COQUILLE -- County commissioners moved forward with the Coquille Indian Tribe's proposal to list sections of about 20 county roads on its transportation plan to possibly get federal funding down the line.

The Coquille Indian Tribe proposed listing 84.3 miles of Coos County roads on its Tribal Transportation Program Roadway Inventory. The idea, said Coos County roadmaster John Rowe, is not to give the tribe authority over those roads, but to give the county a shot at funding for road repair.

"It has nothing to do with transfer of ownership," said Commissioner John Sweet.

County counsel Josh Soper said the Oregon Government Ethics Commission determined there was no conflict of interest with any of the commissioners. At the July 1 meeting, some county residents were concerned that all three could have conflicts.

Commissioner Melissa Cribbins was the tribe's legal counsel before she took office, Commissioner Bob Main's wife works for ORCA Communications (a tribe subsidiary) and Sweet serves on the Coquille Tribal Community Fund board of trustees.

Soper said a conflict of interest only exists if there is "financial benefit or detriment to the business with which that person is associated."

"The Indian tribe and its subsidiaries do not qualify as a business under that law, so there is no conflict of interest for the commissioners," he said.

Todd Tripp, director of the tribe's department of planning, realty and community services, said this proposal is a means to a possible partnership with the county someday.

"If a repair to a road is critical to our needs and your needs ... we could cooperate and tap into federal funding to do that," Tripp said. "...Without these being on our transportation plan, we have no option to help you."

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