New Addresses on the Way for Every Building in Hoopa

By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune

Hoopa’s lack of street addresses and house numbers will soon be a thing of the past. The Tribe’s Planning and Natural Resources Departments are pushing ahead with a plan to give addresses to every building on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation.

Darin Jarnaghan, who’s Forestry Department is heading up the effort, said having a standardized address system will improve safety by improving response times during fire and medical emergencies, and will also help residents “order and receive services that require a physical address.”

Trinity County installed street signs and assigned house numbers in 2009, followed by the Yurok Tribe in 2010, leaving Hoopa as one of the last places in the U.S. where the streets have no names.

Disputes over possible street names was one of the reasons for the long delay. When Hoopa first started looking at assigning names, there were worries about neighbors arguing over which name should go on shared roads.

Augie Montgomery, who was a tribal Councilmember at the time, said, “A lot of the roads are named after who’s been there the longest. There could be multiple families living on one street – who determines which name goes on the street?”

A number of road signs in Weitchpec were reportedly vandalized over the same issue when they were first put in, and had to be replaced.

The method that will be used in Hoopa is designed to head off arguments over the names of shared roads and long driveways. Each private road or shared driveway will have an address where it meets a public road – like 2802 Marshall

Lane – and each house on it will get a number, like 2802 Marshall Lane #10.

If a private drive is over 500 feet long and has more than one house, the residents will be able to ask the Tribal Council to assign a name to it, as long as more than half of the residences on the road can agree on a name.

Ken Malcomson, who delivers packages in the area for UPS, said the lack of street addresses in Hoopa has stopped people from being able to order things online because many companies have automatic shipping computers that will stop packages from being shipped to any address that isn’t in the database.

“A 92-year-old elder came up to me crying,” Malcomson said. “She’d been ordering from J.C. Penney since 1947 and they told her they now needed a specific address, and she didn’t have one.”

The new addresses will also help rescue crews get to where they’re needed faster, without having to completely rely on local dispatchers knowing where every fork in the road is.

Rod Johnson, the manager of K’ima:w Medical Center’s Ambulance Service, said, “They’ll say ‘go three roads down from this intersection and then take a right at the fork in the road by the old truck’. One time they told us ‘you’ll see the chickens in the yard, turn right there’.”

If you live in the Hoopa Valley and didn’t receive a notice with your new property address, or if you have any questions, call Hoopa Valley Tribal Forestry at (530) 625-4284.

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