CTUIR Receives Washington Governor’s Award for Port of Kennewick Collaboration

on 3/12/2024 4:00:00 PM

KENNEWICK, Wash. – Officials with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) joined other dignitaries March 12 at the Port of Kennewick to receive the Governor’s Smart Communities Awards for collaborating to restore and revitalize Clover Island.

Gathered at the Clover Island Lighthouse Plaza, the awards were presented to the CTUIR, Port of Kennewick, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District, Washington Recreation & Conservation Office, Benton County and City of Kennewick.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, I’d like to congratulate the Port of Kennewick and its partners for outstanding work done for the Clover Island Shoreline Restoration Project and Wiyákuktpa (The Gathering Place),” CTUIR Chairman Gary I. Burke said. “These projects were done in support and partnership with the CTUIR to enhance aquatic and wildlife habitat, improve public access to the Clover Island shoreline and education and outreach on the tribal history of the island.”

Burke said the island and the surrounding area was a winter village of the Walúulapam or Walla Walla people and is known as Ánwaš or sun’s place. 

“Clover Island is located within the ceded, aboriginal and usual and accustomed lands of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and as recognized in our Treaty of 1855. Many tribal members from the CTUIR continue to work, reside and exercise their reserved treaty rights in this area,” he added. “Today, we celebrate with the Port of Kennewick, and we recognize and respect the work the Port has done in preserving, protecting and promoting the cultural and economic interests of its constituents and the CTUIR. We are honored to continuing to work closely with the Port of Kennewick to protect this special place, its resources and its history in pursuit of a stronger future for us all.”

According to the Port of Kennewick, the restoration project partners were selected as the Governor’s Smart Communities Award recipients for their multiyear, multiphase, collaborative effort to restore and revitalize Clover Island.

The partnership has leveraged the strengths of each agency to transform an economically distressed area into a destination waterfront, port officials said.

In 2008, port officials began seeking partners to help transform the island’s eroding, concrete-covered shoreline into a stable, sustainable habitat and foster upland development with artwork and inviting recreational amenities.

The project stabilized nearly a mile of the Columbia River shoreline to allow development; built a fully-functioning, U.S. Coast Guard-approved lighthouse; and added public amenities. Those amenities include the Clover Island Riverwalk, 10 public art installations, a renovated boat launch, restrooms, paved parking, benches, a picnic area, five educational panels and 11 scenic viewpoints. The restoration also created four commercial waterfront parcels the port is working to lease for private-sector development.

“Using extensive community input, the port developed the Clover Island Redevelopment Master Plan, and from there the port made some improvements on our own, but we realized we couldn’t do this without help from partners,” Skip Novakovich, Port of Kennewick Board of Commissioners president, said. “And so we developed a lot of partners that we’re thankful are here today – City of Kennewick, Benton County, the CTUIR, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Washington State Recreation & Conservation Office. While we understand that the port owns Clover Island, we also recognize that it’s within the homelands and ceded territory of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and we wanted to ensure that whatever we did on the island or in this area was with their blessing.”

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.