Regional Housing Approach
Fifteen of the 18 recommendations in the OVOF Regional Housing Report saw some movement in 2019, the report’s first year of implementation. The Housing Authority of Chelan County and City of Wenatchee and the Columbia Valley Housing Association say the Regional Housing Report was a factor in the two organizations receiving $6.46 million in grants in late 2019 for housing. The Housing Solutions Group will focus on increasing community awareness about housing issues in 2020.
The Bridge Research & Innovation District
In 2018, Our Valley Our Future realized an opportunity to build on the community’s strong core assets and competencies by forming The Bridge Research & Innovation District. Unlike other places where research occurs under one roof in one jurisdiction, The Bridge is a “community campus” of linked facilities, educational institutions and businesses in the Greater Wenatchee Area on both sides of the Columbia.
In 2019, The Bridge conducted a survey of local businesses and organizations who employ higher education students. The survey was utilized by the City of Wenatchee in its student housing plan for the WSU Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research Center property. In partnership with the WSU Center for Innovation in Spokane, The Bridge began developing an inventory of local businesses and organizations engaged in research and innovation.
Wenatchee Valley TREAD
A new trails-based recreation organization, Wenatchee Valley TREAD, is tasked with developing a regional trails network in the two-county region for all users. The formation of TREAD (Trails, Recreation, Education, Advocacy, Development) satisfies the first step in the Regional Trails Organization game-changer project in the Our Valley Action Plan.
In 2019, TREAD became a nonprofit, hired its first executive director, and raised $23,000 for a trails map app for the region. TREAD is negotiating with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest to take over some of the national forest’s recreational planning work. TREAD also is talking with Chelan County about doing a comprehensive trails plan for that jurisdiction and has plans to do the same soon with Douglas County.
The Tech Hub Working Group, made up of a cross-section of organizations, guided and saw completion of an Emerging Tech Study by Washington State University that identified barriers in expanding the local tech sector. The study was paid for by OVOF, the Port of Chelan County and the Port of Douglas County. In 2020, the Tech Hub Working Group will be developing community-wide strategies to expand the local tech sector.
In 2019, the One Community Working Group, made up of 14 community leaders, researched and wrote the draft of a “Regional Thinking, Inclusion and Collaboration” white paper to the community. The Working Group met 10 times and held two well-attended roundtable events. The white paper, which features a list of “opportunities” for the region to explore and pursue, is expected to be released in March or April 2020.
Early Childhood Learning
The OVOF Board named the North Central Educational Service District as a co-lead on this game-changer, joining the North Central Early Learning Collaborative. In 2020, the two lead partners have plans to hire a coordinator and to hold a community wide conversation on the importance of early learning.
Alleviating Generational Poverty
In late 2019, the OVOF Board named the Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council as the lead partner. Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council has completed a new needs assessment and strategic plan.