Scenario Planning Peer Workshop Report - Vancouver, Washington
IV. Clark County Values and Next Steps
During the workshop's afternoon sessions, participants broke into small groups and discussed how Clark County might apply Envision Utah's scenario planning model. Participants believed that Envision Utah's values laddering exercise was a particularly relevant concept that could be applied to Clark County. Participants also believed it was important to follow Envision Utah's emphasis on ensuring community ownership of the scenario planning process through public outreach and other methods.
Highlights from the small group discussions are outlined below. Appendix A presents a complete list of responses discussed during the small group breakout exercises.
- Usefulness of scenario planning. Participants agreed that a Clark County scenario planning process would be useful because it could:
- Help build a sense of community through public participation;
- Provide an opportunity to think creatively about transportation planning; and
- Provide an opportunity to link existing regional transportation plans to local comprehensive plans.
- Scenario planning challenges. Participants noted that scenario planning might be challenging in Clark County due to difficulties involved with obtaining funding, convincing the community of the importance of the approach, and identifying appropriate leaders for the effort.
- Core stakeholders. Core stakeholders who could be involved in a Clark County scenario planning effort might include:
- Local and state government (e.g., RTC, regional transit agencies, WSDOT, Oregon DOT);
- Advocacy groups and nonprofits (e.g., religious institutions, historical societies, environmental groups);
- Technical consulting firms; and
- Business groups such as chambers of commerce and private sector representatives.
Overall, participants agreed that champions are critical to help communicate the importance of scenario planning to a wider audience and potentially to help obtain political and financial support. Potential champions could include the mayor of Vancouver, business executives, or staff from Washington senators' and representatives' offices.
- Link to existing plans and processes. A Clark County vision developed through a scenario planning effort should build upon existing regional and local plans; on the other hand, the regional vision should be an independent effort that stands on its own. Existing plans that might provide a framework or starting point for a scenario planning effort could include the Clark County comprehensive plan,14 the metropolitan LRTP,15 or the economic development plan.16
- Resources. Participants noted that Clark County has a significant amount of available resources to support scenario planning, including:
- Good baseline data;
- Access to Washington State University-Clark County resources; and
- Capable local and regional leaders who work well together. Through this collaboration, it is expected that regional leaders could address time and funding constraints.
- Success factors. To be successful, participants believed it was important for scenario planning leaders to:
- Establish a purpose for the project that the region can embrace and call its own;
- Foster ownership by involving a diverse set of people in the process and developing a regional vision reflective of the entire community; and
- Test the process by implementing scenario planning on a smaller scale and then applying lessons learned to larger-scale efforts, such as an update of the Clark County community framework plan.17
As part of the small group breakout exercises, participants also identified issues and values that would likely be important to the region if a scenario planning effort were to be conducted in Clark County, including:
- Articulating an authentic regional identity for Clark County to help bring the community together;
- Emphasizing the importance of personal safety and security; and
- Emphasizing the importance of economic security.
In general, the values and issues that workshop participants identified as important were similar to most of the important values articulated as part of Envision Utah's efforts, with the exception of “regional identity.” The identification of regional identity as an important Clark County value might help focus subsequent scenario planning efforts so that they resonate with community members.
Small group report out and small group discussion.
Overall, participants expressed enthusiasm about the benefits of scenario planning and the concept of values analysis. Given these outcomes, RTC now plans to develop a strategy to conduct scenario planning in Clark County.
The work conducted in the small group exercises will help Clark County move forward to develop a scenario planning process by identifying important partners who can lead the process, foster credibility, and identify the critical regional issues that need to be addressed. Other important outcomes of the exercise were developing a better understanding of the region's political culture and outlining the steps needed to build broad support for scenario planning.
For additional information on the Clark County comprehensive plan, see www.clark.wa.gov/planning/comp_plan/index.html.
For additional information on the metropolitan LRTP, see http://www.rtc.wa.gov/programs/mtp/.
The economic development plan is available at www.credc.org/.
The framework plan is incorporated as part of the 2007 Clark County Comprehensive Plan (pages 1-14), available at www.co.clark.wa.us/planning/comp_plan/documents/CompPlan-WebVersion-2010-text.pdf.