Staff and Citizen Advisory Group members will be travelling the County over the next several months to give a presentations and conduct some visioning work to help finalize our Wasco County 2040 workplan.

What is visioning?

Visioning is a process designed to bring members of the public together to consider their common future, identify goals or priorities, and help direct work plans. Visioning workshops ask particular questions of participants to encourage the exploration of new ideas, creation of a shared sense of direction, and produce concrete goals and strategies for action.  In other words, it’s a way to get the diverse residents and business members in a community together to create a common vision for the future.

To accomplish this, staff and the Citizen Advisory Group have developed a process for ensuring the maximum amount of community input.  Many of the exercises and presentation content is related to visioning, framed by the boundaries of what land use planning can impact.

When most people think about land use planning, they think about permits, and the rules governing uses and zoning.  Zoning and ordinances are just two tools in a larger toolbox land use planners utilize to help the community achieve its goals.  These tools, in the Comprehensive Plan, are called implementation strategies and tools. Implementation falls under policies.

Policies are a series of objectives a community (Wasco County) defines in order to support and carry out the State Land Use Planning Goals. These may be broad, like “encourage involvement of citizens”, or they may be more specific, like “Manage the Deschutes and John Day Scenic Waterways.”

Before we begin to set policies and determine implementation tools/strategies that will best make those policies actionable and achievable, the Citizen Advisory Group and Wasco County leadership and staff want to first establish some themes around our shared vision for the future.   This will help us determine which goals, policies and implementation needs the most amount of attention, and helps staff and the Citizen Advisory Group come prepared for those discussions with alternatives and ideas.

We develop that shared vision and themes through many different methods of communication with residents and businesses.  This includes meetings, workshops, correspondence, interviews, focus groups, surveys, and the other ways people get in touch.

Interactive Exercises

Staff, under the advisement of the Citizen Advisory Group, have developed four exercises that ask event attendees to vote on some key concepts that will help us finalize our work plan for Wasco County 2040.

You can view these exercises here: WC2040 Roadshow Exercises.

The Goals (top left) exercise asks participants to identify their top three land use planning goal priorities for the Wasco County 2040 process.  These fourteen goals are State Land Use Planning Goals that impact Wasco County.  Over the next several months as we travel throughout the County, we will be looking to identify all those goals that are most important to our residents and businesses so that we can be sure to highlight these during the policy and implementation conversations.  For the Voluntary Periodic Review process, the State asks that we focus on the following goals: economic development, housing, transportation, public facilities and services and urbanization.  We want to be sure to also include those issues that are important to you!  Any goals that score low on the collective priority list (looking at the results from all events) will addressed through a more limited process, but still allow for public input.

The development activity map (top right) gets participants to see about where they would like to see growth of certain types of uses and minimal development.  One of the most frequent inquiries planning staff gets relates to residential development.  We want to invite residents and businesses to think a bit about where they would like to see residential development grow.  Employment growth (whether agriculture or nonfarm work) is another consideration that has impact on our long range planning vision work.  We want to understand where our community would like to see economic development happen in our county, and whether the trend to is concentrate or disperse this activity.  Similarly, one of the things planners have to evaluate with development is the impact to natural resources.  We know that there is an interest in conservation for resources, including farm and forest lands, and would like to identify the priority areas for restriction on development in Wasco County.

Pioneering Pathways to Prosperity (bottom left) is the Wasco County mission statement. We are inviting participants to think about what this mission means to them and how they think land use planning can help them achieve this goal.

The development types list (bottom right) is not exhaustive, and was generated through analysis of the recurring inquiries current planning staff gets on the phone, at the counter and via email.  While it doesn’t touch on all the many development types and activities our land use plans address, it does help us begin to identify themes for moving forward through the Wasco County 2040 process.  We invite participants to think about these things in terms of encouragement and discouragement for development because most of these uses already exist in Wasco County, and in most cases Wasco County does not have the opportunity to prohibit outright.


Interested in having staff present to your community or organization?  Please contact us here.

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