Following months of negotiation, energy company PacifiCorp and the Yakama Nation have agreed that the nation will have a Right of First Offer for as much as 289 acres of land along the White Salmon River.
PacifiCorp, which has owned the land since the early 1900s as part of the operation of the Condit Hydroelectric Project, recently satisfied all federal requirements concerning the river’s rehabilitation following the removal of the Condit Dam in 2012. The company may look to sell the property in the future, but no timeline for putting the property on the market exists. At this time, the property is not for sale.
“We wanted to be as transparent as possible,” said Todd Olson, director of hydro compliance. “Having been involved in the White Salmon community for more than a century, we know there is a tremendous amount of interest in what happens to the lands on both sides of the river below the former dam site. The agreement with the Nation is not a sale agreement but demonstrates our intention and the values we share with the Yakama and the people who use and love the river.”
“The Yakama Nation and PacifiCorp have worked together for decades in the White Salmon Basin and elsewhere in our traditional homelands,” said Virgil Lewis Sr., Tribal Council Vice-Chairman. “We are pleased to jointly announce this Right of First Offer of PacifiCorp’s lands along the lower White Salmon River: a unique opportunity to preserve in perpetuity critical river and upland habitats that sustain our way of life. We will continue to work with our partners throughout the Yakama Nation’s traditional territories in order to honor, protect and restore our culture and the natural resources on which it depends, and to uphold our promise to the Creator to speak for those resources that cannot speak for themselves.”
The land included in the agreement begins at the former dam site down river to where the White Salmon flows into the Columbia. The still standing Condit Powerhouse is part of the property covered by the agreement. The agreement does not include company-owned property further upriver where leased cabin sites and Northwestern Park are located.