5/11 Columbia River Gorge Commission meeting

The Columbia River Gorge Commission met yesterday online by Zoom. Most of the time was involved with a workshop continued from the previous meeting on DEI or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Earlier this year, a new section on DEI was added as part of the multi-year-long update to the Management Plan for the Scenic Area, and discussion has been started on how to implement those policies.

In other news, Executive Director Krystyna Wolniakowski announced that the Washington State Budget for the next two years includes funding for a badly-needed upgrade to the Commission’s data storage programs and equipment, and that things look good for Oregon to match that. Under the National Scenic Area Act, the two states have to fund the Gorge Commission equally.

If Oregon does come through, it will take several years to fully implement, but the rewards will be worth it not only for commissioners and staff, but for the general public according to Wolniakowski:

“We’re hoping that through this process we will be able to offer online applications, have everything much more publicly accessible on our website and other platforms and we hope that everything will be indexed in such a way that if anyone has any inquiry about anything that’s happened in the National Scenic Area over the last 35 years , that there will be a way to navigate that online.

The commission will know for sure once the Oregon budget for the next biennium is passed by June 1.