Perspectives — Gene's corner
The latest musings and reflections on sustaining this region from Forterra President Gene Duvernoy.
We held our 4th Ampersand LIVE last fall at the Moore Theater, with 1200 totally engaged guests. I mean totally engaged. Those on stage told stories, showed pictures, played music and danced. Some of the performances embraced us and some starkly challenged us. It summed to a cross-section of the many voices of our Pacific Northwest. The 90 minutes covered the worries of this place, the hopes of this place and the changes we need to make in this place to be all it can—a sustaining community for everyone here already, and for those yet to come.
I wrote this post as a Sunday interlude 6 days and 5 hours since after our clocks struck 10:20 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, Monday August 21, the exact moment that the moon passed precisely in front of the sun to create a shadow across the northwest, to a greater or lesser extent. By the time we post this, the media mania of the moment will be onto something else, which assuredly will not be anywhere near as benign as a solar eclipse.
Two days of conversation with leaders across Kittitas County and one day of hiking. For the last few months and particularly over two concentrated days, we met with business leaders, advocates, planners, developers, farmers, elected officials and tribal leaders; to name some. The conversations only barely scratched the surface of course—of the richness of the place and the challenges it faces.
Our first visit was in July 1985, short as it was. We were on our tandem and passing through, checking out places to get married. Our first stay was late April 1994, delightful as it was. By then, we had our two kids in tow, and Sina took her first steps on the cabin’s porch. We’ve been returning for a week most every year since.
The weather so far this spring has been as dour and soggy as any of the past 37 that I’ve lived here in the PNW. This Saturday morning was different. Twenty-five days past the equinox and this mid-April day was leaning in and living up to its place on our Gregorian calendar. Accordingly, I was sitting and sunning outside, thinking about the cosmological event in miniature that I witnessed last summer.
Well friends, we have now had our 44th back-to-back peaceful transfer of power, to the 45th occupant of our Nation’s Presidential Office. We are six weeks shy of two centuries and twenty years since Washington handed the reigns to Adams. No coups, no assassinations by the opposition, no revolutions; but, yes, one immensely bloody civil war with scars still raw over 150 years later. Still, it is a remarkable history.
I have returned to our state’s eastside numerous times this year, drawn by an incredible, long-loved ranch. On a Thursday evening last July I spent the afternoon with the family who has called the ranch home for over 70 years. We ended the conversation about 7:00 in the evening.
Gene sits down with the Seattle Chamber president to talk leadership and the connection between business and sustainability.
I spend my days with some of the very best people in the region who are driven to make our place all it can be. Frank Pritchard was one of these great PNW citizens. Frank was a founding board member of Forterra, back when we called ourselves the Seattle-King County Land Trust.
Gene Duvernoy’s hike in Alpine Lakes Wilderness serves as a reminder of just how important the Land and Water Conservation Fund is to the wilderness areas in Washington. LWCF protects and supports some our most treasured spaces but it expires in less than 100 days.
It has been 10 years since the launch of the Cascade and Olympic Agendas, and it is time for a top-to-bottom refresh. Through a series of structured conversations, town hall meetings and crowd sourcing, we will be working toward the Next Wave of the Agendas in the spring of 2015.