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February 5, 2008

Oregon Law Professor Carl Bjerre’s Model Legislation Fuels Crow Nation Economy

Model legislation drafted by a University of Oregon law professor is helping members of the Crow Nation negotiate bank loans.

The first-of-its-kind agreement between the Crow Nation and the state of Montana will enhance economic development opportunities and is expected to provide new opportunities for a significant economic expansion for tribal members by making it possible to start small businesses, sustain companies during growth periods and allow for people living and working on the reservation to make the major purchases and investments that drive an economy.

The compact is based on the Model Tribal Secured Transactions Act, drafted in large part by UO law professor Carl Bjerre in his role as reporter for the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. The organization has been a source of important law reform projects throughout its 116-year history.  Bjerre was asked to serve as reporter on this Model Act because of his expertise in the law of commercial lending.

The agreement will allow standardized lien filings for members of reservation communities under a uniquely tribal commercial code. Prior to the adoption of the Model Act, banks were unable to rely on liens on property used to collateralize business loans made to tribal members. Access to capital should make it possible to start small businesses, sustain companies during growth periods and allow for people living and working on the reservation to make the major purchases and investments that drive an economy.

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