In December 2017, nearly 800 people flocked to Blue Zones Project Umpqua’s Community Kickoff event, where community members learned more about the initiative, ways to improve their own well-being, and making healthy choices easier for their family and neighbors.

The event marked the transition from planning to implementation of the local initiative, which is one of four communities across Oregon using the Blue Zones Project well-being transformation framework. These communities make up Blue Zones Project Oregon, a program of Oregon Healthiest State (OHS), a privately led, publicly supported partnership that supports communities in building a culture of health.

Founded in 2014, OHS has a statewide vision to improve well-being outcomes, reduce health disparities, and make Oregon the healthiest state in the nation. Blue Zones Project aims to improve well-being by working on issues such as ending social isolation, increasing individual sense of purpose, encouraging natural movement and other community health priorities.

Oregon Healthiest State oversees other well-being programs throughout the state. Top priorities for the initiative include Health and Outdoors, which promotes access to the outdoors for low-income communities and communities of color and Financially Fit Oregon, which focuses on helping Oregonians increase their financial well-being.

In partnership with OHS, lead funder Cambia Health Foundation brought Blue Zones Project first to Klamath Falls in 2015, and then to the Umpqua region, Grants Pass and The Dalles in 2017. Cambia’s generous investment makes Blue Zones Project Oregon possible. And the inspiring work taking place in each Blue Zones Demonstration Community is strengthened by support from local funders.

In the Umpqua region, the initiative is funded locally by The Ford Family Foundation, The Oregon Community Foundation, Adapt, CHI Mercy Health, Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Douglas Education Service District and Umpqua Health Alliance.

“Oregon Healthiest State congratulates Roseburg and the Umpqua community for a vibrant and successful kickoff,” said Sarah Foster, Executive Director of Oregon Healthiest State. “The energy at the event reflects a robust commitment from the community. We are thrilled to be part of this work and look forward to the Umpqua community achieving its well-being goals.”

Blue Zones Project staff and steering committees are working hard to develop opportunities and change policies that will contribute to improving the well-being of Umpqua area residents. Community well-being is powered by community members, so everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate in activities that are free and open to the public.

Come by your local team’s office at 566 SE Jackson St. during the next Open House and Friends @ 5, on Wednesday, March 14, from 5 to 7 p.m. Meet your team, mingle with community members, enjoy appetizers, and learn about the exciting things that are already happening in the community.

For all upcoming events, check out the Blue Zones Project-Umpqua Facebook and Instagram pages, email, or call 541-670-2305. For Oregon-wide information on Blue Zones Project, check out

Juliete Palenshus is the Engagement Lead for Blue Zones Project-Umpqua. Contact her at or call 541-670-2305.

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

(1) comment


"Come by your local team’s office at 566 SE Jackson St. during the next Open House and Friends @ 5, on Wednesday, March 14, from 5 to 7 p.m." Is "Open House and Friends @ 5" a group? I don't understand what that means.

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