From the Archive: What is the Cascadia Project? 1994

What is the Cascadia Project? – From 1994 and the birth of the Cascadia Task Force and Cascadia Economic Council – much of the forerunner of the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, Cascadia Mayors Council and others.

“Bi-National regions are emerging as key environmental and economic units throughout the world.” – U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield, Oregon.

April 1994 Here in the Cascadia Corridor – from Vancouver and Victoria, B.C. to Eugene, Oregon – we share many things: geography, climate, similar economies, an appreciation of the environment, and a Pacific-oriented international outlook. We also face common challenges posed by urbanization and the movement of people and goods along the corridor. The Discovery Instituteʼs Cascadia Project is premised on the idea that cross-border cooperation is the key to ensuring mobility, economic growth, and a healthy environment in our region in the years to come. The Project works to promote such cooperation through the creation of strategic alliances of business, government, and labor across the Cascadia Corridor. While Discoverʼs Cascadia Project is a multi-faceted one, its two key initiatives are the Cascadia Task Force and the Cascadia Economic Council (described below).

Discovery Senior Fellow John Miller chairs the Cascadia Project. Project Director is Bruce Agnew. Start-up funds for the Cascadia Project were provided by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, Discovery Institute, Port of Tacoma, Port of Seattle, City of Seattle and City of Surrey, B.C.

Cascadia Task Force

Chaired by Seattleʼs Mayor Norm Rice, funded initially through a grant from the Hendry M. Jackson foundation in 1991 and later by the Gates Foundation in 2001, the Cascadia Task Force is a cross-border strategic alliance of regional planning, provincial/state, federal agencies working together on cross-border mobility, enhancing our regionʼs competitive position in the global marketplace, and increasing international environmental cooperation along the Vancouver, B.C. to Eugene, Oregon corridor. The Task Force works in partnership with PNWER, PACE, and the B.C.-based Cascadia Institute and International Centre for Sustainable Cities. Specific goals of the Task Force include the following:

  • Securing broad-based support for renewed Amtrak service from Vancouver, B.C., to Eugene, OR. • Advocating increased investment in the development of high-speed rail and regional transit connections.

  • Improving cross-border passage of people, goods, and capital through enhanced technology, intermodal connections, and publicprivate partnerships.

  • Encouraging cross-border cooperation in the tourism, trade, and international marketing of the region.

  • Providing a forum for cross –border education and strategic planning in urbanization, sustainable development, and environmental regulation.

Cascadia Economic Council

The Cascadia Economic Council is a U.S.-Canadian regional alliance to encourage greater cross-border cooperation. Charter members include: The Boeing Co., Weyerhauser Co., U.S. Bank, PacificCorp, Oregon Steel Mills, PEMCO Financial Center, Frank Russell Co., Lynden Transport Co., Advanced Technology Laboratories, U.S. West, and Discovery Institute. The council works in partnership with Task Forces business and labor members such as Trade Development Alliance of Seattle-King County, Tacoma World Trade Center, Portland World Trade Center, and Cascadia Institute (B.C.). Preliminary goals include: • Advocating regional cooperation and participation in Task Force work.

  • Promoting Cascadia as an international destination for trade, tourism and investment.

  • Advocating joint trade missions in software, biotechnology/environmental technology.

  • Eliminating government barriers to cross-border capital flow and technology.

  • Organizing and annual Cascadia Retreat of economic and political leaders.

  • Exploring a possible regional development bank for border infrastructure investment and a potential Cascadia stock exchange

  • Encouraging cooperative strategies for sustainable development.

  • Advocating increased cultural, arts, sports, and educational cooperation in the Cascadia region.

1994 Cascadia Transportation/Trade Task Force Work Plan

1.) BI-NATIONAL HIGH-SPEED RAIL: Secure broad-based, cross-border public and private support for enhanced Amtrak and high-speed rail service between Eugene, Oregon and Vancouver, B.C.

a. Support Northwest Rail Working Group/Rep. Swiftʼs work on Amtrak service to Vancouver, B.C.

b. Support increased U.S. and Canadian, state/provincial, local and private sector funding and administrative changes for incremental high speed rail corridor development.

