Monday May 9, 2022

Yakima Herald-Republic

Inadequate sewer and power systems, unsuitable housing or shelter, increasing crime, lack of internet or cellphone service, drinking water wells that are easily contaminated, and abandoned vehicles and boats — those are just some of the problems that have stacked up for managers of the 31 so-called “in-lieu” and “treaty fishing access sites” along the Columbia River.

The federal government created the sites in Washington and Oregon after the construction of dams on the river flooded tribal villages and fishing sites and displaced citizens of the four Columbia River treaty tribes whose ancestors had lived along the river and relied on its salmon for thousands of years.

But now, after the four treaty tribes have fought for years to be compensated for the loss of the land, the federal government says it’s serious about finally addressing the sites’ infrastructure deficiencies.

During a tour of three sites on May 3, the top federal official overseeing tribal affairs in the U.S. announced that the government would provide $880,000 to allow for the development of a plan to upgrade infrastructure at three of some of the neediest tribal treaty fishing sites. The money will also be used to tackle immediate problems like fixing shower and bathroom facilities and removing hundreds of abandoned vehicles and boats.

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