The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG) is a joint governmental agency composed voluntarily of local governments in Washington State’s Cowlitz and Wahkiakum Counties and Oregon State’s City of Rainier and organized under Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 39.34.10.
Its core purpose is to study regional and governmental problems of mutual interest and concern as established under RCW 36.64.080. Council of governments or regional councils are unique in that they are a legislative-formed and agency sanctioned for the specific purpose to bring federal, state and/or local governments together to address regional and long-range issues and come to cooperative resolutions. Specifically, CWCOG’s mission is to efficiently utilize resources at a regional level to yield long-term benefits that enhance the quality of life for our local communities.
Originally formed in 1961 as a regional planning commission under RCW 36.70.060, the CWCOG was re-organized in 1974 under RCW 36.64.080 as the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Governmental Conference and re-named Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments in 1992. Currently, the CWCOG Board of Directors represents 36 entities from counties, cities, towns, school districts, utility districts, ports, fire districts, economic development councils, water/sewer districts, a community college, and other non-profit agencies in or near Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties.
It provides a forum for members to work together on issues which cross jurisdictional lines and require cooperative resolutions. In addition, the agency itself provides planning and technical services in the areas of transportation, economic development, community development, and project support to our members.
Board of Directors
The CWCOG is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of designated representatives (delegates or alternates) from member agencies. There are four levels of membership:
- General: Any general purpose local government within the boundaries of the CWCOG, including counties and incorporated cities and towns.
- Special: Any special purpose district or quasi-municipal corporation organized pursuant to state law and governed by a board of officials elected to serve that entity.
- Associate: Any public agency or community non‑profit organization
- Affiliate: Any agency or organization that meets the criteria above and is adjacent or nearby to the boundaries of Cowlitz and/or Wahkiakum counties for the sole purpose of participation in no more than one project or program governed by the CWCOG.
A qualifying agency may request membership through written petition supported by resolution of their governing body and submitted to the Board of Directors for approval.
The CWCOG Board of Directors meets at 12:00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of every month with the exception of November and December which are held on the third Thursday of the month due to the holidays. All meetings are open to the public and participation is encouraged.
The Executive Committee is made up of the current Chair of the CWCOG Board of Directors, the current Vice Chair, the Immediate Past Chair, and four at large members to be elected at the first meeting of each year.
The Executive Committee is empowered to make decisions concerning routine executive and administrative matters referred by the Board of Directors or the Executive Director providing that all policy shall be developed by the Board of Directors as well as conducting the review and recommending to the board any changes as relates to the member fee formula.
The CWCOG Finance Committee is established by the CWCOG By-laws, Section 9, ‘Expenses and Lawful Claims against Expenditures.’ Three (3) CWCOG Board members shall be nominated to serve on this committee by the CWCOG Nominating Committee for an unlimited term. The CWCOG Board shall approve the continued service of the members annually.
The purpose of the CWCOG Finance Committee is to represent the full board in reviewing and recommending approval of CWCOG monthly expenses. The committee is comprised of three (3) members so that in any given month at least one member will be available to review and recommend approval of the monthly vouchers. Each committee member shall be called upon in rotation to review the CWCOG voucher listing prior to the CWCOG board meeting each month.
The CWCOG Nominating Committee shall be appointed through a call for three to five (3-5) volunteers at the October meeting with approval of those volunteers by the Board of Directors.
The purpose of the CWCOG Nominating Committee is to work in conjunction with the CWCOG Vice-Chairperson to identify CWCOG board members to serve on the CWCOG Executive Committee and Finance Committee, and of those, who may best fill the position of Vice-Chairperson for the upcoming calendar year. The final nominees shall be presented to the CWCOG Board of Directors at their November meeting for consideration in filling these positions.