The mission of the William D. Ruckelshaus Center is to act as a neutral resource for collaborative problem solving in the State of Washington and the Pacific Northwest. The Center provides expertise to improve the quality and availability of voluntary collaborative approaches for policy development and multi-party dispute resolution. The Center is a joint effort of Washington’s two research universities.
Support the Center
Supporting the Center is a tax-deductible investment in the quality of life in our state and region. Donations are matched up to $75,000 per year by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and qualify for donor credit at WSU and/or UW.
The William D. Ruckelshaus Center’s electronic newsletter (eNews) is published two to four times per year. If you know of someone who might be interested in receiving this eNews, please forward it to them. If you wish to be removed from the list or would like to subscribe, please email us.
KOMO Covers the Center
In November, during Apple Cup week, KOMO Newsradio in Seattle ran story stating that while UW and WSU fight it out on the gridiron once a year, they spend the rest of the year working together to solve complex policy challenges through the Ruckelshaus Center. Board Chair Bill Ruckelshaus and Center Director Michael Kern were interviewed for the story, which provides a succinct, 1 ½ minute introduction to the Center and its work.
Center Releases Reports on Columbia River Salmon, Public Records and Tri-Cities Governance
The end of 2013 was a busy time for the Center’s projects, including the release of several important reports. The Center – in partnership with Oregon Consensus at Portland State University – released the Columbia River Basin Salmon and Steelhead Long-Term Recovery Situation Assessment, drawn from over 200 interviews with a broad cross-section of interests and perspectives. The Center also released an assessment of public records requests made to local government, as directed by the Washington State Legislature through a proviso in the 2013–15 Washington State Operating Budget. The report, based on interviews with a balanced set of parties, included recommendations related to balancing the need for open public records with concerns of local governments. It also explored the prospects for a collaborative process to address those issues. In addition, the Center released the Phase II report of its research and a public engagement process on the topic of improving governance in the Tri-Cities, Washington region. All three reports are available from the Center’s homepage.
Puget Sound Monitoring
The Leadership Council of the Puget Sound Partnership has asked the Ruckelshaus Center to conduct a two-year review of the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program (PSEMP). Such a review was included in the creation of PSEMP to (a) evaluate progress towards ecosystem recovery and (b) improve the scientific basis for management actions throughout Puget Sound. The Center is interviewing involved parties and stakeholders to capture a wide range of perspectives about whether key characteristics of PSEMP—transparent decision-making, availability and credibility of data, and accountability and trust—are being achieved. Additional expertise is being provided by WSU Extension and the UW Evans School. The resulting report will outline key findings and recommendations for improvement.
Fostering Civil Public Discourse
The Center continues its activities to foster civil discourse in the state, region and nation. Video and other coverage of these events is available from the Center’s homepage.
- In November and January, the Center co-sponsored lunch events in Seattle, Spokane and Olympia as part of the Washington State Governance Series (hosted by the Governor’s and Secretary of State’s offices). Panels of current and former legislators, lobbyists, media representatives and agency staff shared their perspectives on improving governance and civil discourse in the Legislature.
- Also in November, the Center co-sponsored a half-day workshop with the Council of State Governments, CityClub, the Jackson Foundation and the National Institute for Civil Discourse called Reach Across the Aisle, where a bipartisan group of Washington state legislators participated in a training on building trust through civil discourse in the legislative arena.
- In December, the Center co-hosted with the Slade Gorton International Policy Center a lunch conversation entitled Statesmanship & Public Policy: Are Collaborative Solutions Possible in Today’s Political Environment? This panel discussion, featuring four of the most highly-regarded senior statesmen in Washington state – Norm Dicks, Dan Evans, Slade Gorton and Bill Ruckelshaus (all Center Advisory Board members)– was moderated by Evans School Dean Sandra Archibald.
Welcome and Farewell to Board Members and Staff
As Bill Ruckelshaus noted in a special message to you last week, the Center is mourning the passing of Northwest icon and founding Ruckelshaus Center Advisory Board member Billy Frank, Jr. As Bill said, “There is no doubt the salmon in the Northwest have lost their best friend.” The Board’s Senate Democrat Ex-Officio member, Ed Murray, stepped down from that position when he assumed his duties as Mayor of the City of Seattle. We are happy to announce that Senator Karen Fraser (D-22nd) has accepted the Chair’s invitation to fill that slot. Board member Jesse Palacios has stepped down, after serving on the Board for many years. Also, Fran Forgette has announced that, since his term as WSU Regent is ending, he is choosing to step away from service on the Center’s Advisory Board and Development Committee. Michele Norman has joined the Ruckelshaus Center’s Seattle office as Administrative Coordinator. Welcome to the new faces, and best wishes to those who are moving on!
Spring Board Meeting
On April 25, the Center’s Advisory Board met in Seattle. The meeting focused on both the Eldercare Workforce project and a discussion with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about his vision for governing the City. The Center also presented the inaugural Ruckelshaus Award for Collaborative Policy to Richard Spady of Dick’s Drive-Ins and the Community Forums Network, for his decades of commitment to innovative public engagement. Congratulations to Dick and the entire Spady family, and thank you for your dedication and service!
Individual contributions provide the Ruckelshaus Center with the flexibility to address urgent problems, respond to new opportunities, and see important processes through to success. Gifts of $1,000 or more qualify you for the Chairman’s Circle (a group of the Center’s most dedicated supporters) and invitation to events like the Chairman’s Circle and Statesmanship luncheons. The easiest way to donate is online by clicking here, or you can contact the Center at (509) 335-2937 or E-mail. Your gift is eligible for donor credit at WSU and/or UW. Annual renewal reminders or automatic renewals can be established. Thank you so much for your support of the Center!