NESPELEM, WASHINGTON—The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the Franklin County Public Utility District (PUD) have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for a potential future lease of Colville Tribes’ property in Pasco for the construction and operation of a new substation.

The LOI is for a long term lease with the PUD for approximately 5-7 acres of tribal property, with the price to be determined by the parties at a later date.

“The Colville Tribes and the Franklin PUD will work cooperatively on this project, which will result in increased electrical service to the citizens of this area,” Colville Tribal Chairman Rodney Cawston said today. “The Colville Tribes will continue to be a good neighbor to area residents and assist, in whatever way we can, to support worthy causes such as this. We are very pleased to join with the PUD in this effort.”

Scott Rhees, Franklin PUD General Manager, said the agreement is an important step forward for the region. “In order to remain a respected and reliable steward of our electric system, Franklin PUD needs partners like the Colville Tribes and others in our communities.” Rhees said. “As our community continues to grow substations like this one will be vital to providing low cost reliable power to our customers.”

Last year the Tribes purchased property in Pasco as part of its long-term plan to recognize the area as the homeland of the Palus, one of the twelve Tribes in the Colville Confederation, and to increase public awareness of Palus history and culture in the region. The Tribes has previously signed an Agreement in Principle with the City of Pasco, outlining how the two governments will cooperate on matters of mutual interest and benefit.

“The agreement between the Colville Tribes and Franklin County PUD for this use of tribally-owned land will improve power system reliability for all, and speaks to the Tribes’ commitment to partnerships within the region,” Pasco Mayor Saul Martinez said. “The City looks forward to working with the Colville Tribes as they move forward with plans to develop their Pasco holdings.”

Chairman Cawston welcomed the signing of the LOI as “another step in a series of collaborative efforts we hope will come to fruition, for the benefit of everyone. Improving the Franklin PUD infrastructure, which provides power to this rapidly-growing area, will result in expanded economic development and increased employment opportunities,” he said.

“This lease agreement will be a critical link to providing reliable and sufficient power to the King City industrial area, our food processors and the future development of the Port of Pasco’s Reimann Industrial Park, along with the jobs they support and will create,” Mayor Martinez said.

The LOI provides a blueprint for future negotiations between the Tribes and Franklin County PUD. The details of a lease will be discussed by the representatives of both parties in 2021.

“This is a great opportunity that will provide benefit for Franklin PUD customers for many years to come,” Rhees said. “We look forward to collaborating on this project with the Colville Tribes.”

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