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Commentaries and editorials

Name Change: Northwest Power and Conservation Council

by Mike O'Bryant
Columbia Basin Bulletin - January 17, 2003

The Northwest Power Planning Council, sometimes referred to as just The Council or NWPPC, but whose legal name is the much longer -- Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Council -- voted this week to begin the lengthy process of changing its name.

As of this week, the Council will now go by the name Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

The proposal to make the change, but only to the Council's public name, was the idea of Council Chair Larry Cassidy, he said at the Council's meeting this week. However, there will be no change to its legal name which has been with the Council since the Northwest Power and Conservation Act was passed by Congress in 1980. Cassidy, who hired a communications consultant to research the name change, said the change gives the name a more definitive nature.

Communications analyst Gary Cox, who interviewed people around the Northwest (with the exception of Montana), said he heard from people that the Northwest needs a strong Council and that the new name and the new logo of fish mixing it up with thunderbolts hints at that strength.

The proposal was accepted without much discussion by all Council members, except for the Oregon contingent represented by new Council members Gene Derfler and Melinda Eden. The two were appointed by outgoing Gov. John Kitzhaber in December.

"I'm in a touchy place here as the newest member of the Council," Eden began. "But my experience is not that of what the consultant found. People in Oregon know who the Council is and changing the name and the logo does not change their perception of the Council's strength."

When arguing for the change, Cox said the current name is cumbersome, does not define the Council's role and doesn't adequately catch the attention of the media. "In order to attract attention, organizations such as the Council must be seen as important," he wrote in a situation analysis he presented to the Council. He added that, while editors are aware of the Council, the public is not.

He went on to write that the "Council's abbreviated name should reflect its core values: Decisive, Effective, Valuable, Approachable, Northwest."

"The Council's abbreviated name should reflect its mandated goal to BALANCE the energy needs of the Northwest while mitigating the effects of generating that power on Basin fish & wildlife," he wrote.

"The name needs to be strong and memorable," he concluded.

After the name was approved, Cassidy said the staff intended to blend the name in over time, such as replacing stationery and business cards as they run out, so there will be no wasted costs.

"We're no longer just a planning council," said Tom Karier, who represents Washington on the Council. "I think it's a good idea."

Related Sites:
Northwest Power and Conservation Council:

Mike O'Bryant
Name Change: Northwest Power and Conservation Council
Columbia Basin Bulletin, January 17, 2003

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