Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians - 2011 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Siletz Indians, Confederated Tribes of
Location: Siletz, OR
Project Title: Next Step for STEP
Type of Application: First Steps (Planning)
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0005049
Project Amounts:
DOE: $78,400
Awardee: $0
Total: $78,400
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2011
End: December 2012


The Siletz Tribal Energy Program (STEP), housed in the tribe's Planning Department, will hire a data entry coordinator to collect, enter, analyze, and store all the current and future energy efficiency and renewable energy data pertaining to administrative structures the tribe owns and operates and homes in which tribal members live.

The proposed data entry coordinator will conduct an energy options analysis in collaboration with the rest of the Siletz Tribal Energy Program and Planning Department staff. An energy options analysis will result in a thorough understanding of tribal energy resources and consumption, an indication of whether energy efficiency and conservation measures being implemented are having the desired effect, analysis of tribal energy loads (current and future energy consumption), and evaluation of local and commercial energy supply options. A literature search will also be conducted.

In order to educate additional tribal members about renewable energy, we will send four tribal members to be trained to install and maintain solar panels, solar hot water heaters, wind turbines and/or micro-hydro. Training will be held in 2012. Training will be held out of state and will be conducted by a leading provider of renewable energy education.

Project Description


The reservation is located approximately 10 miles east of Newport, Oregon, in the valley along the popular and well known Siletz River. The word Siletz translates into "coiled like a snake," describing the route of the river winding around the land and mountains to the ocean. The tribe owns a checkerboard of approximately 15,000 acres in and around the small city of Siletz. The population of Siletz is approximately 1,000, and the population of the Siletz Reservation is approximately 600. Most of the land is steep, mountainous terrain in the Coast Range of Oregon. The climate is a mild maritime climate with cool, dry summers followed by mild, wet winters. The majority of precipitation accumulates in the form of rain, with snow during the winter months at the higher elevations, but no permanent snowpack.

When the tribe was restored in 1977, the tribal population was 1,083. Today there are 4,762 enrolled Siletz tribal members, with 68% living in Oregon and only 8% living near Siletz on the 3,900-acre reservation. An additional 6% live in the town of Siletz, and 22.6% live in Lincoln County, the county in which Siletz is located. About 1,076 tribal members live in Lincoln County and are the first ones being served by the Siletz Tribal Energy Program (STEP).

There are 445 households in the city of Siletz; about half are occupied by tribal members. There are an additional 143 households on the Siletz reservation, adjacent to the town of Siletz. The Siletz tribe owns and occupies approximately 30 structures not used for housing in and around Siletz, and 35 more in western Oregon. The tribe occupies and manages 15,171 acres in its 11-county service area, including 4,121 acres held in trust by the U.S. government.

Since restoration, the Siletz Tribal Council has worked to overcome the physical, economic, social, financial, governmental, and institutional challenges of isolation in a small, rural coastal town—limited access to medical care, lack of housing, poverty and joblessness, and barriers to a good education—through the establishment of a strong self-governance model of tribal government and the development of health, education, social service, culture and language, employment training, and economic development programs to meet the needs of its membership.

The STEP, housed in the tribe's Planning Department, was formed in 2009 and is funded by the Administration for Native Americans Social and Economic Development Strategy grant to write an energy management plan, provide training for energy analysts and weatherization installers, develop partnerships with other agencies and power companies, and oversee weatherization activities. Training tribal members and employees ensures a labor pool for the tribe's weatherization efforts and promotes self-sufficiency as tribal members learn a new marketable family wage earning skill. Through the Recovery Act, the tribe also received an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant to develop an energy management strategy, audit and retrofit homes and administrative buildings, and provide environmental education. A Low Income Weatherization grant and Low Income Weatherization training and technical assistance grants from Oregon, as a grantee of the U.S. Department of Energy, and money from the Bonneville Power Authority  provide additional funding.

The Climate Showcase Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was recently awarded to the tribe, which will use the funding to install solar panels on its Tillicum Fitness Center to reduce energy costs and showcase renewable energy. The tribe will also perform a study on the practical application of using renewable energy technology to reduce heat islands in the Siletz built environment, provide education, continue energy audits, and install a weather station.

All grants include a data gathering component in order to establish a baseline to the tribe's energy use and ongoing data gathering from utility bills and usage meters. New data will also be available from the solar panel installation and weather station. The local utility company has just begun to install "smart meters," which will provide additional data to the community and the tribe.

Project Objectives

Data will be entered and analyzed by the proposed data entry coordinator in order to better understand the tribe's progress in terms of energy efficiency and conservation. Data analysis will also help guide the direction the tribe will take should it decide to go forward with a program after grant resources are depleted. Data from this project will be analyzed by the Siletz Tribal Energy Program Coordinator and presented to the Siletz Tribal Council should it require information to make decisions about the tribe's future energy options.

The funding will also enable the training of four tribal members in the renewable energy field. The tribe recently constructed tribally owned apartments with solar water heaters and had to hire outside contractors to install and maintain them. The proposed training would allow for in-house work on these solar water heaters as well as planned installations in the future. Keeping employment in house retains family wage jobs, helping to ensure tribal members' individual self-sufficiency and benefitting other tribal members as well.

This grant will be used to create a Limited Duration (one year long) Data Entry Coordinator position that will perform the duties listed below:

  • Establish a baseline for the tribe's energy use by examining past utility bills, both residential and commercial.

  • Continue data gathering after energy efficiency measures are taken to determine their effects.

  • Gather data on energy produced by new solar panels on the Wellness Center.

  • Gather data from the weather station to measure potential to produce energy from renewable sources (wind and solar).

  • Analyze data to predict future consumption.

  • Analyze data to better understand the tribe's progress in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy and to provide information to guide future tribal energy options.

  • Literature search to locate information and data about the local area collected by other sources.

  • The proposed grant also provides for training on renewable energy technologies, which could include solar electric, solar hot water, wind, and micro-hydro.

Project Location

The Siletz reservation is located approximately 10 miles east of Newport, Oregon, in the valley along the popular and well known Siletz River. The tribe owns a checkerboard of approximately 15,000 acres in and around the small city of Siletz. Most of the land is steep mountainous terrain in the Coast Range of Oregon.

Project Status

This project is complete. For details, see the final report.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2010 funding opportunity announcement "First Steps Toward Developing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency on Tribal Lands" (DE-FOA-0000422) and started September 30, 2011.

The November 2011 and November 2012 project status reports provide more information.

For current project status or additional information, please contact the project contact(s).

Project Contact

Brenda Bremner
General Manager
PO Box 549
Siletz, OR 97380

Claire Wood
Project Coordinator
PO Box 549
Siletz, OR 97380

Bonnie Petersen
Assistant General Manager
PO Box 549
Siletz, OR 97380