Skagit Valley College will celebrate the installation of permanent signage for the Valley of Our Spirits story pole in Mount Vernon's Riverwalk Park, a project spearheaded by Leadership Skagit, an intensive leadership development program offered in collaboration with SVC and Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC). The celebratory event is set for June 10 at 5 p.m.

The newly installed signage interprets the cultural significance of the story pole, designed by Upper Skagit Elder “clakadəb” Jay Bowen and crafted by artists Milo White and Lin McJunkin. The text, presented in both Lushootseed and English, facilitates understanding of the artwork and acknowledges the enduring presence of local tribes.

The project was led by the 2024 Leadership Skagit team, “the HIP Harbingers”, including: Jamie Betz, Sandra Davila, Jennifer Dumas, Kathryn Languille, Frances Negranza, Haley Sebens, Charis Weathers, and their advisor Michele Metcalf.

“I would like to extend appreciation to Leadership Skagit for their work to recognize the Skagit people past, present, and future,” said skʷalx̌ax̌alic̓əʔ Kay Knott, Upper Skagit Elder. “I hope this informational sign is just the beginning to help the community learn more about and relate better to Upper Skagit tribal people.” 


The project involved extensive consultation and collaboration with Upper Skagit Elders. Following their input, the sign concept received approval from both the Mount Vernon City Council and the Mount Vernon Arts Commission.

The “HIP Harbingers” team collaborated with the Mount Vernon Downtown Association, who provided logistical support for the project's realization.

About Leadership Skagit

Leadership Skagit is a program offered through EDASC in collaboration with SVC. The program is focused on intensive leadership development and designed to inspire people to become leaders and prepare them for community leadership roles. The aim is to bring people together to work for a more just, equitable, and sustainable future for Skagit County. There are more than 500 alumni, including elected officials, business owners at all levels, executives, and more.

For more information about the project, watch the following video. Learn more about Leadership Skagit at

Preview of the new signage concept, provided by Leadership Skagit

Preview of the new signage concept, provided by Leadership Skagit

Media Contact Info

Sofia Poulton, Communications and Social Media Manager