Pam Kondé worked tirelessly as an activist, community organizer, and advocate on behalf of the local community. In six short months, she formed and led a coalition of 15 civic associations and other groups (Coalition to Save Tysons Last Forest) in successfully defeating a measure that would have authorized the construction of a 4-lane highway ramp through the Old Courthouse Spring Branch Stream Valley, the last remaining 33 acres of stream valley and forest in Tysons Corner Urban Center.
Old Courthouse Spring Branch Stream Valley is protected parkland that separates the burgeoning Tysons Corner Urban Center from adjacent residential neighborhoods. The parkland qualifies for a number of environmental protections:
- Environmental Quality Corridor – containing a stream valley, wildlife habitats, and wetlands,
- Resource Protection Area – stream leading to the Chesapeake Bay that protects water quality, reduces volumes and filters pollutants out of storm water runoff, and prevents erosion,
- Wetland – according to the National Wetlands Inventory,
- Watershed — part of Difficult Run Watershed, and
- Floodplain – that protects the nearby areas from flooding.
Nonetheless, the County was moving forward with “Preferred Option #3” to build a highway ramp through this invaluable green space. See www.SaveTysonsLastForest.org, read the “Letters of Support,” and the media coverage. It says it all! On January 15, 2013, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to remove from further consideration “Preferred Option 3”, thus preserving Tysons’ last forest.
Coalition Building & Community Organizing:
Pam mobilized and inspired members and leaders from 15 civic associations (representing 1800 households) to become engaged, partner together, and persuade others as well. This truly was a group effort, spearheaded by Pam, with neighbors engaging that had never been involved in County policymaking at all!
Furthermore, throughout the decade-long drafting of the Tysons Corner plan and the fight for “Under, not Over” for the Silverline metro, a cohesive neighborhood group did not exist in the greater Tysons area near Route 7 and Old Courthouse Road. Pam’s leadership formed this neighborhood coalition, but also maintained it to exist for the future as a strong watchdog coalition as Tysons develops.
Working in coalition, she obtained more than 1000 signatures on a petition opposing Option 3 and letters of support from a bipartisan group of local, state, and federal leaders:
- Delegate Barbara Comstock, Delegate Mark Keam, Senator Chap Petersen, Senator Janet Howell
- Sierra Club
- Fairfax County Trails and Sidewalks Committee (letter available on SaveTysonsLastForest.org/Letters of Support)
- Coalition for Smarter Growth
- Congressman Frank Wolf, and Congressmen Gerald Connolly and James Moran
- Organized block party and rally, attended by 100-200 neighbors and interested parties, including local officials Chairman Sharon Bulova and Supervisor Catherine Hudgins, as well as Delegate Barbara Comstock, Delegate Mark Keam, Senator Chap Petersen, Vienna Councilmember Carey Sienicki, and members of the press
- Lobbied Fairfax County government officials, state leaders, and members of Congress, and obtained bipartisan support
- Gave testimony to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
- Advocated to Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Fairfax County Planning Commission, Tysons Corner Committee, Fairfax County Department of Transportation, Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning, Fairfax County Park Authority, Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization
- Used social media effectively (website, Facebook, Twitter, e-mails, and neighborhood listserves)
- Obtained press coverage on television news, radio, and local and national newspapers