DHM's Adam Davis joined Clean Water Services' Mark Jockers, Coalition of Communities of Color's Marcus Mundy, and ECONorthwest's John Tapogna to unveil findings from the new Washington County Growing Up study.
The Growing Up study started with Clean Water Services desire to know its customers better. Jockers said the agency has data on its customers dating back 30 years, but it didn't have a complete picture because it lacked data on people of color in the community, which the "Growing Up" study conscientiously worked to include.
The study documents the unfolding story of population growth and rapid demographic change in Washington County. The research delves into socioeconomic trends, the community’s values and beliefs, and residents’ priorities for the future.
Despite the fact that most people like living here, the study revealed the county is experiencing some growing pains. Davis said those surveyed shared their angst or worry about being able to continue to afford to live here, mainly due to housing costs.
Tapogna said Washington County is better off than 2/3 of other counties in America, and we are in the middle of the largest economic expansions in U.S. history, so it is worrisome that people are concerned about their financial health.
The survey showed the area has a low crime rate, a higher rate of two-parent families, relatively low commute times, and is average when it comes to racial integration.
According to Davis, 74 percent of those surveyed said housing is less affordable; 63 percent said the region is getting too crowded; and 53 percent said it's harder to get around.
The panel felt there is still plenty going right in Washington County to keep propelling the region forward. Mundy encouraged people to get involved and engaged at the civic level. The special lunch forum was hosted by the Westside Economic Alliance in partnership with Vision Action Network.