On a late afternoon of August of 1992, a small group of Safety Professionals from the Tri-Cities met at the Richland Library. The purpose of the meeting was to renew interest in the ASSE Section that had once been a part of the community since sometime in the 1980′s. At some point, the Section just faded away. But a handful of professionals thought that we should have a local Society Section, one that would give ASSE Members opportunities to attend good, informative monthly meetings, attend workshops, and most of all – network with other safety professionals.
Soon after that August 1992 meeting, after petitioning our parent Chapter, the Inland Northwest Chapter in Spokane, we once again became the Lower Columbia Basin Section. Our Membership was very strong with several professionals joining and attending meetings. We sponsored several workshops including the ASP and CSP preparation courses.
As our Section grew rapidly, in early 1995, the Executive Board started thinking about chartering a Chapter. This area has a lot of Safety Professionals and why should the nearest Chapter be over two hours away in Spokane?
In the spring of 1995, we started the petition process through ASSE National. This involved several steps including “claiming our territory.” We had to petition the Inland Northwest Chapter for five counties in Southeast Washington and the Columbia Willamette Chapter from Portland for three counties in Northeast Oregon. Our territory runs from Yakima to Dayton to Hermiston to LaGrande – a small territory but with lots of professionals.
Having all the documents completed for the charter, I presented our petition to the Regional Operating Committee (ROC) meeting in September 1995. The meeting was in Spokane. The petition was accepted by the Region. On February 10, 1996, our Section was admitted to the ASSE, officially, as the Lower Columbia Basin Chapter. We had over 70 Members and over the years grew to 90. In April 1996, at the ROC meeting in Honolulu, we were presented the official Chapter charter.
But the Chapter is not only about ASSE Members, but all the Safety Professionals in the area that have attended, and continue to attend our functions. Today, our Membership continues to grow – now at 195 Members.