2 Walkways Near Nixyáawii Governance Center Officially Open

on 6/18/2024 8:00:00 AM

MISSION – Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) officials on Monday, June 17 formally opened two public walkways near the Nixyáawii Governance Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The Safe Routes to School Path sidewalk and Community Paths trail are part of a $1.5 million project to provide foot and bicycle access to the Nixyáawii Community School (NCS), Cay-Uma-Wa Head Start, Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center and governance center.

“I would like to congratulate all the companies… and all the funding sources that were involved, all the workers who helped prepare this special day for our tribe, for our community, for our children,” CTUIR Chairman Gary l. Burke said. “People who want to stay healthy now have a safe place to walk, a safe place to be for our reservation. Thanks to all of you for making this accomplishment for our reservation.”

The Safe Routes sidewalk stretches 1,200 feet south from Mission Road along Highway 331 to Timíne Way, the governance center’s entry road. The Community Paths trail diverges from the Safe Routes sidewalk after about 475 feet and connects to a path on the governance center’s north side.

Combined the two walkways cover approximately 1,700 linear feet while adding wheelchair accessible ramps and lighting. Crosswalks at three of the four corners of the Mission and South Market roads intersection are also marked. The unmarked crosswalk is on the intersection’s northwest corner where there are no residences or businesses.

CTUIR Transportation Planner Dani Schulte said prior to submitting Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) grant applications in 2020, the tribe’s Planning Office identified the four-corners intersection as needing attention. Planning officials also noticed many public comments submitted requested more safe paths for walking, biking and horse riding.

“So many people contributed to this, and I’m so happy that we have a safe place for this community to walk and roll,” Schulte said. “And I hope we keep building on that success and make this community safer for folks who either choose to get around in a way other than their vehicle or don’t choose and just use that walking and biking as their way of getting around.”

Construction crews broke ground on the walking paths project in April. Eastern Oregon Contracting in Milton-Freewater handled the Safe Routes sidewalk, while Bryson Picard Grading & Excavating in Pendleton built the Community Paths trail. Crews are expected to have the paths fully done by July.

Schulte said ODOT grants provided approximately $1.44 million, while the CTUIR allocated $65,000 from its Capital Improvements Fund.

She added that the CTUIR has applied for three additional grants worth $4.5 million for pedestrian improvements on Mission Road. If the grants are obtained, improvements would start where Mission Road connects to Timíne Way going east to Short Mile Road.

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is comprised of the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla Tribes, and formed under the Treaty of 1855 at the Walla Walla Valley, 12 Stat. 945. In 1949, the Tribes adopted a constitutional form of government to protect, preserve and enhance the reserved treaty rights guaranteed under federal law.