The council is a citizen-driven outgrowth of four community forums held during 2006 and 2007. The forums grew from widespread recognition that change is coming to our region, and our community needs a process to have regional conversations about growth and change across the boundaries of existing governmental and private entities. Called "Riding the Wave—Managing Community Change", the forums were moderated by Ben Warner, deputy director of the Jacksonville Community Council, a citizen group with over 35 years of cooperative problem solving in northern Florida.
At the third "Riding the Wave" forum in June 2007, participants formed a founding board to establish a Community Council representing the area extending from Dayton to Burbank and Milton-Freewater to the Snake River. The founding board designed a new nonprofit corporation with articles and bylaws that would establish and sustain a continuing problem-solving forum and process where residents of the region could meet, interact in a mutually respectful environment, identify problems and challenges, reach consensus, and plan action for the common good.
At the fourth forum, in November 2007, the founding board developed a board of directors to:
- Involve citizens throughout the region in discussing issues of common concern.
- Develop a comprehensive matrix of baseline measurements of the health of the regional community—in everything from land and water use to social and economic services—to help guage progress.
- Select issues for discussion and action.
- Establish committees to research the selected issues for informed discussion.
- Provide advocacy to relevant entities based on research and consensus.
- Measure success annually against the informational matrix.
Thus, the Community Council will generate a recurring cycle of community discussion, research, consensus, advocacy and measurement of progress.