North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing, left, and Senior Long Range Planner Jesse Reynolds. Reynolds has traveled to Mestia, Georgia, to report on possible professional exchanges the city of North Bend could do in the future. Courtey Photo

North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing, left, and Senior Long Range Planner Jesse Reynolds. Reynolds has traveled to Mestia, Georgia, to report on possible professional exchanges the city of North Bend could do in the future. Courtey Photo

North Bend begins first step in professional exchange with Mestia, Georgia

The city of North Bend has begun a professional exchange with Mestia to support their development.

Sitting in the northeastern region of the eastern Europe’s Georgia is a small, rural town whose economy relies on outdoor recreation opportunities. Similar in many ways to the Snoqualmie Valley, Mestia is also looking to improve the operation of its town’s government and manage growth.

The city of North Bend has begun a professional and cultural exchange with Mestia to help support its development as well as to learn from Mestia’s administration to incorporate new ideas stateside. The city council approved the program at its Feb. 5 meeting.

On Friday, May 31, North Bend senior long range planner Jesse Reynolds took a flight to Mestia to work with elected officials to assess their needs and report back to North Bend. Reynolds will look at planning methods like growth management, comprehensive planning and concurrency.

“What I’m going on is the diagnostics trip — this is to basically assess, work with elected officials and staff in Mestia and get a feeling of what kind of things they want help with,” he said.

Reynolds’ report will be used to determine who at the city can fill the needs of Mestia. At a later date, a group of four North Bend representatives who can meet those needs will travel to work with the city.

“There are opportunities for North Bend to learn a lot from Mestia as well,” Reynolds said.

North Bend’s focus is outdoor recreation and Mestia is quite similar. The area receives many visitors from European countries looking for the recreation opportunities of the rural Georgian region. People have lived in Mountain Valley where Mestia is a known destination for thousands of years, he said, and despite growing tourism and increasing amounts of visitors each year, Mestia has kept its rural small town feel and culture.

North Bend hopes to learn about Mestia’s experience in preserving cultural heritage and managing the growth of outdoor recreation as a economic driver.

Funding for the program comes from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), an international development bank working to develop countries through loans and grants — ADB is providing $35,000 for the exchange. ADB calls it “twinning,” partnering up an entity in a developed country with a similar entity in a developing country. Reynolds said the capital of Tablisi is the economic workhorse of the country and using those funds, Georgia is looking to strengthen its rural areas.

The exchange is not related to a sister city program and is instead intended for professional development.

“But with that said, my personal hope is this is the beginning of fostering a relationship between North Bend and a city across the world,” he said.

Reynolds will be in Georgia for two weeks and will return on Thursday, June 13. After his report is delivered to the city, as many as five people from North Bend will travel to Mestia, and three people from Mestia will come to North Bend. The future trips do not yet have set dates.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Image by Google Maps.

Image by Google Maps.

More in News

Stock image
Campgrounds to reopen in 22 Washington counties

Campgrounds in counties actively in Phase 2 of the reopening plan will begin to welcome visitors June 1, state says.

King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht. FILE PHOTO
King County sheriff releases message about Minneapolis Police officer

Mitzi Johanknecht calls video of officer kneeling on neck of George Floyd ‘heartbreaking and disturbing’

File photo of construction near North Bend on Aug. 16. Sound Publishing file photo
                                File photo of construction near North Bend on Aug. 16. Sound Publishing file photo
Rural King County mayors want state to let them enter Phase 2

Mayors cite heavy economic damage from prolonged shutdown.

New dashboard shows how far along King County is to meeting Phase II metrics

The county has met more than half its goals, but the ones it hasn’t met are critical in determining how many people are still being infected, and how quickly people are being tested.

As sales tax plummets in King County, mental health and drug program funding dries up

County will need to make severe cuts to MIDD program this year.

Pictured: Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson, left, and North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland. Courtesy photo
State of the Valley address highlights COVID economic impact

Mayors of North Bend and Snoqualmie tout city accomplishments from 2019.

Auburn Mountain View Cemetery Manager Craig Hudson, center, confers with maintenance workers David Partridge, left, and Zach Hopper in March 2020. Sound Publishing file photo
State allows weddings, funerals, religious services to restart with restrictions

Gov. Inslee issues new rules during May 27 news conference.

State loosens cougar hunting restrictions

The regulations will impact 19 areas around the state.

Most Read