Flat Kendall visits Grand Ronde and Fort Yamhill

I had the opportunity to visit Spirit Mountain Casino and the Grand Ronde area as part of a tour for meeting planners. While I’m not officially a meeting planner, I do have some input on where our company holds their off site events. We’ve driven by the Spirit Mountain Casino and the Grand Ronde area many times on our way to the beach. We got to see it all at a slower pace when we rode Reach the Beach a few years ago on our bikes. However, I’ve never had the opportunity to learn more about the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon – until this past week, that is.

The tour included a tour of the property at Spirit Mountain Casino, including the meeting rooms and social event areas, a guided bus tour of the Grand Ronde Community, and an overnight stay at the casino hotel. I appreciated that they took the time to tell us a little bit about the history of the Confederated Tribes, and we got to see where some of the money generated from the casino is being used.

Flat Kendall at the Spirit Mountain casino hotel
A better view of the hotel

While Kendall couldn’t go with us, Flat Kendall went along for the ride. I only snapped a few pictures at the hotel, and then we headed out into the community.

Bronze statue in the lobby of the hotel

The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon consists of the Umpqua, Molalla, Rogue River, Kalapuya, Chasta, and many other Tribes. In the 1850’s the Tribes were moved from a temporary reservation north of Fort Rock in southern Oregon across 263 miles to a location near Grand Ronde. You can visit the location at the newly opened Fort Yamhill State Heritage Center.

In the nearby community, there is a health center, an education center, an elders center, elder housing, elder foster care, and family housing. There are currently about 5500 members of the Confederated Tribes, and many live right here in the community. There is also a veterans’ memorial that pays tribute to everyone, whether they are members of the Tribe, or not, who have served in the armed services. Each year they hold an unveiling of the new names that have been added to the memorial.

The Veterans' Memorial in the Grand Ronde Community

The Fort Yamhill State Heritage Center is a short drive from the community center. There is an area when you first drive in where they hold pow-wows in July and August. There is a plank house, also known as a long house, and an informational trail. At the top of the hill there is a half-mile long interpretive trail.

Informational kiosk at Fort Yamhill
Information on Fort Yamhill

While gambling is not our “thing”, it was an interesting visit to the casino hotel and the surrounding area. One thing to keep in mind is that smoking is still allowed in the casino even though it isn’t allowed in other Oregon restaurants, bars, and public buildings.

If you’d like to learn more about the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, visit their web site.