Progress for Addressing Columbia River Tribal Housing Crisis & Restoring & Protecting Columbia River

December 16, 2016

Dear Friend,

Given your interest in living conditions of Native American tribes along the Columbia River, as well as the overall health of the River, I wanted to share with you encouraging updates in our efforts.

Important Step Toward Addressing Columbia River Tribal Housing Crisis

Last week, Congress passed a proposal that I introduced with Senator Jeff Merkley and other members of the Pacific Northwest delegation to help construct housing for the four Columbia River Treaty Tribes displaced by the construction of the three lower Columbia River Dams. 

The impact of the dams has been devastating, with many tribal communities living in makeshift housing with limited water resources and serious sanitation and safety concerns. I’ve visited some of these sites and have seen firsthand how critical it is that the federal government step up and honor its obligations, and improve living conditions and provide more housing for these tribes.

These are issues that have been ignored for too long so last week was an important step forward. While we’re on our way to righting this wrong, much more needs to be done. I’ve introduced legislation to improve basic living conditions at the sites now, like inadequate water supplies and electrical issues. I won’t stop fighting until the federal government meets its basic responsibilities to improve the conditions of these sites and deal with unmet tribal housing needs.

A Win for Restoring & Protecting the Columbia River

Last week, Congress also passed the Columbia River Restoration Act, legislation Senator Jeff Merkley and I introduced to help reduce pollution and improve the water quality of the Columbia River.

The Columbia is the lifeblood of the Pacific Northwest, but as you know, it’s become seriously degraded – with the health of humans, wildlife, and our environment at stake. We have a responsibility to protect and restore this critical resource. 

Passage of this legislation is a significant win for these efforts by allowing the EPA to establish a voluntary, competitive grants program to provide funding for projects that assist in reducing pollution, cleaning up contaminated sites, improving water quality, monitoring, and promoting citizen engagement. (Click here to learn more.)

While both of these wins are progress, our work is far from done. We have our work cut out for us next year with a new Congress and new Administration. Your engagement and advocacy on these important issues is making a difference. Thank you.

Best wishes for your holiday season.



Earl Blumenauer

Member of Congress