Natural resource leaders explore the Mountains to Sound Greenway for leadership lessons

State and federal public natural resource agency leaders from across the Pacific Northwest have been in the Mountains to Sound Greenway this week learning about how communities, tribes, agencies and interests have been working together for the future of the region.

Organized by Portland State University’s Hatfield School of Government, the week-long Executive Seminar in Natural Resources Leadership has been exploring collaboration, strategic thinking and partnership building in the context of greenway development.

“The Greenway is an excellent case study where we can examine the tensions between growth and conservation, the needs of different organizations, and how partners work together,” said Doug Decker, director of the program. “It’s been so helpful to hear from mayors, tribal leaders, real estate professionals, recreation providers and Greenway founders as we think about the role of leadership in creating beneficial shared outcomes.”

The group of 25 agency leaders met over dinner at the Jim Ellis Preston Community Center to learn about the origin of the Greenway. They visited the Talus urban village, Snoqualmie Point Park, Meadowbrook Farm and the Cadman mine at Grouse Ridge in North Bend.

“We’ve seen many examples of innovative ways to get things done,” said Decker. “Clearly there is work to do and challenges to solve, but it’s also evident the Greenway Trust provides an important forum to address the future.”

During the nine-month Portland State University program, participants visit three communities in the west that are addressing vexing challenges like growth management, transportation planning, water allocation and wildfire prevention. In October 2019 they visited Ashland, Oregon to explore fire prevention and watershed health. In May, they’ll be in Midway, Utah focusing on the transportation and growth issues facing the central Wasatch Range.

At the close of the program in June, participants will synthesize the leadership lessons they’ve experienced from the three cases and map their own leadership development plans for the future.

“It’s been a great week, you have so many interesting things going on here in the Mountains to Sound Greenway,” said Decker.