What’s your vision for Washougal?

Citizen-led group seeking ideas for town’s future, will host ‘Picnic in the Plaza’ event July 1

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Washougal residents and business owners have formed an organization to collaborate on short-term projects that have long-term impacts, with an emphasis on people, sustainability and innovation.

Now they want to know what you think.

Alex Yost, Shannon Pratuch, Heather Jordan and Jeff Olson founded the Washougal Round Table in October 2016. They will host a free public event to gather community members’ feedback on what Washougal needs in the long-term, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, July 1, in downtown Washougal’s Reflection Plaza, 1703 Main St. The free “Washougal Conversation Board” event will include music and opportunities for area residents to indicate why they love to live, work and play in Washougal.

“We want to set the tone for positive communication,” Pratuch said about the “Washougal Conversation Board” event.

The ideas gathered by the Washougal Round Table group will eventually head to the Washougal City Council and could held influence future city policy decisions.

For the Round Table founders, the idea of citizen-led activism and grassroots organization is nothing new.

Yost, a co-owner of OurBar, in downtown Washougal, said she is personally invested in Washougal’s long-term success and wants Washougal Round Table to evolve into a comprehensive web of cross-community collaboration.

“We need to start connecting the dots and building stronger bonds between our key stakeholders, local associations, elected officials and individuals,” Yost said. “As Washougal grows, it is crucial that our citizens have a voice in the decision-making process and are actively involved in helping shape that growth.”

Yost, 30, said Washougal Round Table volunteers hope to identify the needs of the community by continuing to facilitate open, authentic communication and engaging individuals in meaningful projects that improve quality of life.

Her background in leadership and organizing began when she was in high school, coordinating blood drives and initiating a lunchroom campaign that registered eligible students to vote. Now, as a chef and successful entrepreneur, Yost said she relies on skills like creativity, flexibility, versatility, adaptability and the ability to maintain a constant connection with customers.

“Running OurBar for the past four years, in partnership with my husband Kevin, has helped me hone these necessary skills and gain unique insight to the wants and needs of Washougal today,” she said.

Pratuch, a three-year resident of Washougal, owns Scene Marketing Group, of Washougal.

She also has experience in public relations and brand strategy.

“I want to invest in this community,” Pratuch said.

She and her husband invested in OurBar through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.

Wayne Pattinson and Dan and Kathy Huntington are members of the Washougal Round Table development committee.

Dan Huntington, 58, said Washougal — with its easy access to nature and Portland — has the potential to be uniquely appealing to both locals and visitors.

“I hope to leverage our town’s natural and cultural advantages in a way that dramatically improves Washougal’s quality of life,” he said.

Dan, a Washougal resident for 26 years, is active locally in real estate, business, land conservation and outdoor recreation.

“I know a lot of people here,” he said. “I know the land, and I know the history.”

Kathy Huntington, 55, said her goal with participating in Washougal Round Table is to engage with the broader community.

“I want to listen to what folks would like to see in our town and then work to find creative ways to make those things happen,” she said. “I’d like to contribute to an inclusive vision of a vibrant supportive community.”

Kathy has lived in Washougal for 11 years.

The Huntingtons are real estate brokers for the Camas-based Windermere Crest.

The next Washougal Round Table development meeting is set for 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 13, in the Camas Public Library, 625 N.E. Fourth Ave. Meetings are open to the public.

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