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eNews Spring 2015

Posted by | May 7, 2015

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.

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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.

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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.

Save the Date! US Senate Majority Leaders Daschle and Lott at 2015 Chairman’s Circle Luncheon

Washington DC Capitol BuildingOn September 24th in downtown Seattle, former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle (D-SD), and Trent Lott (R-MS), will present a bipartisan blueprint for civility and democracy in this highly polarized political era. This wonderful event is free for current members of the Ruckelshaus Center’s Chairman’s Circle. Individuals or organizations can host a table of ten for $1,500; single seats are $150. Other sponsorship options are also available, but spots are filling fast! For additional details.

SR 530 Landslide Commission

SB 5088 Bill Signing for eNews Spring 2015In July 2014, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Snohomish County Executive John Lovick asked the Ruckelshaus Center to facilitate a joint commission they formed in response to the March 2014 SR 530 Landslide, which took the lives of 43 people in the Stillaguamish Valley. The Commission was tasked with reviewing the emergency response to the slide and identifying lessons learned and policy recommendations to help make Washington safer and enhance the ability to respond to similar events. Between August and December, the Ruckelshaus Center facilitated 11 meetings of the Commission, helping it reach consensus on 17 recommendations and produce a final report for the Governor and County Executive, which was highly-praised by local and state leaders, the media, and the affected communities. There have also been several policy changes inspired by the recommendations of the Commission, including bills passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor to develop a database of lidar maps of landslide-prone areas in the state and to clarify that under the state’s fire service mobilization law, firefighting resources can be mobilized for non-fire emergencies. Links to the Commission’s report and more information are available from our website.

Capitol Lake Situation Assessment

Between July and December 2014, the Center assessed issues, interests and prospects for collaboration around the future of Capitol Lake (the reflecting pool next to the Capitol in Olympia). While the Lake is a treasured feature to many residents, others see it as an environmental hazard and a barrier to restoring the Deschutes River Estuary. This issue has polarized the community and resisted resolution since deliberations began in 1997. The Center interviewed a balanced cross-section of parties and summarized their interests and perspectives in a report (pdf) that analyzed the prospects for a collaborative process to address those issues. The findings were well-received and the involved parties are now discussing next steps. Many have credited the Assessment with clarifying the situation and restarting the conversation.

Chehalis Flooding and Fish

Chehalis Maps mounted on a wall for displaySince 2011, the Center has been facilitating the work of parties in the Chehalis Basin in southwest Washington state to reduce catastrophic flooding and enhance depleted aquatic species, such as salmon. In November 2014, the Governor’s Chehalis Basin Work Group (which the Center has been facilitating and coordinating) released its consensus recommendations (pdf), and the Governor endorsed them. The recommendations call for a $500-$600 million investment in flood mitigation and aquatic species enhancement that will provide the Basin with a conservative estimate of $720 million in direct benefits (or well into several billions dollars, if indirect benefits and multipliers are included). The report, a press release, the Governor’s letter of endorsement, and other information are available from our website.

New Hires

Ruckelshaus Center StaffThis spring has been an important period for rounding out the Center’s staffing plan. Recent additions include former Columbia River Gorge Commission Executive Director Darren Nichols as Associate Director; Molly Stenovec, former Associate at the University of Montana’s Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy, as Project Coordinator; and Erin McCarthy, recent graduate from the master’s program at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, as Development and Communications Coordinator. In June, we will also welcome Intern Aubrey Beals from the UW Evans School of Public Affairs. She replaces current Intern Esther Ham, a UW Law student, who is leaving to accept a fellowship at the Washington State Legislature. Also transitioning is our long-time Communications Specialist, Aubri Denevan, who will assume a Digital Communications and Consultant position at WSU’s College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. We welcome our new staff and wish those departing the best of luck in their future endeavors!

Board Changes

The Center is pleased to announce that Phyllis Campbell, Pacific Northwest Chair for JPMorgan Chase, has accepted nomination as Vice Chair of the William D. Ruckelshaus Center Advisory Board. As a dynamic and respected business and civic leader, Phyllis is an asset not only to our Board, but to the State of Washington and the region. We are honored to have her serve in this role. The Board is also delighted to welcome Molly Pengra of Pengra Capital. WSU President Elson Floyd and Provost Dan Bernardo are being joined as ex-officio members by UW Interim President Ana Mari Cauce and Interim Provost Jerry Baldasty. UW Vice President of External Affairs Randy Hodgins is replacing Margaret Shepard as alternate to the UW President. Finally, Associate Professor Alan Kirtley has replaced Julia Gold (who is retiring) as the Center’s UW Law School liaison. The Ruckelshaus Center is proud to benefit from the time, talent and expertise of such distinguished leaders, and is grateful for their counsel.

Annual Giving

With the end of our fiscal year just around the corner (June 30th), now is the time to join the Ruckelshaus Center in its efforts to serve as a neutral resource for nimble and collaborative problem solving throughout the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to individual and corporate gifts like yours, the Center is able to address thorny policy issues ranging from biofuels to bipartisanship. As a joint venture of WSU and UW, your donation is eligible for donor credit at either or both universities, and is matched up to $75,000 per year by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gifts of $1,000 or more will qualify you to become part of our Chairman’s Circle, allowing you to benefit from complimentary invitations to our Chairman’s Circle Luncheon and other exciting events. Contributions to the Center’s Endowment for Excellence Campaign help to ensure enduring impact and capacity in all of our program areas. Donate or feel free to contact us via phone at (509) 335-2937, or email at

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