2.) TRADE CORRIDOR: Support cross-border cooperation to improve the movement of goods and people along the Cascadia/Northwest corridor through enhanced technology /IVHS, efficient intermodal connections, elimination of border crossing delays and public-private partnerships.

a. Border Crossing Working Group

i. Leverage local dues and private sector resources with US and Canadian support for locally directed Bi-National Pilot Project (in partnership w/PNWER) to address border crossing delay issues, operational efficiencies, highway approach capacity and safety issues.

ii. Work with trade corridor alliances along northern tier of states and provinces (CAN/AM Border Trade Alliance) to ensure our regionʼs fair share of federal inspection, infrastructure and technology program.

b. Cascadia Port Working Group (proposed)

i. Explore cooperation in national/state environmental standards, agricultural inspections, ballast disposal policing, dredging and hazardous material disposal.

ii. Support forum for cross-border marine/airport leaders to discuss joint long-tern planning opportunities for Asia-Pacific/Cascadia Corridor strategies in the global marketplace.

c. Trade Corridor Economic Strategies Working Group (proposed)

i. In partnership with trade-alliances, labor, and world trade centers, research and identity barriers to cross-border capital flow, uniform product standards and value-added industries.

ii. Explore feasibility of cross-border, public/private development bank for infrastructure.

iii. In cooperation with Bi-national Pilot Project provide cross-border forum for coordination of information highway, freight mobility, port access, and intelligent vehicle highway system development.

3.) BI-NATIONAL TOURISM: develop international marketing for Cascadia region, improve international/intermodal transportation connections, and eliminate delays at Ports of Entry.

a. In partnership with bi-national pilot project, explore feasibility of a Discover Casca
dia Card, an international/intermodal transportation pass, PACE sticker and credit card with fees earmarked for cross-border infrastructure and international tourism promotion.

b. Follow-up on results of Tourism Canada report and bi-national tourism meeting held March 30, 1994 at the Cascadia Conference. Develop Cascadia Map, brochure, adventure guide and tour package material. Explore cooperation on the Indian nation/aboriginal tourism, pre-and post Alaska cruise ship tours, regional rail touring, northern partnerships (B.C., Alberta and Alaska), ASEAN (Southeast Asian).

4.) CASCADIA ROUNTABLE ON SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES: provide a cross-border forum for education, citizen participation and strategic planning for sustainable development.

a. Organize a cross-border “Metropolitan Caucus” (Greater Vancouver Regional District, Puget Sound Regional Council, Portland METRO) of elected officials to work together of growth management and transportation challenges facing metropolitan regions.

b. Explore with Universities, federal, state/provincial and regional planning agencies as well as the private sector the feasibility of a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) map, international database and demographic information for Cascadia /Georgia Basin/Willamette Valley region).

c. Follow-up on recommendations of the International Centre for Sustainable Cities report on Sustainability in Cascadia; increased participation in Cascadia Sustainability issues.


B.C. Trade Development Corporation B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Highways Canadian Consulate General City of Portland City of Richmond, B.C. City of Seattle City of Tacoma City of White Rock, B.C. Clark County Columbia River inter-tribal Fish Commission Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments Federal Highway Administration Fraser River Harbour Commission Greater Vancouver Regional District Lance Council of Governments Oregon House Commerce Committee Oregon State Joint Trade and Economic Development Committee Washington Legislative Transportation Committee Washington Senate Trade and Economics Development Committee Washington House Trade and Economics Development Committee Lummi Tribal Council METRO-Portland Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments Municipality of Surrey Nooksack Tribal Council Oregon Cascade West Council of Governments Oregon Association of Rail Passengers Oregon Dept. of Transportation Oregon Economic Development Department Pacific Northwest Economic Region Port of Centralia Port of Portland Port of Tacoma Port of Seattle Port of Vancouver Portland Development Commission Puget Sound Regional Council Puget Sound Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Dept. of Interior Puyallup Tribe Skagit Council of Governments SW regional Planning Council Thurston Regional Planning Council Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle Transport Canada Tulalip Tribes U.S. Consulate U.S. Department of Transportation Vancouver Board of Trade Vancouver International Airport Authority Vancouver Port Corporation Washington Association of Rail Passengers Washington State Dept. of Transportation Washington State Dept. of Trade and Development Washington State Transportation Commission Whatcom Council of Governments World Trade Center-Tacoma World Trade Center-Portland

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