The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs & City of Bend to Sign Memorandum of Understanding


On March 6, 2024, the Bend City Council will review and vote to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon and the City of Bend.

This is a historic agreement between the City of Bend and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. In the Treaty of 1855, the Tribes ceded approximately ten million acres of land while establishing the Warm Springs Reservation — which stretches from the summit of the Cascade Mountains to the cliffs of the Deschutes River in Central Oregon— for the exclusive use of its tribal members. The Treaty also includes reserved rights to fish, hunt, and gather roots and berries within specific areas outside of the Warm Springs Reservation.

The MOU is the first of its kind between the Tribe and a city in Central Oregon. It establishes a regular, rotating annual meeting schedule between the City Council and the Tribal Council on matters of common interest.

The purpose of this MOU is to provide a coordinating framework for strengthening the government-to-government relationship between the parties in a manner that promotes awareness of, and respect for, each party’s interests, values, and cultures. Topics of mutual interest include the equitable use of the water resources of the Deschutes Basin, responsible land use, cultural resource protection, and sustainable regional economic development.

“As the original stewards of this land, we know that caring for and preserving our shared natural resources requires strong partnerships with other governments,” said Jonathan W. Smith, Sr., Chairman of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Council. “We see this MOU with the City of Bend as the first formal step in forging an important partnership and as an example, we’d like to replicate with other governments in the region.”

“Signing this Memorandum of Understanding is vital for the success and longevity of both the Tribes and the City of Bend as we care for and live on the Tribes ceded lands,” said Mayor Melanie Kebler. “We are excited to continue this partnership and work together to better our connected communities.”

The MOU provides that the parties will hold at least one staff-level government-to-government consultation each year. The Tribe’s Secretary-Treasurer/CEO and the City Manager (or designees) will be responsible for scheduling the consultation and developing the agenda. The Parties will endeavor to hold the consultation by March 30 each year, alternating locations between Bend and Warm Springs.

The MOU was discussed on November 1, 2023, when the City Council was honored to host the Tribal Council at a joint meeting during the City Council work session.  This first intergovernmental meeting reinforced the commitment Bend City Council has in forging a strong relationship with the Tribes, as the people of Bend care for, live, and work on the Tribe’s ceded lands. At the meeting Robert Brunoe, Secretary-Treasurer/CEO of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, provided an overview of the Tribe and its history in the region, and the Tribe’s Good Neighbor Policy to move common interests forward; Mayor Kebler reviewed the city governance structure and current Council Goals; and City Manager Eric King reviewed common topics of interest including basin water resources, land use and growth, and economic development and opportunities, including housing.

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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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