WRO Staff / Friday, July 10 @ 4:40 p.m. / Tribes
Yuroks Use COVID-19 Federal Relief Dollars to Break Ground on Emergency Operations Center
The Yurok Tribe is using COVID-19 federal relief dollars to build a new emergency operations center near its Klamath headquarters.
From a tribal Facebook post:
Today, the Yurok Tribal Council broke ground on a brand new, centrally located Emergency Operations Center in Klamath.
“This is a good day for the Yurok people,” said Joseph L. James, the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “The new facility will serve the Tribe during the pandemic and it will provide a permanent base of operations for future emergencies. We are extremely excited about this project and what it means for our community.”
“The emergency center is something we have needed for a really long time and I am very excited to see it finally become a reality. This critical piece of infrastructure will benefit the community for many decades to come,” added Ryan Ray, the Yurok Tribal Council’s Requa District Representative.
Once complete, the Emergency Operations Center will house the Yurok Incident Command Team. Should the need arise, a portion of the building can also be used to isolate mildly ill, COVID-19 patients until they are no longer contagious. The approximately 19,000 square foot facility will include: a spacious command center, several multipurpose rooms, kitchen, laundry facilities, fitness area, restrooms, showers and a locker room.
Located on Klamath Boulevard, across the street from the Yurok Tribe’s Headquarters and the Yurok Justice Center, the emergency hub is situated in an ideal spot. The Tribal Council selected the site because of its proximity the most populated part of the Yurok Reservation. The centralized location also presents an optimal meeting place for tribal leadership, Incident Command and the Yurok Police Department.
The Yurok Emergency Operations Center is being constructed with funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In addition to the emergency infrastructure, the Tribal Council has invested CARES Act dollars into a COVID-19 Relief Fund Program.
The Yurok Alliance CDFI-administered program offers forgivable loans to help tribal business owners and entrepreneurs stay solvent during this recession. The Tribe has also sent $1,250 checks to tribal citizens, over the age of 18 (by December 30, 2020), who are facing financial challenges because of the pandemic.
On March 13, the Yurok Tribal Council issued an emergency declaration, mobilizing more than 100 staff members to confront the many facets of this unparalleled public health emergency. On April 6, the Tribe closed the reservation to visitors and instituted a curfew.
The Tribal Council also issued an order requiring residents to wear face coverings in public. To date, there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Yurok Reservation.
Pacific Builders, a Humboldt County-based construction firm, is building the new facility.
For more information, please visit yurokoes.org.