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Oregon’s 2020 census count begins in Warm Springs

Life-long Warm Springs resident George Aguilar Sr., 90, is first in state

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. (KTVZ ) -- Oregon's 2020 census effort to count the state's population kicked off Thursday on the land owned and cherished by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. This day restores hope in the community that their tribes and culture have not been forgotten.

As one of the first groups to inhabit this country, Native Americans often feel undercounted and underrepresented, but Oregon state lawmakers decided that the census count should begin on the Warm Springs Reservation. 

The census happens every 10 years, and the results dictate how much money the federal government allocates to each state and the number of seats each state will hold in the House of Representatives. The funds that the state receives benefits tribal communities with housing, veteran and health care resources.

"It's not the money," Warm Springs Community Counting Chairman Caroline Cruz told NewsChannel 21. "It's the fact that we're important enough that the federal census wants us to be counted."

Jeffrey Enos, deputy regional director for the Census Bureau's Los Angeles region, said everyone needs to be counted.

"For every man, woman or child that's missed in the census, thousands of dollars are lost in those communities every year,"Enos said. "So if you multiply that over 10 years, which the census is done only once every 10 years, that's tens of thousands of dollars for every man, woman and child that is missed. It's so important that every man, woman, child -- everyone is counted."

George Aguilar Sr., 90, a Korean War veteran and life-long Warm Springs resident, became the first person counted in the Oregon census. He said he was honored to be chosen as the first person counted in the state.

Others in Warm Springs used computers to take the census, the way many Americans will be filling out their information for the first time. You can also mail in your form.

The children of Warm Springs Early Childhood Education performed a mini powwow. While this day recognized the older generation, it's also to encourage the younger generation to make their voices heard.

"Hopefully these littles are going to see this, 10 years from now, and say, 'Hey that's me -- I was a part of the 2020 census."


Gov. Kate Brown news release:

Governor Kate Brown Applauds Completion of First 2020 Census Count in Oregon 

 (Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown applauded completion of the first 2020 Census count in Oregon today, which is also the first day when 2020 mailers begin to arrive in mailboxes inviting Oregonians to participate in the 2020 Census.

Selected by the U.S. Census Bureau, Warm Springs Indian Reservation was the location where the first Oregon 2020 Census questionnaire was completed. George Aguilar Sr., an 89-year-old Wasco elder and lifelong resident of Warm Springs, is a Korean War veteran who has worked as a laborer, fisherman, logger, construction manager, and author. He completed the first count for the 2020 Census in Oregon at his home.

“It is critical that every Oregonian be counted during the 2020 Census – especially our Tribal and Native American communities,” said Governor Kate Brown. “The census has a significant impact on Indian country – and I’m committed to working with all Oregon Tribal communities, Native American service organizations, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s Tribal Partnership Program to ensure that we achieve an accurate and complete count.”

“The census happens every 10 years. In the past, our reservation community has been undercounted. We don’t want that to be the case in 2020. I encourage all our Tribal Members and Warm Springs residents to participate in the 2020 Census to help provide a better future for our community and future generations,” said Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Council Chairman Raymond Tsumpti Sr.

In largely rural areas where most residents receive their mail at a post office box, including the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, the Census will be taken via the Update Leave method. In that approach, the local census takers visit, update the home’s address, and leave a questionnaire packet. These households can choose to respond online but also have the option to mail in the form or respond by phone.

For more information about the 2020 Census in Oregon visit: You can participate online by going to or and clicking on the “Take the Census” button.

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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.


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