The cities of Independence and Monmouth were awarded the 2023 Regional Cooperative Project Award from the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments for their collaborative work on the MI Trolley. This award recognizes a partnership of local governments within the region for a project or initiative that enhances intergovernmental cooperation.

When accepting the award, Independence Mayor John McArdle echoed words from Muhammad Ali, “If our minds can conceive it, and our heart can believe it – then we can achieve it.”

Since its launch in April 2023, the MI Trolley has had over 100,000 riders, with an average of 325 riders per weekday, and operates seven days a week.

Additionally, City Manager Kenna West was awarded the Wes Kvarsten Professional Service Award which recognizes a staff person or volunteer working for or on behalf of one or more member governments within the region who has exhibited sustained commitment in support of regional, intergovernmental cooperation.

“I have been blessed to go to Independence, where collaboration is our culture—it’s a way of life,” shared West. “Thank you very much for this honor.”

The Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments is a voluntary association of over 40 local governments. Members include Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties, 32 cities, 7 special districts, and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. Their ongoing mission includes:

  • Expanding interaction and improving dialogue among local units of government
  • “Convenorship” – enhancing collective awareness of major regional issues through seminars and workshops
  • Coordinating regional planning and development activities
  • Providing technical assistance and local services tailored to individual needs of member governments.