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During 2011, the Ford Institute engaged representatives from Rural Development Initiatives (RDI), Nonprofit Association of Oregon (NAO) and Human Systems (HS) in thinking about follow-up strategies in communities who had completed the five year Ford Institute Leadership Program. Through these discussions, Pathways to Community Vitality was born. The purpose of Pathways to Community Vitality (PCV) is "in a nutshell" to assist communities in assessing collective capacity and moving intentionally to action. In the Spring of 2011, Ford approached Banks with an invitation to begin the Pathways to Community Vitality Program.

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Our Steering Committee has been meeting monthly to keep forward progress on improving communication in our community and facilitating a shared vision for the residents of Banks and the surrounding area. Our meetings have been full of good ideas and we are working diligently to bring them about.

To improve communications, we have looked at a variety of ideas that have been proposed and are currently focusing on one, namely getting a website up that can hold a community calendar and be a guide for all of the organizations that exist (that we can get information about) in and around Banks. The website is now up! We will continue to work on additional means of communication.

To help establish a shared vision for our community, we have been working to recruit a student consultant from PSU's School of Public Administration to create, conduct, and interpret a survey of our community, to determine what people feel are the defining characteristics of the area. We want to know people's stories about what this town has been for them, and what they are hoping this community can be as we go forward into the future.

We have also been exploring opportunities for people to simply share their stories with one another at one of our community events, so that people can get to know their neighbors more closely, and expand our understanding about what it means to be a part of this community.

A lot of work has been done and more that still needs to be done. Please contact Denise Dethlefs at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to get more involved in one of these projects or if you have some feedback you want us to hear.

 

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