Walla Walla 2020 Organization History

Walla Walla 2020 was formed more than 25 years ago to envision a livable future for Walla Walla in the year 2020 and to work to realize that vision. Since its founding, 2020 has been a dynamic vehicle for efforts to preserve and enhance the quality of life in the Walla Walla area. This review will briefly summarize our current and past activities.

The Initial Years

There were four prongs to our original brainstorming vision, and we initially established four focus areas:

  1. We wanted a green community, so we established a Trees, Landscaping & Natural Resources Focus Area to help preserve and expand the greenery we already had.
  2. We wanted a community that lives lightly on the earth, so we established a Resource Conservation (Recycling & Waste Reduction) Focus Area.
  3. We wanted a human scale community friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists, so we set up a Transportation (Bike, Hike & Transit) Focus Area, emphasizing non-motorized transportation.
  4. We wanted a community with a strong center and one that respects its heritage, so we established a Architecture, Downtown & Neighborhoods Focus Area.

Out of these four basic focus area and a later fifth on Economic Development & Growth Management, many good things have happened:

  • Greenness

    180x180_tree_landscapeThe community has renewed its commitment to trees and landscaping, with many new tree planting projects undertaken by 2020 and others, a city urban forestry commission established at 2020’s request, a parking lot landscaping ordinance developed by 2020, 3 new park areas—Heritage, Xeriscape and Ft. Walla Walla Trail—established through 2020 initiatives and fundraising, as well as Walla Walla’s being officially recognized as a Tree City USA.

  • Resource Use & Reuse

    180x180_resource_conserveWe are now a community that recycles and has programs in place to reduce waste, thanks to an initial system of neighborhood recycling stations begun by 2020, a county recycling and waste reduction committee and office established through Walla Walla 2020’s leadership, a household hazardous waste facility, and curbside recycling throughout the city of Walla Walla.

  • Pedestrian & Bicycle Facilities

    180x180_transitWe now have bicycle lanes on a number of streets, a city bicycle advisory committee established at 2020’s request, new bike and pedestrian trails at Ft. Walla Walla and along Highway 12, bicycle and walkers maps, and Walla Walla’s first Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan.

  • Downtown & Architecture

    180x180_architectureWe have seen great progress in our downtown, which has been rehabilitated, and has begun the renovation and reuse of second story space, an active farmer’s market, and a variety of public art—all goals 2020 has worked toward, along with others. Major national awards have been received, and more historic buildings and homes are being restored, as well as being honored by handsome plaques provided by 2020, together with 2020 research reports establishing the buildings’ history. Our periodic architectural awards have made a contribution to this renewal and blossoming process, honoring the restoration or renovation and reuse of historic buildings, compatible new construction, outstanding examples of energy conservation, landscaping, and public art. Recent progress has also been made through 2020’s leadership in partnership with the Downtown Foundation in achieving Certified Local Government (CLG) status for the city of Walla Walla, and the establishment of a Walla Walla Historic Preservation Commission.

  • Economic Development & Growth Management

    180x180_growthA more open and democratic economic development program led by the Port of Walla Walla has been established, thanks to 2020’s advocacy, including its White Paper on Economic Development, and some progress is being made on growth management and the control of sprawl through adoption of a new county comprehensive plan under the Growth Management Act resulting from pressure from Citizens for Good Governance, though much remains to be done to protect Walla Walla’s open space and natural resources from continuing degradation. In 2003, 2020 served as the non-profit sponsor of the Northwest Festival of Jazz and Wine to assist in promoting the area’s wine industry as well as its art.

The history of Walla Walla 2020 demonstrates the importance of developing a vision, together with the will to act on that vision through direct initiatives and partnerships with other public and private entities.

There’s plenty left to do!

Use the contact form to find out how to get involved with Walla Walla 2020