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News Releases
Vancouver's urban forest program leading a tree tour
Vancouver's urban forest program leading a tree tour
City seeks volunteers to serve on Urban Forestry Commission (Photo) - 04/19/24

Vancouver, Wash. – The City of Vancouver is seeking applicants interested in two vacancies on its volunteer Urban Forestry Commission. Applications must be submitted by May 21.

The Urban Forestry Commission is an active, working group that helps plan and implement tree events, builds neighborhood association relationships, supports public education and plans community recognition programs related to appreciation of Vancouver’s community’s trees. Vancouver has been named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for the past 35 years, an honor that is due in large part to the work of this commission.

The commission’s advisory role includes review of Vancouver’s urban forestry policies and regulations, assistance with updating the Urban Forestry program’s work plan, and administering the Heritage Tree Program, Arbor Day recognition and awards programs. 

Those who have an interest in urban forestry and the environmental, economic, health and social benefits of trees are urged to apply. All applicants must also be available for an interview with City Councilmembers on a date to be determined.

The Urban Forestry Commission has seven citizen members who can serve two, four-year terms. This recruitment is for two full-term appointments, with a term expiring June 30, 2028. The commission meets at 6 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month. Meetings will be conducted either in person or through a hybrid option. 

To learn more and apply online visit www.cityofvancouver.us/boards. To request a printed application or for more information, contact the Boards and Commissions Coordinator in the City Manager’s Office at P.O. Box 1995, Vancouver, WA 98668-1995, bc_coordinator@cityofvancouver.usor 360-487-8600.

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A City of Vancouver parking enforcement officer working downtown
A City of Vancouver parking enforcement officer working downtown
City seeks volunteers to serve on Parking Advisory Committee (Photo) - 04/18/24

Vancouver, Wash. – The City of Vancouver is seeking applicants interested in filling two vacancies on its volunteer Parking Advisory Committee. Applications must be submitted by May 21.

The Parking Advisory Committee is a seven-member volunteer body that advises the Vancouver City Council and City staff on parking policy and program implementation. Applicants must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Live or own property anywhere within the Vancouver city limits
  • Serve as an executive officer/partner or employee at a business located in the downtown area

All applicants must also be available for an interview with Vancouver City Councilmembers on a date to be determined. Parking Advisory Committee members serve four-year terms. The committee meets quarterly, or as needed, at 8 a.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Meetings are held both in-person and remotely. This recruitment is for two full-term appointments, with a term effective July 1, 2024 and expiring June 30, 2028.

Learn more about the City’s boards and commissions and apply online at www.cityofvancouver.us/boards

To request a printed application or for further information, contact the Boards and Commissions Coordinator at Vancouver City Hall, P.O. Box 1995, Vancouver, WA 98668-1995, bc_coordinator@cityofvancouver.us or 360-487-8600. 

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Youth participating in a mapping activity
Youth participating in a mapping activity
City seeks community input to help develop future land use possibilities (Photo) - 04/10/24

Vancouver, Wash. – The City of Vancouver is inviting community members to take part in Community Mapping Activity workshops in April. Four workshops will be hosted to help inform the City’s Comprehensive Plan Update. Participants will create maps to help visualize future land use possibilities that allow for changes to reflect future housing requirements, preserve natural resources and provide needed services.

Each Community Mapping Activity will include refreshments or dinner, a kids’ corner for families with children and opportunities to win raffle prizes. Interested community members can get more information and RSVP for any of the workshops listed below:

  • 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 20 at Hudson’s Bay High School, 1601 E. McLoughlin Blvd.

Snacks and meet the team starting at 1:30 p.m.

  • 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 23 at Evergreen Public Schools District Office, 13414 N.E. LeRoy Haagen Memorial Drive

For youth and young adults between 13 to 25 years old

Pizza and meet the team starting at 5:30 p.m. 

  • 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 25 at Firstenburg Community Center, 700 N.E. 36th Ave.

Dinner and meet the team starting at 5:30 p.m.

A workshop will also be held on Wednesday, April 17 in partnership with the Vancouver Neighborhood Alliance. 

Community input is essential to the City’s long-term planning process. The Our Vancouver project team will reference the maps created at these workshops as they develop land use options for the Comprehensive Plan. Community members will have an opportunity this summer to review and help refine the land use options that will be developed based on Mapping Activity input. 

The City is required by the Washington State Growth Management Act to conduct a periodic review of the Comprehensive Plan. Updating the Comprehensive Plan now will bring the City into compliance with recent changes to state law to address state-wide housing and climate needs, land use changes, population growth projections and housing projections to meet the needs of a growing population. The plan update will also inform the City’s decisions about land use, housing, public facilities, parks and open space, economic development, historic preservation, community design and environmental considerations. 

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Community members at an interactive art display at the 2023 Vancouver USA Arts and Music Festival
Community members at an interactive art display at the 2023 Vancouver USA Arts and Music Festival
Community and Neighborhood Grants Program awards more than $163,000 to 30 community groups (Photo) - 04/08/24

Vancouver, Wash. – The City of Vancouver’s Community and Neighborhood Grants Program is awarding more than $163,000 to support 30 local community groups. These funds will support a diverse range of projects that help build community connections, foster a sense of belonging and create learning opportunities for residents of all ages, including: 

  • Community events and neighborhood gatherings
  • Cultural celebrations
  • After-school programs
  • Art events
  • Garden and nutrition programs for low-income residents and people experiencing homelessness
  • A youth robotics team
  • Educational programs for students, parents and families

“The number of exceptional applications we received speaks volumes about the strength of our community,” said City Neighborhood Program Coordinator, Koko Olszewski. “It illustrates the community-building spirit in Vancouver.”

