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Getting to the heart of a grove

In recent years, many businesses, public institutions and non-profit groups, have learned the value of coming up with a 'mission statement.' These statements, which can be as short as a single sentence or go on for pages, are designed to help people, whether inside the organization or out, understand its focus.

They're useful tools for trying to answer the frequent question, 'Should we be doing this?' If it's consistent with the mission statement, then it's worth considering. If not, you'd better think twice before proceeding.

For the past several months a group of Forest Grove residents has been quietly working on a similar project for an entire city, crafting a 'Vision Statement.' A draft of the statement, released last week, shows an amazing degree of thought. The statement, printed below, honors the values of the city's founders while celebrating the changes and acknowledging the challenges that will come as population grows and becomes more diverse. The statement is a work in progress and the city welcomes comments before it is adopted (See Kerstin Cathcart's guest column to the right). The trick, of course, will be coming up with the action plans to implement the vision and then sticking to them.

But the draft statement is an impressive first step. The volunteers who crafted it deserve credit for all their hard work, and the city staff members should be thanked for helping them, without imposing their own agendas.

Forest Grove Vision Statement

Draft July 20, 2006

Forest Grove is a twenty-first century small, full-service city. It was settled in 1841 by pioneers who valued respect for education, faith, enterprise, service to humanity and the bountiful resources of the Tualatin Plain. Those values persist to inspire a common vision for a high quality of life in a thriving and progressive community that reaches from its historical commercial core around Pacific University to a horizon of forests, farms, vineyards and the Coast Range. As an engaged and diverse citizenry, we assure sustainability in our economy and our environment, thus supporting a community that nurtures our youth, educates all citizens and attracts and welcomes visitors. Forest Grove is itself a destination that thrives by design and is our home.

Forest Grove is a Destination

that offers visitors and residents:

A rich heritage preserved by honoring the city's natural, cultural and historic treasures while also embracing the future.

A gateway to forests, waterways, beaches, and mountains; this wealth of resources is cherished and preserved to foster sport, recreation, reflection and leisure.

Arts and culture that abound throughout the year; we celebrate our cultures and participate in a wide variety of visual and performing arts and festivals.

Forest Grove is a community by Design through:

Participation of an engaged citizenry and accessible, responsive government.

Planning that considers and accommodates both the desires and needs of all community members to ensure their quality of life and prosperity.

Sustainable transportation modes, systems, and networks that provide opportunities for all to conveniently and safely move about within and outside of the community.

Economic development that is enterprising, diverse, and ecologically sound, that provides ample opportunities for employment, and ensures the vitality of the community.

Fiscally sound funding of quality public safety and municipal services including locally owned public utility and watershed

Forest Grove is Home to:

Individuals who are respected and valued regardless of their age, abilities, or differences, and where all citizens are included in the life of the community through excellent education, recreation, and social programs.

Young people who are nurtured and encouraged to achieve their full potential.

Families of every size and description who have the resources needed for lifelong learning and development.

Distinctive neighborhoods replete with a variety of accessible housing options, schools, parks, places of worship and social gathering, and farmlands and open spaces.

A community in harmony, bound by commonly shared respect for its citizens, natural resources, economic vitality, and its active role in a global society.