It is graduation weekend at the Orcas Island School District.  Events are mostly virtual due to ongoing Covid precautions and start with the Celebration of Success at 10 this morning. This is a great opportunity to learn about the graduates and the many organizations that provide scholarships for ongoing education. Links for this event and graduation itself can be found here.  There will also be a parade at 3 in Eastsound on Saturday so we can cheer the class on in person.  Hope to see you there!

OICF has been hosting community calls with nonprofits and the County since the start of the pandemic.  These have been a great way to learn about rising needs and opportunities and support creative and collaborative responses.  The conversation this week focused on wages and the challenges many are facing when seeking employees.  While this is a challenge throughout the Nation, it is especially difficult here due to the rising costs of housing and a shrinking rental pool.

This imbalance is being felt by our local businesses as well, with just about everyone seeking more workers.  The most recent survey shows that the median house price on Orcas is just over $1.5 million (the average house sale in May was $1.3M).  Even if wages doubled or tripled for most workers, they would still not be close to affording a home.  As a community, we need to get creative and find new ways to address this affordability gap.  What do you think would help?

I am continuing weekly walks at 4 on Thursdays.  We stroll through Eastsound, learning about our nonprofits and other organizations and checking out some of the changes happening in town.  Email me if you would like to join in.  If there is a different day or time that works for you, let me know.  I would be happy to meet whenever convenient.

Have a great weekend,