As part of the grant process, projects were evaluated based on how well they align with Vancouver's Strategic Plan and City Council's core policy priorities of safety, equity and climate action. Of the 30 projects selected, 21 will support vibrant and distinct neighborhoods, 10 will support economic opportunity, nine will support housing and human needs and eight will support culture and heritage.

Grant funds will contribute to the launch or expansion of multiple summer programs. A new BIPOC community support program will build community connections and expand access to local resources. And a new summer development program along the Fourth Plain Boulevard corridor will empower teenagers with valuable skills and opportunities for personal growth.

The grants will facilitate community-building activities, such as barbecues, picnics and volunteer appreciation events, all aimed at bringing people together and fostering a sense of belonging within Vancouver's diverse neighborhoods.

Funding available for $500 microgrants

The grant program has $36,500 available to support microgrants of up to $500 per grant. These grants can support picnics, block parties, carnivals or smaller-scale projects.

Applications for microgrants are accepted on a rolling basis, with the next review period scheduled for early June. Community members are encouraged to apply at cityofvancouver.us/communitygrants by Friday, May 31, to be considered for the June review period.

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Permit office in City Hall
Permit office in City Hall
State Auditor's Office releases report on performance audit of City's 120-day permitting process (Photo) - 04/02/24

Vancouver, Wash. – The Washington State Auditor’s Office (SAO) has released a final report on their year-long audit of selected cities and counties, including Vancouver, to assess compliance with the state requirement for a 120-day maximum review timeline for development applications.

The SAO worked closely with city staff to review permit data for land use, engineering and building applications. Overall, the report shows that the City of Vancouver has performed well against the 120-day review requirement over the past four years. Land use applications were reviewed within 120 days 96% of the time, while building permit applications were reviewed within 120 days 93% of the time. 

The SAO report also highlights areas where improvements can be made for Vancouver to fully comply with state law. These include:

  • Publishing all required performance data annually.
  • Creating a policy and procedures for extending the 120-day timeline. 
  • Implementing continuous improvement practices in development review processes.

“We thank the State Auditor’s Office for its report and appreciate the information shared in it. We largely agree with their findings and are pleased that the City of Vancouver performed well against the 120-day review requirement over the past four years,” said Chad Eiken, Vancouver’s Director of Community Development. “We are already taking steps to address areas identified for improvement by the auditor’s office.”

Those steps include publishing review timeline data for 2023, developing a policy for extending the 120-day timeline and considering shorter internal review timelines for public works projects.

The audit was conducted in accordance with the Growth Management Act, which mandates that fast-growing counties and cities develop comprehensive plans and regulations for growth management. One key aspect of this is timely and fair permit processing to ensure developers and builders can accurately predict the time needed to obtain permits for construction projects.

The SAO report also notes that changes to the state law regarding the 120-day permit review requirement will go into effect in 2025. These changes include the elimination of applicant time for making revisions from the overall timeline, shortening the maximum review time for smaller projects and removing the 120-day review requirement for building and civil engineering permits. The City of Vancouver plans to address these changes locally – in part – through amendments to the City’s Land Use and Development Code.

The SAO has also committed to scheduling annual meetings with all of the jurisdictions audited in order to monitor their progress towards meeting state requirements.

The full SAO report can be accessed on their website at www.sao.wa.gov.

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Attached Media Files: Permit office in City Hall
Use Vancouver's spring coupon to dispose of yard debris and/or tires
Use Vancouver's spring coupon to dispose of yard debris and/or tires
Spring coupons offer free yard debris and tire disposal for Vancouver residents (Photo) - 03/29/24

Vancouver, Wash. – Vancouver’s annual spring coupons will arrive in more than 45,000 customer mailboxes soon. This popular program helps Vancouver community members with free disposal of yard debris and tires at designated drop-off sites. Coupons are valid for three months, from April 1 through June 30. 

Coupons are sent to all single-family residential garbage customers within the City of Vancouver with an active Waste Connections account. Customers receiving paper bills from Waste Connections will find coupons in their April bill. Customers signed up for electronic bills will receive a postcard coupon in the mail from the City of Vancouver. Copies and digital coupons are not allowed under this program. 

The annual coupon program is provided by City of Vancouver solid waste services, a division of the Public Works Department, to help community members with added vegetation that commonly results from spring pruning, mowing and weeding. The coupons also provide an opportunity to clean up and remove old, unwanted tires, which can create a nuisance if not disposed of properly. 

This program helps further Vancouver’s climate goals by managing current environmental impacts and supports Washington laws to divert organic material from landfills. Explore alternatives to disposal of yard debris at free composting workshops or through Waste Connections’ optional organics services for Vancouver residents. Learn proper pruning techniques for your trees and vegetation. 

More information about the spring coupon program, including drop-off locations and hours, is available at www.cityofvancouver.us/springcleanupcoupons