Program Overview | Committees | Plans & Studies
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By attracting new business and industry, helping existing businesses to survive and grow, and pursuing improvements to public and private infrastructure, economic development promotes a healthy economy and quality standard of living. Typical economic development objectives focus on creating conditions that lead to stable employment, sustainable wages, and tax revenues to pay for public services and facilities. As economic development efforts are highly tailored to individual communities’ assets and needs, there is no cookie-cutter recipe in terms of successful strategies, policies, or programs. Broadly, economic development encompasses three major areas:
- Policies that government undertakes to meet broad economic objectives including high employment and sustainable growth
- Projects and programs to provide services and infrastructure such as building highways, managing parks, and providing medical access to the disadvantaged
- Policies and programs explicitly directed at improving the business climate through such efforts as business finance, marketing, neighborhood development, business retention and expansion, technology transfer, and real estate development
In our region, the CWCOG collaborates with local governments, economic development councils, non-profit agencies and organizations, and the community to address issues and gain resources that advance the region’s economic condition and strengthen its competitive advantages. CWCOG staff researches and monitors trends within Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Lewis counties, generating a variety of data, information, grant opportunities and resources on behalf of local jurisdictions, businesses and the public.
Southwest Washington Economic Development District (SWEDD)
The vision of the Southwest Washington Economic Development District (SWEDD) is to achieve economic prosperity while maintaing our rural quality of life.
The mission of the SWEDD is to promote the creation of family wage jobs; diversification of the economic base; and growth, development, and retention of business and industry within the Cowlitz, Lewis, and Wahkiakum region.
The SWEDD - previously known as Cowlitz-Lewis Economic Development District (CLEDD) - was oficially designated in July 1998 by the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA), cementing an interlocal agreement between the counties of Cowlitz and Lewis to jointly conduct economic development planning assistance, and planning and funding research to the counties, cities, ports, unincorporated towns, the Cowlitz Tribe, and the chambers of commerce.
In 2013, the CLEDD voted to include Wahkiakum County and its cities, ports, and chamber. The Cowlitz and Lewis Economic Development Councils (EDC) are also partners in the SWEDD. Through this designation, and with funding from EDA, the SWEDD assists the region with infrastructure and long-range planning, the targeting of investments in business and industry infrastructure, and the coordination of business development strategies.
The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG) is the administrative agency for the SWEDD and provides staff and resources to implement the SWEDD work. The SWEDD assists the region's workforce development agencies, Washington State University (WSU) Extension offices and chambers of commerce to promote economic development and community improvement.
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Plans & Studies
Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Report
The CWCOG is responsible for developing and updating a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) that identifies the public infrastructure, projects, and programs needed to support economic development. The CEDS identifies strategies for improvement in various business and job sectors of the region and includes trends, indicators, and projects that address the region’s economic development goals. The CEDS is produced every five years in conjunction with our many partners throughout the three-county economic development district. A CEDS action plan is completed annually that includes economic updates, trends, indicators, and projects that support the CEDS five-year goals, objectives, and strategies.
- Final 2014-2018 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategic Plan (PDF)
- CEDS Project and Plan Submission Form for new or updated projects (fillable PDF form)
- More publications
- Adopted 2016 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) annual report
**The 2017-18 CEDS update/annual report is available here**
Fire & Ice Scenic Loop Corridor Management Plan
The Fire & Ice Scenic Loop Corridor Management Plan catalyzes economic growth in Clark, Lewis, Cowlitz, and Skamania counties. The Fire & Ice loop surrounds Mount St. Helens and includes State Routes 14, 503, 504, and 505; US Hwy. 12; Curly Creek Road; and Wind River Road. The final plan can be viewed here.
The plan, funded by the Federal Highway Administration, identifies cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic features around the loop, as well as strategies to enhance and promote these qualities to encourage more overnight visitor stays. The steering committee and technical teams that worked on the plan crafted recommendations geared to promote tourism, improve traveler safety, and increase access to recreational opportunities.
- SR 14 Corridor Management Plan - Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
- White Pass Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan
- Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument Strategic Investment Plan
- Mount St. Helens Broadband Feasibility Study
- Chehalis River Basin Flood Authority documents
- Regional Prosperity and a Skilled Workforce was presented by Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council, Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council, and Lower Columbia College on October 24, 2013. The workforce development councils also distributed handouts of their PowerPoint presentation
Data / Information
"Regional Prosperity and a Skilled Workforce" presented by Southwest Washington Workforce Devleopment Council, Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council and Lower Columbia College, was given to a combined meeting of the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments' Board and the Cowlitz-Lewis Economic Development District Board on October 24, 2013.
The CWCOG has recently hosted Economic Development trainings, the most recent being a training on Census Data. The Census Data training materials from August 3, 2017 are available here.
SWEDD meetings are quarterly. See calendar for specific meeting dates and locations.
- Cowlitz Economic Development Council
- Lewis Economic Development Council
- Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce
- Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce
- Kalama Chamber of Commerce
- Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce
- Wahkiakum County Chamber of Commerce
- Woodland Chamber of Commerce
- Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council
- Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council
- Washington Small Business Development Center
- Washington State Department of Commerce
For further information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 360.577.3041.
Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments
207 4th Avenue North
Kelso, WA 98626
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Bill Fashing, Economic Development Planner