Economic Development

Program Overview  |  Committees  |  Plans & Studies
Data / Information  |  Calendar  |  Resources  |  Contact Staff

Program Overview

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:

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.


2017 2016
Agendas Minutes Agendas Minutes
July 28 July 28 October 6 October 6
June 6 June 6 July 21 July 21
May 2 May 2 May 5 May 5
January 31 January 31 February 4 February 4


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.

CEDS Documents


**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.

Related Documents


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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.

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SWEDD meetings are quarterly. See calendar for specific meeting dates and locations.

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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.

Directions to our office

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