Finally!!! Spring has arrived. This season brings increasing daylight, warming temperatures, and the rebirth of flora. But as we rejoice in the coming of this season, it is also a time for grief as we reflect on the SR 530 slide and its devastating effect on its citizens and communities. The horrific tragedy of the SR 530 Slide should bring those of us paying attention, especially economic developers, closer to a character building moment. Lessons learned include the renewed understanding that people have extraordinary courage and resilience, empathy is a force of nature and economic development work actually can and does rescue and transform communities.
As practitioners, we discover that attempting to do all we can includes helping communities be ready for disruptions, both for the pragmatic reason to preserve real investments and the compassionate one to mitigate the unimaginable pain of recovery. A little bit of reflection informs us that more preparation and planning is not squandering precious resources, it is ensuring a future less vulnerable to unexpected events. It also enables strategic recovery efforts to provide the opportunity for children to readily return safely to schools, workers resume careers and allows for the restoration and continuation of civic life. As rescue operations continue to unfold, we should start thinking of planting the seeds of innovation so that the communities can see a future when spring once again becomes a time of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth.