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RTC is the Federally designated metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for Clark County Washington and the state-designated Regional Transportation Planning Organization for Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat counties in Washington and Oregon (See Figure 1).2
Figure 1. Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat counties.
The Clark County region is surrounded by the Cascade Mountains and the Columbia, Lewis, and Washougal rivers. Vancouver, Clark County's largest city, is currently undergoing a major downtown revitalization.
Clark County has experienced considerable population growth, from fewer than 200,000 people in 1980 to 425,000 in 2010 (see Figure 2). Current projections indicate that the region's population will approach 642,000 residents by 2035, a 51 percent increase from 2010.
Figure 2. RTC region population increase and possible built parcels in 2024.
In 2006, the RTC board commissioned a vision study3 to assess transportation systems options that could accommodate projected growth in the county. In addition to transportation systems, the study looked at several new transportation corridors and development patterns and trends. The study found that the county will not be able to accommodate an increase in population growth given comprehensive plan designated density levels, and that current land use and transportation patterns in Clark County will need to change to accommodate the growth.
As a result of the study, questions emerged about how to manage growth in a way that appeals to the existing community while providing homes and transportation for new residents.
During the workshop, RTC sought to better understand how scenario planning could help to develop a Clark County regional vision and assist RTC and the community to identify land use and planning alternatives.