MISSION - Members and employees of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation got their first look Tuesday at plans for a new public safety building.
The building would hold the tribal police station and emergency management facilities. Jim Beard, comprehensive planner for CTUIR, said he anticipates the building's completion by mid-2006 to cost between $1.25 and $2 million.
The building is planned as part of a sprawling new complex for tribal government offices. Beard expects construction of the public safety building first because federal grant money has been obtained for that construction. The building would be constructed in three phases.
Phase I would enable tribal police and emergency management staff to move into a 6,600-square-foot building. Phase II would add offices and conference rooms, among other amenities. Phase III would add bays for emergency management vehicles and fire trucks, which currently sit out in the open.
The site, near the southwest corner of the Mission Road intersection, provides views of the Blue Mountains and the Umatilla River valley.
The architects, from the Seattle firm Jones & Jones, planned to incorporate sustainable materials and energy-saving techniques into the building.
"We tried to make this building as green, as sustainable as possible within budget," architect Mario Campos said.
Chris Burford, managing attorney for the tribes, advocated a flexible design that could accommodate changes in the structure of tribal government.
"Almost on a yearly basis, departments are created or disassembled," Burford said.
Beard predicted that the often volatile structure of tribal government would stabilize in the coming decade.
"I think that's plausible," Burford responded. "I don't know that it's inevitable."
A plan to incorporate native grasses sparked concern from one tribal member, N.A. DuMont, who said he didn't want a weed-infested look that would give visitors the wrong message. The architects said they could incorporate native grasses in a "controlled" way that would enhance the site.
The architects also planned to make use of the particular art and culture of the Umatilla, Cayuse and Walla Walla tribes to enhance the building.
Tribal members said the new buildings carry heavy symbolism for them and the buildings should reflect that.
"When you look at the state Capitol or D.C., this is our version," Marcus Luke II said. "We're not depleted from this land, we're still here, our heart's still beating."