Skip to main content

MCOG's First 50 Years in Review

December 23, 2022 - To recognize 50 years since this Joint Powers agency was established, we've prepared a starting timeline of highlights and milestones from a trove of records and memories. Our dear readers are welcome to send along recollections and help us fill in this history with names, dates, favorite projects, thoughts and anecdotes. Happy holidays to all and best wishes for the New Year! – MCOG blog editor

1970Mendocino County-City Joint Planning Council forms effective February 1 with representatives of County Board of Supervisors, Cities of Ukiah, Fort Bragg, Willits, and Point Arena, and County CAO Albert Beltrami serving as Secretary. Meetings are held at various Ukiah locations including the Manor Inn and Timber Room of the Palace Hotel.
 1971The Mills-Alquist-Deddeh Act (SB 325) passes the California Legislature to improve existing public transportation services and encourage regional transportation coordination. Known as the Transportation Development Act (TDA) of 1971, this law provides funding to be allocated to transit and multimodal purposes that comply with regional transportation plans.
 1972TDA becomes effective July 1. Member agencies sign a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) including the power to serve as the Regional Transportation Planning Agency (RTPA) for Mendocino County, as designated by the Secretary of the Business & Transportation Agency of the State of California.
 1978JPA amendment changes the name to Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG). The JPA also serves as a regular forum for matters of mutual interest, undertakes economic development planning and any other specific power authorized by resolution of the parties.
1980s to 1990sAdministration and Planning moves from County departments (CAO’s office and MCDOT) to independent staffing contracts. Mary Spangler takes on Administration as Executive Secretary, later changing her name to Mary Hiatt of Hiatt Consulting. Phil Dow, P.E. starts Dow & Associates, serving as Transportation Planner. MCOG becomes involved with statewide and national associations.
1991-1995MCOG initiates Mendocino Business Development Center (MBDC), later to become Economic Development & Finance Corporation (EDFC), coordinates with Mendocino Private Industry Council (MPIC) to form a steering committee; 14 members are appointed. Funding originates with federal Housing & Community Development (HUD) appropriation through the Redwood Regional Economic Development Commission.
 1997SB 45 passes the Legislature, moving 75% of transportation funding authority from Caltrans to Regional Transportation Planning Agencies, effective January 1, 1998.
 1998MCOG receives first-time programming authority for $17.3 million in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and programs all for the Willits Bypass project as the top priority in its Regional Transportation Plan.
 1999MCOG issues competitive Request for Proposals to procure staffing. Hiatt Consulting chooses not to pursue another contract. Dow & Associates submits proposal for both Administration and Planning services and wins the contract for three years, extended several times. Offices are moved to the Victory Theatre building in Ukiah.
 2013Caltrans audits MCOG, resulting in division of Administration and Planning into two separate contracts, attributed to a structural conflict of interest.
 2014MCOG issues a new RFP to procure staffing for Administration & Fiscal Services and Planning Services. Contract awards go to Dow & Associates and Davey-Bates Consulting (DBC) respectively, continuing the same staffing team.
 2016Caltrans completes the Willits Bypass, 54 years after the first Project Study Report in 1962. They gather the California Transportation Commission, partners, elected officials, honorees and a crowd of ~1,000 well-wishers for the dedication ceremony. The bypass opens to traffic on November 3, 2016.
 2018Phil Dow, Executive Director announces retirement after a career of more than 40 years in transportation. Dow & Associates employee Nephele Barrett takes over the company and succeeds him as Executive Director.
 2020COVID-19 kicks in, staff goes remote, and meetings are held by Zoom teleconference. Dow & Associates and DBC move offices to 525 South Main Street in Ukiah and staff gradually return in person over the next year or so. MCOG member agencies amend the JPA to add housing planning as a specific power, to receive state grant funds.
 2022MCOG recognizes 50 years as a Joint Powers Authority and its role as Regional Transportation Planning Agency. To be continued…!
May contain: logo, anniversary banner graphic
Join our mailing list