Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has nominated Charles "Chuck" Sams III to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
If approved by the Oregon Senate, Sams—the interim executive director of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation—will begin a three-year term April 1, replacing Ted Ferrioli, whose term expired in January.
In an email to Clearing Up, Sams said he grew up on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in northeast Oregon, and is Cayuse, Walla Walla, Cocopah and Yankton Sioux. He has held executive and management positions for numerous nonprofit natural-resource groups and in tribal government for more than 25 years.
He is currently serving as chair to the Oregon Cultural Trust, vice chair of the Gray Family Foundation, board member to Cayuse Holdings, and advisor to the Confluence Project and Columbia Land Trust.
Sams is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, where he served as an intelligence specialist, and holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Concordia University, and a master of legal studies in Indigenous peoples law from the University of Oklahoma School of Law.
He lives in Pendleton, Ore., with his wife, Lori and their four children.
Sams is not the first tribal member to serve on the Council, according to Council spokesman John Harrison. Rhonda Whiting, of the Salish and Kootenai Tribe, served on the Council from January 2005 until January 2013. She became vice chairwoman in January 2012, and was elected chairwoman in August 2012.
Ferrioli has served on the Council since January 2018, after serving in the Oregon State Senate for 20 years.
"I thank Governor Brown for the opportunity to serve and will cherish memories of my time on the Council," Ferrioli said in a prepared statement. "I will miss NWPCC council members and staff who have consistently demonstrated warm collegiality and a level of cooperation that is truly inspiring. I wish them well as they tackle further revisions to the Power & Conservation plan that guides recovery efforts and operations of the Columbia River Hydroelectric System."