The McKenzie River Area is home to 9 unincorporated communities spanning 50+ miles from Cedar Flat to McKenzie Bridge. Communities along the McKenzie River have faced many ups and downs due to changes in natural resource industries including gold, dam construction and timber.
Accomplishments Despite Adversity
In order to address community needs, residents formed the Blue River Community Development Corporation, a 501c(3) nonprofit organization in 1997. Over the years, the BRCDC worked with Lane County, the US Forest Service, and the Ford Family Foundation on many projects; from restrooms and trash amnesty days to community signs and Blue River Water District improvements this organization and its volunteers have made huge contributions to the long term viability of McKenzie River communities.
A New Beginning through Grassroots Effort
Following community participation in the Ford Institute Leadership Program, the McKenzie River Action Team formed. Beginning in 2014, the Team discussed and reviewed the 1996 McKenzie River Strategic Plan and Vision for 2010, articulating a strategic direction and goals. They began working on a number of projects with the assistance of a RARE AmeriCorps member serving as Community Engagement Coordinator. Through many outreach efforts, we connected with community members to hear their thoughts about these projects and others they would like to work on. In May of 2016, the McKenzie River Action Team worked with the Blue River CDC to combine efforts, transitioning into the McKenzie Community Development Corporation (MCDC). The MCDC has a larger geographic scope, serving as an umbrella organization to address important community needs in collaboration with other local organizations.
Vision for the Future: What Do Our Communities Need & How Do We Get There?
The McKenzie Community Development Corporation recognizes the importance of a vibrant economy, affordable housing, living wage jobs, social services, quality education and more – we are working to ensure our organizations and communities have the capacity to plan, make decisions, and act together while moving towards the realization of positive social, economic, and environmental outcomes. In October 2017, we adopted a new strategic plan.
One goal within our plan is to mobilize community action by growing community engagement and organizational capacity to achieve collective goals. We seek to move towards this goal by providing organizational and project support, expanding coordinated communications through a community website, connecting community members with meaningful volunteer opportunities, as well as fostering partnerships and collaborative projects.
A second goal is to mobilize community improvement by connecting the McKenzie communities around a collective image while celebrating their unique assets and addressing infrastructure concerns. Additionally, we seek to engage locals and visitors with our working farms, forests and rivers of the McKenzie. From a collaborative vision for a local Children’s Forest to encouraging involvement in improving our local food system, we want to support our community in stewardship of our unique natural and cultural assets.
As we begin to work on these goals, we will continue to develop our organization – expanding our board and committees to be more reflective of our population, strengthening our communications to ensure transparency and continuing to nurture strategic partnerships within our local, regional and state networks. View our directory listing for more information.
We hope you will join us in crafting the area’s bright future!
To get involved in any of these initiatives, please contact Ashley Adelman – Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org