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Jefferson County business official welcomes word of Kah-Nee-Ta Village reopening plans

Kah-Nee-Ta Village scheduled to reopen next year

Update: (Adding video, comments from Joe Krenowicz, Executive Director of Madras-JC Chamber of Commerce)

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- After being closed nearly four years, Kah-Nee-Ta Village is expected to reopen next year on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, tribal and partner Mt. Hood Skibowl officials announced Monday.

The executive director of the Madras-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce said he looks forward to the relaunch.

"It was a major location for people to go check out, as well as go to the (Indian Head) casino" on Highway 26, Krenowicz said.

Using $4.58 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs is partnering with Mt. Hood Ski Bowl to restore and manage the village, which closed in 2018 after the tribe said it wasn't generating enough revenue to stay in operation.

In addition, $1.5 million will be devoted to improvements to the area's sewer system.

“The reopening of the Kah-Nee-Ta community is going to be a great boom," Krenowicz said. "We have not had it here for about four years, and it's a major conference center for Jefferson County. It is the only one that can handle 200-plus participants, along with conferencing, resort amenities, as well as entertainment, from horseback riding to the hot springs."

The relaunch will support 50 full-time employees and more than 80 part-time employees during its busiest seasons.

Known for the natural mineral water hot springs, which date back 10,000 years, the family-style village plans to expand its soaking experiences, along with its motel, teepee and R-V lodging areas.

“A lot of our visitors really look forward to that Native American culture, and we’ve not had that opportunity for people to stay and have that two- and three-day trips," Krenowicz said.

Soon, people will once again have the chance to interact with the reservation’s community and native culture on a greater scale.

“There’s going to be a lot of opportunity for us to all reengage as a community, not only from Madras area, but also Warm Springs community," Krenowicz said.

Here is the press release:

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Confederated Tribes of The Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon Tribal Council has approved funding of $4.58 million to partner with Mt. Hood Ski Bowl and bring back the popular Kah-Nee-Ta Village “fun in the sun” experience for visitors, while greatly expanding the authentic hot springs soaking experiences in the recreational pool areas and Motel, Teepee, and RV lodging areas.

A $1.5 million infrastructure funding was also approved to repair the wastewater system that serves Kah-Nee-Ta and local community. The Tribes are funding the project with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, according to a news release issued by the organization.

The Kah-Nee-Ta Resort & Spa, Lodge Village and golf course closed in the late summer of 2018 due to financial troubles after the Indian Head Casino moved to a new facility along U.S. Highway 26.

NewsChannel 21's Bola Gbadebo is reaching out to tribal officials and Mt. Hood Skibowl about their partnership. Her report is coming up at 5 on KTVZ.

Tribal elder, former Tribal executive and former Kah-Nee-Ta employee, Charles Jackson, will be pleased to see the Village reopen, stating: “In the early 1960s, our visionary Tribal leaders saw the opportunity to develop a unique tourist attraction in the Kah-Nee-Ta Village and put the Warm Springs Reservation on the map as a major destination. My first real wage-earning jobs as a youth were Maintenance kid and Lifeguard at Kah-nee-ta. I remember visitors eagerly waiting to be served at the weekly traditional salmon bake and raving about the River Room Restaurant’s famous huckleberry cheesecake. Credit goes to current Tribal Council and other members of the local community for their support and decision to restore this Oregon landmark, create local jobs for our Tribal youth and begin to rebuild the Reservation’s economy devastated by the Covid pandemic.”

The Kah-Nee-Ta Resort Enterprise is partnering with Mt. Hood Skibowl to develop and manage the Kah-Nee-Ta Village, with the opening planned for 2023. Projected employment opportunities are estimated at over 50 full time and over 80 part time positions during the six-month busy season. The rest of the year, it is expected to support over 15 full time and more than 20 part time employees.

Mt. Hood Skibowl, working with the Warm Springs Economic Development Corporation, created a multiphase plan for the Kah-Nee-Ta property.

“Tribal Council directed us to focus on the first phase of the plan – to open and breathe new life into the Kah-Nee-Ta Village. This phase brings the family0style Village back to life while returning it to what it has always been, a place that contributes to the wellness of those who experience its natural mineral hot spring water,” said Jim Souers, Chief Executive Officer of the Warm Springs Economic Development Corporation. “Added to that are the great recreational activities the property supports. “

The Natural Mineral Water Hot Springs along the Warm Springs River has drawn visitors to the Kah-Nee-Ta Village for decades. The CTWS developed the Village as a day use area with an Olympic-size swimming pool and limited hot spring soaking in the early 1960s.

The Village will once again offer visitors the opportunity to interact with the Reservation community’s native culture and people, experience the hot springs, soak up the sun-filled days, and enjoy a variety of recreational activities.

“We are excited to be part of the relaunch of the Kah-Nee-Ta Village to promote the cultural heritage and bring visitors back to experience the natural healing powers of the Hot Springs, which dates back 10,000 years ago. In addition, the Village will provide employment opportunities to the community, contributing to the Warm Springs economy,” said Kirk Hanna, owner and president, Mt. Hood Skibowl.

About the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs

The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, is based in Central Oregon with a membership of over 5,000 Tribal Members from the Warm Springs, Wasco and Paiute Tribes. The Reservation was created by the Treaty of 1855 between the Indians of Middle Oregon and the United States Government. Learn more at

About Mt Hood Skibowl

Mt. Hood Skibowl’s origin dates back to 1928, making it one of the oldest remaining ski resorts in the country. Kirk Hanna purchased the area out of bankruptcy in 1987 and has become the longest and most successful operator of the resort in its history, developing Skibowl into a year-round, winter and summer resort, featuring a summer adventure park with over 20 attractions and developing a 28acre parcel into Collins Lake Resort lodging property, which features 200, two-and three-bedroom luxury vacation property rentals. Additional companies in Government Camp, under their operational umbrella, include Mt. Hood Outfitters, the leading recreational outfitter guide service in the Mt. Hood National Forest, Ratskeller Bar & Pizzeria, and the High Mountain Café. The corporation also operates Pelton Dam Marina and Lake Simtustus RV Park & Marina, a 55 acre lake front resort, located just an hour east of Government Camp in Central Oregon, offering Tiny Home and RV rentals, full hook-up RV sites, lake sport activities and rentals and marina with 47 boat slips. Learn more at:

About the Warm Springs Economic Development Corporation

WSEDC is a wholly owned enterprise of the CTWS with the purpose of create sources of Long-Term Revenue and Employment opportunities for tribal members through enterprise business developments.

For more information contact:

Jim Souers CEO, Warm Springs Economic Development

Article Topic Follows: Warm Springs

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Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.

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