Futurewise in 2017: a year of wins and progress

December 14, 2017

In spite of many challenges, 2017 has been a year of wins and progress for growth management across Washington.  Take a a look at some of what your support has made happen:

We worked all over the state...

The counties across Washington State where Futurewise was most active in 2017

2017 saw progress at the county level all over the state for a future with reduced sprawl and smarter land use planning. Here are some of our county-level wins:

  • After twenty years of continued effort by Futurewise and partners, Ferry County’s land designations finally responsibly protect sensitive wildlife areas.
  • Clark County amended many elements of its flawed land-use plans to align with the Growth Management Act, due to Futurewise’s legal persistence.
  • We supported Jefferson County’s Shoreline Master Program as it withstood attempts by anti-environmental groups to roll back fish and wildlife protections.
  • In Spokane County, the court of appeals upheld a Futurewise win, preventing unnecessary sprawl.
  • Futurewise’s efforts to fix the land use policies of both Pierce County and Okanagan County – heavily centered around protecting agricultural land – survived motions to dismiss, and will continue in 2018.

Thanks to funding from Columbia Riverkeeper, we now have an on-the-ground presence in the Tri-Cities of Richland, Kennewick and Pasco. Our staff will work to organize the community around issues affecting land use, water pollution and more. Stay tuned for updates!

We engaged dynamic partners...

Futurewise convened national experts and cross-sector leaders across the Pacific Northwest to discuss and share innovative financing techniques to make it economically sustainable for communities to afford crucial pollution-preventing infrastructure.

Communicating with residents about complex topics like rainwater pollution is challenging, but very important.  Throughout this year, we played a major role in driving the coalition-run STORM project to research effective rainwater pollution messaging for Puget Sound communities.

We got to the root of tough problems...

We know that climate change doesn’t affect every community equally. This year, we completed our groundbreaking Climate Challenges Atlas that examines the projected impacts of climate change across geographic and demographic segments of Seattle. This tool also presents suggestions for strengthening at-risk communities and mitigating climate change impacts.

Futurewise’s data expertise was put into action to develop a fine-grained understanding of displacement in south King County, so that it can be better prevented and so that better support can be provided for those most at risk for displacement.

We implemented creative solutions...

In 2016, Futurewise won a common-sense State Supreme Court victory protecting groundwater resources from over-allocation and depletion. This, the Hirst decision, is a victory again in 2017 after withstanding continuous legislative attacks aiming to overturn this important decision.

Our Spokane team protected the spirit of the bike-, pedestrian- and transit-friendly Spokane Complete Streets policy by organizing and pushing the city council to close a loophole – one that allowed major elements of the policy to be almost entirely sidestepped.

Futurewise has been instrumental in turning out over 100 residents to testify at Seattle City Council in support of affordable housing policies and in organizing support to drive these policy campaigns to completion, as the city forges forward with HALA and its goal of 20,000 new affordable homes.

This year, we worked in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners to build a database of publicly-owned land in King County where transit-accessible housing and early learning centers can be built - more here.

...all for a better future.

We're looking at more opportunities to enact a forward-thinking agenda in 2018, including a unique opportunity to review and improve the bedrock of growth management processes in Washington, the 1990 Growth Management Act.