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Foundation President & CEO Bill Roper takes pride in announcing Steven Ames as the first Craig Byrne Fellow. Principal of Steven Ames Planning, Portland and Bend, Oregon, Steven is a longtime friend and unofficial advisor to the Foundation.
The Craig Byrne Fellows Program is named in honor of Craig Byrne, of Chelsea, VT, whose untimely death in June 2010 left the Foundation, his family and friends, his community and his professional colleagues bereft of a guiding light. For more than 12 years, Craig advised the Foundation’s board, board chair, CEO and staff.
With his keen mind, Craig helped the Foundation define long-term goals and design appropriate strategies. He had a particular knack for understanding the big picture and then identifying the critical elements in any discussion or decision needed to reach the ultimate goal. His creative approaches included tackling challenges from new directions and perspectives, often leading to break-through discovery.
The Fellows Program named for him seeks to inform and further the Foundation’s mission, develop strategies to guide its work, influence the field through white papers, speak on behalf of the Foundation and, ultimately, make communities better places to live.
An early, enthusiastic adopter of the Foundation’s Heart & Soul Community Planning initiative, Steven Ames brings qualities valued in Craig to the land use and community planning arenas. Described as an “architect of public process,” he is a consulting long-range planner recognized for his work in the area of community and regional visioning. He is the author of A Guide to Community Visioning and innovator of The Oregon Model, a strategic approach to visioning employed by cities and towns across the country.
The Foundation’s 2011 Fellows Program will focus on stewarding community planning—that is, building project sustainability and accountability into values-based, visionary community planning initiatives in order to help ensure their continued success and impact over time. The goal is to help communities engaged in this type of planning (in particular, those whose projects have benefitted from a Heart & Soul Community Planning initiative) realize their core values and visions, not only through the implementation of specific strategies and actions, but also through ongoing community engagement, cultivation of new leadership, collaborative decision-making and other forms of capacity building.
Steven will conduct strategic research that studies a range of values-based, visionary planning initiatives across North America and, based on his findings, recommend potential approaches, models, tools and even specific solutions that speak to the challenge of stewardship.
Steven has advised two generations of visioning projects for the City of Portland, and worked with scores of other communities in Oregon and throughout the western U.S. His most recent award-winning project is the Columbia Gorge Future Forum, a regional visioning process engaging the 13 communities and tribes of the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon and Washington.
Steven has also consulted with local governments and communities in Canada, New Zealand and Australia, including Christchurch, Brisbane and Canberra. His award-winning clients include Gold Coast City in Queensland, Australia’s iconic “Sea Change” city, and the City of Blue Mountains near Sydney, a string of urban villages located inside a World Biosphere Reserve.
Steven holds an A.B. degree in political science from Drew University, College of Liberal Arts, Madison, New Jersey, and an M.S. degree in natural resources from the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources, Ann Arbor, where he studied environmental advocacy and long-range planning. He has also studied with faculty of the London School of Economics.