Yurok buys store

The Yurok Tribe is building a modern fuel mart, laundromat and tribal government office on the nine-acre Shoreline Market  property in Orick.

The Yurok Tribe recently acquired the Shoreline Market in Orick and will soon begin building a state-of-the-art fuel mart, laundromat and tribal government office on the nine-acre property.

“This project is a win, win,” said Joseph L. James, the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “In addition to providing important services to local residents, the business will produce new employment opportunities and serve as a source of revenue for tribal programs. This acquisition also represents the recovery of a significant piece of land within our ancestral territory. Bringing this land back under tribal ownership is just as important as the financial gains it will generate.”

Sherri Provolt, the Orick District Representative on the Yurok Tribal Council, said the Yurok Tribe has engaged the Orick community at every stage of this endeavor, adding the community is grateful for all of the support it has received.

“The people of Orick are just as enthusiastic as we are about the plans for this property,” Provolt said. “Owning a modern fuel mart in proximity to one of the busiest parts of Redwood National and State Parks will benefit the Tribe in the present and in the long term.”

Donna Hufford, the Director of Orick Chamber of Commerce, said the Orick community is excited about the Yurok Tribe’s plans to renovate, renew and rejuvenate this property.

“We are delighted that this new business will serve as the southern gateway into our community,” Hufford said. “As a community organization, we thank the now former owners of the Shoreline Market for the excellent service they extended to local residents and the greater public.”

The economic development project will involve the construction of a two-story building this is approximately 6,000-square-feet. The first floor of the partially solar-powered facility will house a minimart that will be filled with snacks, cold beverages and other convenient items. The laundromat will also be on the ground level, but it will have a separate entrance. The second story will contain offices and two conference rooms. The US Highway 101- adjacent business will offer eight unleaded and high-flow diesel fuel pumps as well as multiple electric vehicle charging stations. Once complete, the conventional fuel dispensers and electric charging stations will be open 24 hours a day. During construction, the gas pumps will remain open for local residents and others because there is only one fueling station in Orick.

The town of Orick is named after a traditional village called Owr-rekw and is roughly in the center of the Yurok Tribe’s ancestral territory on the coast, which extends from the Little River in Humboldt County to Damnation Creek in Del Norte County. Several Yurok families, whose roots reach back to the original village of Owr-rekw, continue to live in Orick today.

Tribal officials said the acquisition of the Shoreline Market is a critical component of the Tribe’s long-term plan to create jobs and a more resilient economy in the region, where a large majority of the 6,200-plus Yurok citizens reside. In the past two years, the Tribal Council has invested in three new businesses within and outside of the Yurok Reservation:

— The Mad River Brewing Company in Blue Lake in 2019

— The Weitchpec Nursery in 2020

— Yurok Redwood Canoe Tours, was slated to open in May but the launch was delayed to spring 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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