In the case of Forest Grove, the CDT screening committee quickly determined that there was a lack of institutional commitment to the initiative from local government and the business community. Indeed, the site visit revealed that there was divisiveness in the community between local government leaders. It was also discovered that there was very little in the way of established nongovernmental institutions, such as chambers of commerce and citizen groups. While much of the energy for initiating the process came from dedicated individuals, the success of the initiative was in large part due to efforts by the local district of the U. S. Forest Service to serve as one of the sponsors of the visit. Their commitment added a level of credibility and legitimacy to the effort that was necessary for a successful visit. The issue of institutional commitment became critical during the team visit, as it became apparent that there was a need for more local leadership and organization to address community and economic development issues. One of the most significant outcomes of the visit was the development of a citizen group organized around planning and development activities. In essence, this group recognized that there was a vacuum in local governmental and nongovernmental arrangements and sought to fill this void.
The Community Design Team experience shows that outside experts can help catalyze the development of new leaders and stronger leadership within communities. More successful efforts will backstop attention to the community's immediate goals (such as economic development or historic preservation) with attention to how existing social structures might be adapted to carry the community forward in the long term. The open process adopted by Forest Grove led to more controversy and difficulties as the project was getting under way, but it also established a precedent for communication and trust within the community. As communities seek to develop leaders, a tangible set of goals and a workable structure are vital ingredients to positive outcomes.