Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

From the mosaic-tile basket patterns on tall columns rising to the second floor of the rotunda, the new Nixyaawii Governance Center embraces symbols of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation’s culture and tradition. The entrance faces the east where the sun rises and includes north, south, and west wings. This 90,000 sq.ft. uniquely designed headquarters incorporates long-term sustainability concepts that lend permanence to the structure.

Stearns was brought on board to assist the engineer-of-record with structural steel design, recommend the most efficient and economical structural steel system, furnish materials, and provide a critical path schedule. Much care was given to the design of the project in order to incorporate the significance of the building design and placement and the Tribe’s traditional symbols. The structural system features buckling restrained braces which are a specialty steel item that resist seismic loads and perform better than standard steel sections.

This state-of-the-art structure located in Pendleton, Oregon combines a myriad of angles and curves, shapes, and symbols. The ceiling of the rotunda is blue like the sky and surrounded by a dozen windows that represent 12 moons. The artwork inside is reflective of the tribal culture. This museum-like structure is an impressive experience.


Project Details

Client: Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Location: Pendleton, Oregon

Contractor: JE Dunn Construction Co.

Architect: Group West Architects, Inc.

Engineer-of-Record: Cascade Design Professionals

Size: 90,000 square feet

Number of Levels: 3

System Type: Structural Steel

Completion Date: 2008



2010 Top Projects, Private Buildings, $15M - $50M, by DJC Magazine.