Road Map To Washington's Future - Report Released by Ruckelshaus Center

The William D. Ruckelshaus Center at the University of Washington was tasked in 2017 by the Washington State Legislature with a two-year project to articulate a vision of Washington's desired future. The project sought to identify additions, revisions and clarifications to the state's growth management and planning framework needed to reach that vision of the future. The Ruckelshaus Center team embarked on a huge community engagement effort, gathering information and hearing from about 2,500 individuals, including nearly 400 elected officials. The result is the final report, Road Map to Washington's Future, that was launched this week.

The Road Map to Washington’s Future project was about listening. The voices of participants were heard through 67 workshops in 26 locations across the State, 147 individual interviews, questionnaires, letters, reports, and other documents. Participants shared their stories, lived experiences, ideas, and recommendations about a desired future, and what parts of the growth planning framework are working or not working in their communities, regions, and the State.

The Ruckelshaus Center Team synthesized the wealth of information and insights collected from participants, in order to develop and communicate potential pathways to the future. Regardless of participants’ specific interests and orientation, there were some common threads in their views: that issues need to be addressed as systems and not silos; that political will and leadership across political boundaries is needed to respond to change and consider new approaches; that the diverse regions of the State are actually interdependent and significantly impact each other; and that greater understanding of these impacts and interdependence is needed.

Section IV of the report identifies six actions that could create transformational and systemic change to improve the current growth planning framework. The six action areas are:

  1. Funding and Revenue Generation
  2. Adaptive Planning at a Regional Scale
  3. Resilience to Changing Conditions and Disasters
  4. Statewide Water Planning
  5. Equity
  6. Economic Development

Where there was widespread interest in change, the team also distilled participants’ ideas into a number of key near term reforms . Section V of the report details 25 key reforms to improve the existing growth framework. These key reforms reflect areas of common interest from participants that, if addressed, could have positive “ripple effects” throughout the current growth planning framework.

The Ruckelshaus Center team will host a series of open houses to provide information and answer questions about the report. The first one will be on July 17th from 1pm-5pm at the WSU Energy Office in Olympia WA, 905 Plum Street # 3. Please click here to RSVP - space is limited. They are also planning to have two open houses, most likely in September at the University of Washington, Seattle and Washington State University in Spokane.

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