Anyone over the age of 18 who resides in Clark, Cowlitz or Skamania Counties is invited to weigh in on the kind of region they want to live in. Just visit www.500kVoices.org until Aug. 1, 2014, to take the online survey.
Upon completion of the survey, respondents can choose to be entered into a raffle to win one of 45 prizes to be awarded at random: Five $200 cash cards, twenty 1989 Washington Statehood and twenty 1954 Lewis and Clark Expedition blocks of 4, mint U.S. commemorative postage stamps.
500,000 Voices was recently launched in collaboration with some of the region's most influential nonprofits and businesses: AHA!, Clark College, The Columbian, Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, DHM Research, Northwest Health Foundation, Oregon Public Broadcasting, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette and Washington State University Vancouver.
This comprehensive study aims to determine what matters most to residents in southwest Washington, and present those findings through an impartial and non-partisan community report due out this fall.
“We want to empower those voices that, all too often, go unheard in our region,” said Jennifer Rhoads, president of the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington. “These voices — of immigrant, impoverished and disengaged residents — represent a majority of southwest Washington and should be included in shaping the shared future of this region.”
In order to accomplish this, the collaborative is reaching out to residents of all backgrounds and asking them to share their voices though various mediums, including cellular and landline telephone interviews, and online surveying. Research is ensuring that every demographic is represented proportionately and said that those between the ages of 18 and 34 are currently underrepresented.
Questionnaires are being administered by DHM Research using different sampling techniques to assure valid and statistically reliable results for each county. The questionnaire explores general cultural values as well as trends related to its most pressing issues — from health and health care to jobs and the economy. All information provided through this survey and report will eventually be provided to local leaders, agencies and organizations, in hopes that they can become part of the region’s decision making landscape for years to come.
“500,000 Voices” was designed based on the Oregon Values and Beliefs Study, which has been administered decennially for the last 30 years. By correlating these studies closely, leaders and policymakers will have more ability to compare and contrast regional opinions on specific topics.