Aloha, Julie!

When she moved to the Methow Valley at age twelve, Julie Tate-Libby became obsessed with a home of her own and exploration to places unknown. The power of place has been with her from her days as a young girl playing near Puckett Creek to a young mother and wife restoring a homestead at Libby Creek to the welcoming gardens of her current home on Twisp River. Companion to this deep rootedness is her relentless curiosity. As a teenager her journey took her to Nepal where she discovered her deep faith. (Pro Tip: You can read about her time in Nepal in The Good Way, her debut memoir, which was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award.) As a young woman, she traveled to New Zealand to receive her PhD in anthropology with a focus on amenities migration.

With that pedigree (along with her experience of owning two Winthrop businesses!), it is easy to see why Julie was the natural choice to continue her journey at TwispWorks as Program Director. In 2019, coming up on its tenth year, TwispWorks had achieved the physical goals of establishing a renovated and fully operational campus. At just the right time, along came Julie to help answer the question of what the next decade would look like for the organization.

Naturally, the anthropologist in her wanted to hear from the community, and Julie’s first task was to conduct listening sessions up and down the Methow Valley. True to the TwispWorks mission to “increase the economic and cultural vitality of the Methow Valley” Julie was interested in exploring what exactly that economy was made of and how it impacted all the denizens of this special place. The result was a triumph—with over a thousand responses from the community and data from multiple sources she gave shape to some of our guesses and helped us all understand this ever-changing Valley, so we can be sure to take our best care for this place and its people. (Pro tip #2: You can read A Comprehensive Economic Study of the Methow Valley, the culmination of Julie’s research on the TwispWorks website or pick up a paper copy by donation at Methow Valley Goods.)

After nearly four years of building TwispWorks’ Methow Investment Network, creating an emergency grant program, and working to build a diverse economy in the Methow Valley, Julie has decided to embark on her next journey. She will focus on her upcoming book, her family, and new questions of place while she’s caring for her Methow Valley flower beds, jogging through the volcano near her Hawaii-home, or teaching anthropology and sociology classes at Wenatchee Valley College. One thing is for sure, her bright personality and curious nature will open new doors for her wherever she goes.

Julie will be missed deeply by her friends and colleagues, the TwispWorks Board and our broader community. She has sparked a conversation that will long outlast her tenure and for that we are deeply grateful. Aloha, Julie as you journey to your next best place! (Pro tip #3: The title of Julie’s forthcoming new book is buried somewhere in that last sentence. Stay tuned!)

– Written by TwispWorks’ former executive director Don Linnertz