Visioning a Center for Tribal Nations and Waterfront Education Park in the OMSI District

OMSI District

It started as a shared vision.

It started as a shared vision; the creation of a Center for Tribal Nations and a waterfront education park developed by Tribes, Indigenous organizations, and community partners to restore the Native community’s presence on the Willamette and address the shared challenges of sustainability, resilience, and inclusion.

Together in 2020, OMSI, the City of Portland, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) and the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) received an Equitable Development Grant as part of the Metro’s 2040 Planning and Development Grant program. ATNI led Tribal outreach in January 2021, and the Center for Tribal Nations Advisory Committee then led a process to consider the optimal combination of programs, uses, and activities as well as the values and principles that should guide future efforts to bring this vision to life.

In September 2022, ATNI convened its Annual Conference and invited the Advisory Committee facilitators, the City of Portland Office of Tribal Relations, and OMSI to share information about this project. Using its most influential policy mechanism, ATNI passed a resolution to “support the Center for Tribal Nations and Waterfront Education Park projects, including the visions and tribal and community-centered planning processes deployed to design and develop these projects for  the benefit of Tribes, tribal and inter-tribal organizations, and American Indian and Alaska Native residents of the greater Portland region.” (Resolution #2022 – 44).

This was an important step forward in solidifying Indigenous support for a Center for Tribal Nations and a waterfront education park. A full report by the Center for Tribal Nations Advisory Committee and design teams will be completed in January 2023, and this partnership continues to work together to see its shared vision come to life.

Future OMSI District

The OMSI District Master Plan is to create a one-of-a-kind neighborhood that is an inclusive community destination with innovation, culture, arts, and science learning at its heart.

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