Tribes reclaim historic Warm Springs Commissary as a place to foster the success of Native entrepreneurs

We are honored today to join in celebrating the beginning of a new chapter in Warm Springs history. Witnessing the relocation of the historic Warm Springs Commissary this morning marked an important step in the Tribes reclaiming this symbol of oppression and transforming it into a place for fostering the success of Native entrepreneurs. This project goes straight to the heart of The Roundhouse Foundation mission and we’re proud to support it.

The 126-year-old commissary, the oldest building on the Warm Springs reservation, formerly held grains, provisions and household goods meant to replace tribes’ traditional ways of economic and basic-needs security. In its new, highly visible location off Highway 26, it will be remodeled and open next year as a place for opportunity—launching and growing businesses—as well as a place of celebration, community and opportunity.

It will offer the local community retail spaces, co-working office spaces, food-cart pod spaces, a commercial kitchen for food-based businesses, an outdoor market and pavilion spaces and room for classes and conferences. The new space will be home to the Warm Springs Economic Grounds Business Incubator Program, a Food Truck Training Program, Business Support Services and other business development services. Economic Grounds will be the flagship program of the Commissary, providing mentoring, classes and resources to nurture, launch and grow Native-owned businesses.

“The project is a direct response to combat barriers local entrepreneurs are facing when trying to start a small business in the Warm Springs community,” according to the Warm Springs Community Action Team, which is leading the project. “Not only is the project an opportunity to have a lasting impact that shapes the economic future on the Warm Springs Reservation, it represents an opportunity to heal, an opportunity to hope, an opportunity for change.”

Guided by the values held by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to live in harmony with the natural world, the renewed Commissary will be the first net-zero design on the reservation—all of the energy used by the commissary will be offset by the renewable energy it creates. It is designed to set a foundation to build a thriving reservation-based economy.

“Joining the Warm Springs community in seeing the Commissary find its new home—and future—today was truly a cause for celebration,” said Erin Borla, executive director of The Roundhouse Foundation. “The reimagined Commissary is precisely the kind of creative solution The Roundhouse Foundation is dedicated to supporting—connecting people with each other, their sense of place, and sustainability for long-term economic success in Oregon’s rural communities.”

Moving the building to its new location is a visual statement of a community that’s open for business. The Commissary’s thoughtfully designed space, rooted in community, presents Warm Springs as a destination and a regional resource. 

“For visitors, clients, tourists, friends, families and business partners, we are eager to provide this welcoming space and the vast cultural wealth within–from authentic art to local food to innovative businesses,” according to the Warm Springs Community Action Team, or WSCAT. “Outdoor spaces and multiple uses extend the Commissary’s value far beyond its walls. Much more than a building, the Commissary will create a community gathering place that anchors visitors and local community members to the cultural, social and economic identities of the Confederated Tribes, while inspiring all who visit to reimagine what is possible.”

Published On: April 5th, 2022 / Categories: Featured Grant Stories, Grant News /