In the 1960’s Thurston County experienced an increased rate of population growth. In the ten-year period between 1960 and 1970, there was a 3.4% annual rate of increase in the total county population. In response to this, the County Commission recognized that there was an increased need to plan the infrastructure necessary to support a quickly growing population. In 1966, Thurston County established by resolution the Thurston County Planning Department and Commission.
Not long after the commission was formed, policymakers began to plan for a regional organization that would include a broader representation of the jurisdictions and special districts in Thurston County. They worked to further the idea of regionalism and considered the kind of organization that would best serve this concept. A document entitled “A Proposal for a Regional Planning Program for the Thurston County Area,” dated August 10, 1967, called for the establishment of a regional planning organization. It explained the need for regional planning because of “the spectacular population growth of the 1950's and 1960’s coupled with the mass exodus of people from rural areas to urban centers.”
It was in this document that the idea of a regional planning organization in Thurston County was officially conceived. The document set out the need for intergovernmental cooperation as follows: