Press Release: HUD Awards Forterra and Olympic Peninsula Consortium Preferred Sustainability Status

Press Release, Dec. 6, 2011

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced recently that it awarded Preferred Sustainability Status to the Olympic Peninsula Consortium, a group representing Clallam, Jefferson, Mason and Grays Harbor Counties. The award comes in response to the group’s application to HUD’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant.

The Consortium—which was led by Forterra (formerly Cascade Land Conservancy) and includes representatives from Tribes, local governments, working forest and agricultural landowners, business owners, recreationists and conservationists—applied to HUD to fund a regional transportation, infrastructure and resource plan to enhance the Peninsula’s economic sustainability. The project would be the first effort of its scale in the region.

Though the proposal was not funded, the application was among the top 20 percent of the nearly 500 applications, and therefore eligible for Preferred Sustainability Status.

The Status provides awardees bonus points or increased consideration on future HUD and federal grant competitions and access to technical assistance resources. It lays the groundwork for Forterra and the Consortium to implement their plan.

“We look forward to pursuing the opportunities presented by Preferred Sustainability Status,” said Gene Duvernoy, Forterra president. “This Status gives us an important advantage as we continue to implement regional-scale efforts for the Peninsula’s economic development.”

Forterra and the Consortium proposed to improve economic sustainability with regional transportation planning and infrastructure investments, the utilization of natural resources, and improvement of connections between the Peninsula’s urban and rural communities at the local, regional and global scales.

Forterra plans to advance its efforts on the peninsula with funding from two grant sources: The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded Forterra a grant to help communities on the Olympic Peninsula integrate economic development, historic preservation and urban design. The grant will fund a series of hands-on workshops for Peninsula communities and technical assistance opportunities for two communities in 2012.

Forterra also has received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities to provide smart growth technical assistance to four to seven cities across the Olympic Peninsula and Central Puget Sound region. The targeted technical assistance will help make communities more economically and environmentally sustainable as they continue to grow.

Communities will be able to apply to participate in the programs funded by the EPA and NEA grants beginning in early 2012.