Mason County is uniquely diverse, in both its natural environment and in the people who have chosen to call this area home. First the Hood Canal and the seven inlets of South Puget Sound are the ancestral home of the Skokomish and Squaxin Island tribal nations. Next the pioneers arrived in the late 1800’s, developing the logging industry, and soon after followed Latino and Scandinavian immigrants. The Scandinavians were attracted by Hood Canal being the only natural fjord in the continental US which was similar to their homeland, while the Latino immigrants moved north as the industries of the twentieth century developed, requiring more and more workers in the area.
Today Mason County is known for a variety of specialties; from its world class natural heritage site, thanks to Olympic National Park, to Shelton’s renowned bilingual education system and a Latino student population that has grown to be 1⁄3 of the student base. The local tribes have emerged as the area’s major employers, helping to transition the old millworker population into new tourism professions as those jobs disappeared with the mills. Latino businesses have flourished in Mason County and are experiencing dynamic growth. Mason County’s multicultural community models how diverse populations can function to assist in the survival and prosperity of everyone here. It is our community’s diversity that also makes us as a community vulnerable to various forms of outside aggression, but historically Mason County has risen to the defense of our community when threatened.
*Elevate Mason County* is our way of both honoring the diversity of our community, while supporting everyone here who calls this area home. “Elevate” is both a mnemonic reminder and a message to everyone that our community does not tolerate hate towards anyone based on class, race, gender, or identity. All across Mason County, our community’s history has been to help each other rise up; from being famous for sky diving and climbing, to rising up against a polluting incinerator. From the Shelton High School Highclimbers to the construction trades and unions that built up our county, we have focused on elevating each other for success. Elevate Mason County takes this effort to another level, working toward ensuring that everyone here has the opportunity and/or resources they need and deserve, to thrive.