Clackamas Community College is honoring the original inhabitants of the land on which the Oregon City campus now resides by naming its new student services center after Dan “Old Man” Wacheno, who signed the Willamette Valley Treaty of 1855 on behalf of the Clackamas people.
The CCC Board of Education approved the name of the Wacheno Welcome Center at its Jan. 20 meeting.
“Naming the Welcome Center after the Wacheno family not only honors the first people of the land that Clackamas Community College sits on. It also follows the traditional cultural customs of the Clackamas as the indigenous people of this place,” Cultural Resources Manager David Harrelson wrote in a letter to CCC President Tim Cook.
“These customs include the obligations of the people of a place to be good hosts by welcoming and caring for their guests. Naming the Welcome Center after the Wacheno family allows for this cultural teaching to be represented on the college campus named after the people and customs it will honor.”
The new building will house most of the college’s student services, including advising, enrollment, financial aid, testing and placement services, and education partnerships.
Though the college wanted the Wacheno Welcome Center to be easily identifiable for students as an obvious place to get started, there was also a desire to demonstrate inclusivity in this building and to honor those who were on this land prior to the college.
Early last year the college conducted face-to-face interactions, surveys, and presentations with students, CCC employees, and the CCC Board of Education to explore what resonated most with the college community. One well-supported suggestion was to name the building
A cohort from CCC met with the Grand Ronde Tribal Council with the proposal to name the building after Wacheno and received their full support.
The Tribe has a long history with the college having been involved in its Environmental Learning Center, collaborating on art projects, as well as attending conferences and summits on the college’s campuses.
“I am honored to affirm our ties to the Clackamas people, afterm whom the college is named,” Cook said. “I look forward to continuing our relationship with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and educating our students about the Native Americans who lived on these lands before us.
“I also want to acknowledge that the Cascades and Tumwater bands of Chinooks, as well as the Tualatin and Pudding River bands of Kalapuya and the Northern Molalla people also shared the land where our campuses are located.”
The construction of the Wacheno Welcome Center is part of a $90 million bond voters approved in 2014. This project also includes the remodeling of the Bill Brod Community Center and is expected to be completed this summer.