votes; and Rilatos, from Toledo, was elected with 268 votes. Ten candidates ran for the three open positions, and the three who received the most votes were elected.

These individuals will serve with Reggie Butler Sr., Sharon Edenfield and Angela Ramirez, all of Siletz, whose terms expire in 2021; and with Lillie Butler and Alfred (Bud) Lane III, both of Siletz, and Delores Pigsley of Keizer, whose terms expire in 2022. Term of office is three years for each position on the nine-member council.

A total of 822 ballots were returned and accepted. Enrolled members of the Siletz Tribe who are age 18 and older are eligible to vote in tribal elections. The tribe has more than 5,400 enrolled members.

The swearing-in ceremony for the newly elected council members took place on Sunday, Feb. 2. Officers are elected on an annual basis, and those selected for 2020 include Delores Pigsley, chairman; Bud Lane, vice chairman; Sharon Edenfield, secretary; and Robert Kentta, treasurer.

Pigsley has served more than 34 years as tribal chairman out of her 41 years on the council, while Lillie Butler has served 28; Reggie Butler, 23; Bud Lane, 22; Robert Kentta and Loraine Butler, 15 each; Sharon Edenfield, nearly 10 years; Gloria Ingle, six years; and Angela Ramirez, two years.

The Siletz Tribe has spent the last 42 years rebuilding its government and economic structure. The signing of Public Law 95-195 in 1977, which restored government-to-government relations between the Siletz Tribe and the federal government, started this process. The Siletz Tribe was the second in the nation — and the first in Oregon — to achieve restoration.

The Siletz Tribe was among the first to become a self-governance Tribe, giving tribal government more control over services provided to tribal members. Under self-governance, the U.S. government provides general funding to the tribe (rather than to specific programs), and then tribal employees and the tribal council decide how funds will be spent.

Tribal accomplishments since restoration include opening the original health clinic in 1991 and a new much larger clinic in 2010; building more than 150 homes and multiple dwellings for tribal members, including 28 units at Neachesna Village in Lincoln City that have opened since 2009, 19 apartments in Siletz that opened in 2010 and 20 homes in the Tillamook subdivision in Siletz that have opened since 2013; completing the Siletz Dance House in 1996; opening the Tenas Illahee Childcare Center in 2003; opening the Tillicum Fitness Center and a new USDA food distribution warehouse in Siletz in 2008; and opening the Siletz Recreation Center in 2009.

Through its economic development division, the Siletz Tribal Business Corporation, the tribe purchased the  Lincoln Shores office complex in Lincoln City in 2001 and opened the Siletz Gas & Mini-Mart in Siletz in 2004, the Logan Road RV Park in Lincoln City in 2004 and the Hee Hee Illahee RV Resort in Salem in 2006.

Tribal offices in Portland, Salem and Eugene are housed in tribally owned buildings.

The tribe also played a lead role in opening the Siletz Valley School in 2003 and the Siletz Valley Early College Academy in 2006.

The Siletz Tribal Arts & Heritage Society was formed in 2013 as a nonprofit to enhance the tribe’s ability to develop the Siletz Tribal Cultural Center. It also helps the tribe with acquiring object and archival collections.

Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City opened in 1995. In 2004, the Siletz Tribe purchased the former Shilo Inn adjacent to the casino and opened Chinook Winds Casino Resort. Chinook Winds Golf Resort opened in 2005 when the tribe purchased the former Lakeside Golf and Fitness Center in Lincoln City.

The combination of tribal employees and those at Chinook Winds Casino Resort has made the Siletz Tribe the largest employer in Lincoln County.

The Siletz Tribe has honored its tradition of sharing within the community by distributing more than $17.6 million through the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund and other tribal resources. Chinook Winds has donated more than $6.5 million in cash and fundraising items since 1995. It also provides in-kind donations of convention space for various fund-raisers as well as technical support, advertising and manpower for events.

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