Submitted by Thurston Regional Planning Council
In 1967, local elected officials opted to establish a regional planning organization in the Thurston Region. These leaders recognized the need for a collaborative approach to the challenges of a fast-growing population. Established under state law, the Council’s membership includes local governmental jurisdictions, school districts, the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation and the Nisqually Indian Tribe, Timberland Regional Library, Intercity Transit, and other special districts, with a mission to “provide visionary leadership on regional plans, policies, and issues.” TRPC supports regional transportation planning; addresses growth management, environmental quality, and economic opportunity; assembles and analyzes data; and acts as a convener to build regional consensus on a variety of topics.
“50 years and still going strong.” Current TRPC Chair, Tom Oliva (Tumwater City Council), reflects that “Throughout its history, TRPC has evolved to meet the changing needs of the region and its members. TRPC works with state and federal elected officials, the business community, advocacy groups, state agencies, neighborhoods, and individuals. We even run Rural Transit (RT), which serves the rural portions of the community. One constant over time is The Profile. School students, businesses considering a move to the area, elected officials, non-profits, and staff all use this rich source of data. In 2018, in addition to our on-going work, the Council will focus on regional water issues, climate change, and report on efforts to improve the sustainability and resiliency of our community.”
Why a regional approach? Executive Director Marc Daily notes that, “transportation and other systems don’t stop at jurisdictional boundaries. Our residents and visitors expect – and deserve – predictability as they travel around the community. This is not an “urban” or a “rural” Council. The members come to the regional table, remove their jurisdictional “hats” and strive to make the Thurston region a place that works for everyone.”
On Friday, November 3, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., current and past members and staff met at the Lacey Community Center to share memories and celebrate 50 years of successful coordination and collaboration.