Carl Scheeler retires from DNR

MISSION – Normally, Zoom sessions aren’t full of laughter and heart-felt reminiscence at the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), but after more than 30 years with the Tribes, no one would expect anything different in bidding Carl Scheeler adieu. Scheeler, former Wildlife Program Manager, was honored via a digital retirement party Feb.
7. Board of Trustees (Board) members, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff and co-workers from across the Tribes signed on to the Zoom meeting to
celebrate his years of service. “I want to wish you the best of luck, after 33 years, we sure will miss you,” Kat Brigham, Chair of the Board of Trustees, told Scheeler. More than 44 people signed on to wish Scheeler great successes as he moves on to his next adventures. DNR Director Eric Quaempts spoke at length regarding Scheeler’s work with the Tribes and its many leaders over the years. “Carl and I had a lot of good times. Pre accords, we were on the road every other week. We collaborated a lot on Iskuulpa Creek. There was a lot of road time with Carl and if you’ve ever driven with Carl you know to ride with him if you want to get there fast. I used to tell him it’s a GSA not a Ferrari, we would leave late and get there on time,” Gary James, DNR Fisheries Program Manager, said. James echoed similar comments heard throughout the celebration, Scheeler was a force to be reckoned with. He went on to talk
about Scheeler’s handling of some of the larger negotiations CTUIR has had to manage over the years. “Carl’s style is direct and aggressive, he has always stood up to the BS. He would verbally annihilate bad plans and come in with good science and a solution; he had a good ability to do that,” James said. Brigham went on to talk about her career, which revolved mainly around fish, and how Scheeler had been a part of many of the conversations that extended beyond salmon and centered around wildlife. “Whenever I had to talk wildlife
with BPA (Bonneville Power Administration) I said, ok it’s all about fish, but I guess we will talk about wildlife, and we did. Talking wildlife mitigation with BPA, Carl had to tell me there are tributaries and fish that effected each other. Even though I lost the argument I was happy he got me to expand my horizons and we worked together. He had a way to work with people on new subjects without making you feel stupid,” she said. Angela Sondenaa, Precious Lands Project Manager for the Nez Perce Tribe, spoke about Scheeler’s willingness to work with other Tribes even when there were disagreements. She said, “Wildlife a lot of times is the underdog. Carl worked right along beside us with tenacity and always had strong arguments. He would argue and fight (with us) and then go for dinner and a beer and we could really bounce ideas off one another even after fights about jurisdiction.” Many stories about the early days of CTUIR’s work with former Chair Antone Minthorn, atway Mike “Jughead” Farrow, Bill Bradley and Jay Minthorn confirmed old time stories of nicknames Scheeler earned over the years. “People can’t forget what it took to build DNR as we know it today. Carl had a big part of that. His early work cannot be overemphasized,” Quaempts said. In closing Scheeler said, “At the time of launching this work, Jughead gave us the tools to go out and do the job. Tribal staff have been using these tools for 40 years. It really is a testament to the quality of leadership and consistency of this Tribe. They always talk about Indian time and say it means being 15 minutes late. The reality is, the Tribe is working on seven generations time. I have worked with five of those generations. I remember the elders and now I have been able to watch the little kids become young professionals. I’ve seen things solidify and become long lasting.”