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ning has been taken a step farther back, to the framing of the plan
itself. Though I was unable to visit the Columbia Basin personally,
I had the opportunity of hearing about the work there from one who
had been concerned with it from the start, Professor Kenneth Warner,
now at the University of Tennessee.
Planning in the region was begun by the Pacific North-West
Regional Planning Commission—one of the two official planning
bodies in existence, both of them under the National Resources
Planning Board.1 Some members of this were dissatisfied with the
amount of local support for planning, and took the initiative in the
formation of a non-official planning body, the North-West Regional
Council. This has become a clearing-house for research on regional
problems, and has done a great deal to present them to the public,
both directly by books and pamphlets and articles, and indirectly
through the educational system. In this latter field it conducts short
week-end courses and longer "study workshops" for teachers, and
has a panel of educational consultants which, as in the TV A, is getting
a great deal of material into the curriculum. It also seeks to stimu-
late the interest of various professional groups. Any plans eventually
adopted for this huge region will be more thorough for the work of
the Council, and will command much more public interest and
backing from the outset.
In specific cases, popular and local participation has already been
achieved in detailed practical projects. The best example of this so
far is Elma, in the State of Washington. Elma is a little community
of under 10,000 people, which had been largely dependent on timber.
Over-cutting of the forests resulted in the closing of its one big mill,
and the entire area was faced with disaster. The local Chamber of
Commerce asked the State Planning Commission to help in in-
vestigating their problems. The commission enlisted the further
support of the two regional bodies we have already mentioned, the
official Commission and the non-official Council, together with other
agencies, and the Elma Survey was initiated. But Elma was not
treated as merely a passive subject for investigation. Help was given
on the express understanding that the community would participate
—and participate it did, on the grand scale.
Picked High School students collected valuable information needed
for the survey (incidentally educating themselves in the process);
discussions of the town's problems in class led to discussion in the
home; the local newspaper gave much space to the survey and its
1 Whose appropriations have been discontinued by Congress since this article
was written—a disastrous piece of political folly.
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