WSU Cougar Head Logo Washington State University

Arlington/Darrington advance in America’s Best Communities $10 million prize competition


EVERETT, Wash. – Jan. 21, 2016 – After the devastating Oso mudslide in March of 2014 that took 43 lives in Snohomish County, WSU President Elson Floyd visited the Arlington and Darrington communities. He promised that WSU would remain involved as long as needed. One way that support continues today is through the work of WSU North Puget Sound at Everett and the WSU Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension.

Nearly two years after the slide, a small celebration erupted in January as leaders from Arlington, Darrington, Economic Alliance Snohomish County and WSU learned that Arlington/Darrington will advance to the 15-member semifinalist stage of the America’s Best Communities $10 million prize competition.

The competition, which is sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank and The Weather Channel, provides an opportunity for communities to compete to create and execute plans for community revitalization efforts.

“It is exceptionally gratifying to have the opportunity to partner with the North Stillaguamish community in such an important and meaningful endeavor,” Bob Drewel, WSU senior advisor to interim president Dan Bernardo, said. “The strength of this community is its people working together for each other. This work and this partnership will last.”

Members of the WSU Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension were critical to the success of the Arlington/Darrington proposal, bringing local leaders together and giving them the expertise and administrative infrastructure to begin addressing these challenges in the community.

The next stage of the competition is a ‘Shark Tank’-style presentation in North Carolina this April. Drewel will join Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert and Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin in making that presentation. Judges will choose the best eight plans for the finalist round, which includes $100,000 to begin implementing the plan and a chance for the grand prize.

Contact: Randy Bolerjack