Organization: Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance
Serves: Wasco, Hood River, & Multnomah (OR), Skamania & Klickitat Counties (WA)
Meet Lauren Kolojejchick-Kotch:
Lauren got a BA in Economics from Seattle University. Among a vast array of life experiences, Lauren has walked 300 miles across Spain, narrated a documentary, finished the Chicago Marathon, had her photography exhibited, been actively engaged in community food policy, and studied abroad in China. This is Lauren’s second year of service for RARE.
Community and Organization:
The Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance (CGTA) is a non-profit organization that grew out of the Columbia River Gorge Visitors Association, which was formed in 1990 to promote and manage tourism to the region between the Sandy River and the Deschutes, Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, including the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The CGTA is governed by a volunteer core team, and is a partnership-based network of volunteers. Currently, this organization mainly functions as a convener and promoter. CGTA is poised to play an important role as a convener and registered non-profit in its six-county region in efforts to guide recovery, build resiliency and influence sustainable tourism development and management efforts.
The RARE participant, Lauren Kolojejchick-Kotch, will work with the CGTA as it transitions from organization to network, in an effort to improve its ability to address tourism management challenges and seize opportunities in Gorge communities. Lauren will work with the core team, network of active partners, and project teams to develop a more robust, engaged, collaborative, and communicative network. She will coordinate network communication and activity to work toward the network’s 15-year vision, and will act as a primary Network convener, facilitator and manager. She will play a critical role in research efforts, developing and implementing solutions and obtaining stakeholder buy-in. Lauren will travel and meet with a variety of stakeholders on a regular basis, communicate the goals and vision of the network with local leadership, seek to build a more robust and representative network, and find resources to support work in several project areas.