The mission of the William D. Ruckelshaus Center is to act as a neutral resource for collaborative problem solving in 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. For more information, visit our website.
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.
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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 $100,000 per year by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and qualifies for donor credit at both WSU and UW.
In November 2011, the Center was asked by the Washington State Governor’s Office to help produce a report to the Governor and Legislature that identifies recommended priority flood hazard mitigation projects in the Chehalis River Basin in southwest Washington. This is an issue that has resisted resolution since the 1940s. The report was issued in draft form in August 2012. The Governor then asked the Center to facilitate a work group convened to advise her on recommendations for her biennial budget proposal. A framework document containing the group’s recommendations was presented to the Governor on November 14th. She thanked the group for its hard work, congratulated its members on reaching consensus on such difficult issues, and promised to incorporate their recommendations into her budget.
Building upon the “4Cs Project” conducted several years ago by the Three Rivers Community Roundtable, the Center is conducting a three-phase research and public engagement process on the topic of improving governance structure and function in the Tri-Cities, WA region. Phase 1 concluded with the presentation of a report to an audience of almost 400 in the Tri-Cities, featuring WSU and UW researchers and Center Advisory Board members Slade Gorton and Megan Clubb. The report recommended “functional” – rather than formal – consolidation among the cities on appropriate areas and activities. Phase 2 will begin soon, to assess community perspectives and opinions.
The Ruckelshaus Center and the Oregon Consensus program at Portland State University were asked by the Columbia River Gorge Commission to conduct interviews with a wide range of individuals to assess opportunities for collaborative engagement among the many parties interested in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (NSA). The centers conducted more than 80 interviews and presented the results to the Commission at its September 2012 meeting. The report and presentation were very well received by the Commission and staff, who are now considering appropriate next steps from along the options recommended.
The Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force is a collaborative group of governmental agencies, private industries, and environmental organizations attempting an innovative approach to the reduction of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) within the Spokane River. The goal of the Task Force is to develop a comprehensive plan to bring the River into compliance with water quality standards for PCBs. The Task Force expressed strong preference for a university-based provider of facilitation and coordination services, and asked the Center to play those roles. The Center completed a general assessment of the project by interviewing Task Force members and other stakeholders and presenting the findings in August. The Center is now facilitating the Task Force and its Work Groups.
Ronald Brownstein Predicts Election Outcome at Chairman’s Circle Luncheon
On August 17, the Center hosted its second annual Chairman’s Circle Luncheon. Over 100 of the Center’s strongest supporters gathered to hear Ronald Brownstein – two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America – discuss Civil Public Discourse in an Era of Hyper-Partisanship. During his remarks, Brownstein predicted a tight popular vote, but an electoral victory for President Obama, based on the nation’s changing demographics. Presenting, Event and Table Sponsors included the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Jim Sinegal, Cascina Spinasse, Peter Goldmark and Martha Kongsgaard. Watch for the next Chairman’s Circle Luncheon in August 2013.
In August 2011, Bill Ruckelshaus sat down with noted historian Douglas Brinkley and recorded over seven hours of interviews to create an oral history of his remarkable life and contributions to public service, corporate leadership and collaborative policy. That oral history was the topic of the first Chairman’s Circle Luncheon, and is available at the UW and WSU libraries or on the website of TVW (Washington State’s version of C-SPAN). Now, TVW has distilled the oral history down to a broadcast-length program, which will premiere on January 17, 2013 at 8:00 pm and then be available from their website.
Center Welcomes New Board Member; Co-Sponsors Conferences on Civil Discourse
At the Center’s October 26th Advisory Board meeting in Seattle, Board Chair Bill Ruckelshaus welcomed new ex officio member Rich Koenig (the new Associate Dean and Director of WSU Extension). The Center also co-sponsored two conferences in Seattle in October as part of its focus on civil public discourse. This included an American Society for Public Administration-Evergreen Chapter/UW Evans School conference entitled Civil Discourse to Resolve Governmental Crisis and the biennial conference of the National Coalition for Deliberation and Dialogue. Advisory Board members Bill Ruckelshaus and Dan Evans, and UW Liaison Elizabeth Ford were featured speakers at the ASPA/Evans Conference; Michael Kern moderated the closing discussion.
Remember the Center in Your Year-End Giving –
With Match from the Gates Foundation!
Gifts from individuals and organizations provide the financial independence that reinforces the Center’s neutrality and ability to quickly respond to areas of need. Through the Center, the universities are contributing to the resolution of important and thorny policy challenges. Please remember the Center in your year-end giving. Your gift is eligible for donor credit at WSU and/or UW and matched up to $100,000/year by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 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 luncheon described above. The easiest way to donate online or you can contact the Center at (509) 335-2937 or E-mail.