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Agency Overview

What is a Council of Governments?

Lake Sacajawea in Longview, WashingtonA council of governments (COG) or regional council is a multi-purpose association of governments that delivers a diverse array of federal, state and local programs while fulfilling its primary function as a regional planning organization.  COGs can serve a region within a state or multiple states. They are accountable to their membership - the local units of government within that region.

Conceived in the 1960s, COGs were established under Revised Code of Washington (RCW) chapter 36.64.080 for the “purpose of studying regional and governmental problems of mutual interest and concern.”  Since then, the role of COGs has evolved with the ever changing dynamics within federal, state, and local government, as well as the growing awareness that within a region, entities must work together to resolve economic, infrastructure, social, and environmental issues.  Out of the 35,000 local, general purpose governments in the United States, more than 30,000 are served by a council of governments or regional council.





The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG) was established in 1961 as the Cowlitz Regional Planning Commission.  In 1974, the Planning Commission was reorganized under RCW 36.64.080, and renamed the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Governmental Conference and, in 1992, Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments.  The CWCOG is one of nine councils of government and regional councils in Washington State.

The CWCOG’s purpose is to serve our members by providing a regional forum to address issues of mutual interest and concern, develop recommendations, and provide a wide variety of technical and contractual services.  Our mission is to efficiently utilize resources so as to yield long-term benefits that enhance the quality of life for our communities and region.

Our basic area of service is within Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties, however as lead agency for the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SWRTPO), Grays Harbor, Lewis, and Pacific counties are also included.

Over the years, we have provided many types of services to our membership and communities.  Currently, the CWCOG’s adopted work program includes regional and local planning, transportation planning, community and economic development planning, technical assistance and information services, a wide array of contractual services, and substance abuse education and prevention strategies.  Financial support for CWCOG services is from annual membership fees, project specific federal and state grants, and contractual services.

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The CWCOG is a board-directed organization that meets once a month to oversee the operations of the CWCOG, approve policy direction, and discuss issues of importance to the region.  An executive committee makes limited decisions, developing recommendations to the board as requested by the board or director.  The CWCOG Director is accountable to the board and is responsible for the administration of the Council of Governments and its programs.

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The CWCOG is a voluntary association of general and special purpose governments and agencies in the Lower Columbia region.  Our current organizational structure is supported by a membership of 31 entities made up of counties, cities, school districts, utility districts, ports, fire districts, economic development councils, a community college, and other non-profit agencies in or near Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties.  These members are arranged into four categories:


General purpose, local governments within the boundaries of the CWCOG including counties and incorporated cities and towns.
Special purpose districts organized pursuant to state law and governed by a board of officials elected to serve that entity.
Any public agency or community non-profit organization who, upon approval of the CWCOG, pays an annual membership fee.
Any public agency or community non-profit organization outside but near the boundaries of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties for the purposes of participating in a single CWCOG program who pays an annual membership fee.


CWCOG Board Meeting Agendas & Minutes


2018 Agendas 2018 Minutes 2017 Agendas 2017 Minutes Presentations
January (meeting canceled)
January (meeting canceled)
June (meeting canceled)
June (meeting canceled)
August (meeting canceled)
August (meeting canceled)
November (meeting canceled)
November (meeting canceled)
November (meeting canceled)
November (meeting canceled)



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Annual Report Annual Budget/Work Program


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2017 Public Participation Plan

The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG) invites the public and interested stakeholders to review the 2017 update of the agency's Public Participation Plan.  The document is the agency's official policy outlining the methods utilized by the agency to solicit public and stakeholder input within the planning processes of its major and federally funded programs such as Washington State's Department of Transportation and US Department of Commerce/Economic Development Administration planning programs.  The document is an update to the CWCOG's 2009 Public Involvement Plan and was revised in part to address federal regulations dealing with public involvement and align with the agency's adopted Title VI policy.

Title VI Policy

The purpose of the CWCOG Title VI policy is to establish clear and comprehensive guidelines to fully comply with the laws and regulations governing the fair and equal treatment of any person regardless of race, color, national origin, handicap/disability, sex, age, income, or minority status and apply those guidelines to all programs and activities of the CWCOG.

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calendar iconThe CWCOG board of directors meets the 4th Thursday of every month at 12:00 noon.  Most meetings are held in the General Meeting room in the Cowlitz County Administration Building, 207 4th Avenue, N., Kelso.  Meetings are open to all elected officials. Public participation is encouraged. Spring and fall meetings are held in Cathlamet. Check our calendar by clicking on the calendar icon to the left for specific location each month.

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Do you want to make a difference in your community?  Come join the motivated and collaborative team at the CWCOG.  Support the growth and quality of life in this region. 

The CWCOG is looking for a Transportation & Community Development Planner who is a self-starter, motivated, and enthusiastic.  The successful candidate must possess a Bachelor's degree or higher in Urban and Regional Planning or similar field and 3-5 years of planning experience process related to transportation is required.  Position open until filled. 

Job Announcement

Job Description



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Contact Staff

For further information, please contact us at, or call (360) 577-3041.

Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments
Administration Annex
207 4th Avenue North
Kelso, WA 98626

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.



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