Cowlitz Tribe Gifts Port

When the Cowlitz Indian Reservation was taken into trust in 2010, tribal leaders recognized that local municipalities and schools would lose part of their tax base. So, at the Port of Ridgefield’s April 24 meeting, Cowlitz Tribe representative Phil Harju addressed the port commission to explain a gift of nearly $14,000 made to the port in March.

“A commitment was made by the tribe that when the casino was up and running, we would provide the missing tax dollars to those affected,” Harju said. “The money was available in March of this year, so we paid what was lost to the taxing districts from 2015 to 2019.”

Other Clark County taxing districts received funds from the tribe, depending on the percentage of the overall tax base allocated to each entity. The total amount paid out by the tribe, which has committed to these payments on an annual, going-forward basis, was $602,000.

Commissioner Joe Melroy expressed his appreciation for the tribe’s action. “Thank you for keeping the promise made long ago.”