COOS BAY — In a July 2 letter the National Park Service has returned the Q’alya ta Kukwis shichdii me Traditional Cultural Property Historic District nomination to the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office.

In May the SHPO submitted the nomination to the National Park Service for a "determination of eligibility" for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The NPS determined did not rule on the district's eligibility and cited process and documentation deficiencies as the reasons for the return.

The SHPO called for a determination of eligibility from the NPS after roughly 70 percent of private property owners in the proposed district opposed the Traditional Cultural Property.

The NPS returned the nomination to SHPO for a number of reasons. One of note were that the local and federal agencies with substantial interest in the proposed district were not provided with unredacted copies of the nomination prior to its submission.

According to the NPS it also decided to return the nomination because there was a lack of specificity regarding the cultural properties boundaries.

During the comment period a group of private citizens and businesses, most of which are folks who own property within the proposed TCP, formed a group called the Coos Concerned Property Owners to oppose the TCP.

According to federal rules for the National Register, if a majority of property owners within a proposed district object to the nomination, the district cannot be listed.

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The TCP nomination received no support from local governments, as the cities, county, and neighboring tribe within the area felt there was not enough information available to support the application.

In its review of the nominations eligibility the NPS reached out to the various federal agencies that would be within the property if it were to be approved. Land owned by federal agencies accounts for 21 percent of the TCP.

The U.S Bureau of Indian Affairs relayed to the NPS that they were still reviewing the nomination to give comment. The Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers notified the NPS that they are still reviewing the documents. The NPS received no response form the U.S Department of the Navy.  

Remaining Federal agencies in the proposed area, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S Forest Service signed the nomination.

According to the NPS substantive review of the nomination was requested by the Jordan Cove Energy Project.

If the applicant for the TCP, the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw, decide to review the National Parks Services suggestions and make changes accordingly the nomination can be resubmitted. If the application is resubmitted SHPO will restart the nomination process, including a new public comment period.

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Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.