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Improved analysis and reporting are required to manage Juvenile Detention overtime - 06/14/18

Vancouver, Wash. ??' The Clark County Audit Oversight Committee will meet at 2:30 pm Tuesday, June 19, to consider a recent performance audit of overtime use at the Juvenile Detention Facility. The meeting will be in County Council Conference Room 683B on the sixth floor of the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St.

The audit is available on the county website at www.clark.wa.gov/auditor/audit-reports.

The audit focused on Juvenile Court overtime use in 2013 through 2015 to staff the detention center. Auditors said it was a “challenging environment” as three dynamics pulled the organization in different directions: the county was seeking budget cuts; overtime use and cost were rising; and employee availability to work was decreasing. During this time, management did not collect or use performance data to manage staffing levels.                                                                                 

The audit found efforts to staff the facility did not follow best practices in management and training, resulting in a higher cost of operation. The audit also found management’s actions decreased availability of agency provided temporary staff, a source of lower cost and effective personnel which provided a means for qualified interns to become juvenile detention officers.

Overall, management’s processes to determine staffing needs, schedule resources, measure results of improvement efforts, and manage detention officer overtime were not effective. The lack of a single, consistent process to regularly collect data, evaluate success, and identify problems increased the cost of operations. Auditors noted that some conditions improved beginning in late 2015 under different management.

The report made nine recommendations and recognized Juvenile Court’s efforts to address deficiencies since the management change.

“Juvenile Court management is focused on reducing costs with improved staffing practices,” said Auditor Greg Kimsey. “As they expand their use of performance reporting and analysis we expect to see continued improvement.”

Community Development interim director presents plan to address Citygate findings--UPDATE - 06/14/18

Vancouver, Wash. – In a meeting before the Clark County Council yesterday, Mitch Nickolds, interim director of Community Development, presented strategies for implementing recommendations from a recent performance review of the county’s building permitting and review process.

The review was performed by Citygate Associates, LLC and outlines 36 recommendations for updating the county’s construction permitting process.

Nickolds suggested creating a Functional Oversight Team comprised of permit process stakeholders who will identify and eliminate permit processing impediments.

“Our goal is to streamline the overall process,” said Nickolds. “We are looking at all the touch points of the permit process in order to remove duplicate or non-value added steps.”

Nickolds discussed other top priorities including:

  • Actions have been initiated to make immediate permit process and review improvements
  • Setting up permit customers for success with permit applications and inspections on the first attempt
  • Establishing performance measurement for accountability and quality assurance and control during Citygate implementation
  • Monitor and facilitate continuous permit process improvement on an ongoing basis.

For more information on the building and permit process, visit the county’s website at www.clark.wa.gov/community-development.

Blair Building listed on the Clark County Heritage Register - 06/13/18

Vancouver, WA – Clark County’s Historic Preservation Commission has listed the Blair Building to the Clark County Heritage Register. The building is located at 1801 Main St., Washougal.

Built in 1925, the Blair Building is one of the oldest structures remaining in Washougal’s traditional downtown core. It also is the most intact of all remaining older brick commercial buildings in the nearby vicinity.

The building was originally used as a meat market and butcher shop, which was once considered an essential business in a city or town’s downtown. Stand-alone meat markets began to disappear from neighborhoods as the grocery business evolved into larger supermarket stores. 

The Blair Building is a rare example in Washington state of a brick structure with a meat market, additional street level commercial space and second story rental housing.

For more information about the history of the Blair Building or the Clark County Historic Preservation program, please contact Community Planning at 564.397.4909. Information also is available on the county’s website at www.clark.wa.gov/community-planning/historic-preservation.

Annual Recycled Arts Festival returns June 23-24 to Esther Short Park - 06/13/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County will host the 13th annual Recycled Arts Festival, presented this year by McCord’s Vancouver Toyota, in Esther Short Park later this month. The popular two-day event showcases artwork made of recycled materials.

The free festival runs 9 am to 5 pm Saturday, June 23, and 9 am to 4 pm, Sunday, June 24. Attendees who show their reusable mugs or water bottles at the information tent will be entered in a special drawing.

More than 130 artists will sell items, such as metal and glass garden art, sculptures, mosaics, jewelry, clothing, furniture, birdfeeders and wall art made of at least 75 percent recycled material.

The family-friendly festival also will include:

  • Music on the stage, beginning at 9:30 am Saturday and Sunday.
  • Children’s Craft Tent, hosted by Art ala Carte, with recycled materials to create art and masks for the Procession of the Species.
  • Sculpture garden displaying large pieces of recycled art.
  • Robot demonstrations by high school robotics teams.
  • Tossed and Found display, showcasing items gleaned from the landfill that could be reused or repurposed.
  • A tiny house, showing how it’s possible to live in an 8-foot-by-20-foot space.
  • Foot carts offering a variety of delicious food, including Banh Mi sandwiches and jambalaya.

“The Recycled Arts Festival celebrates creativity while promoting environmental sustainability,” said Sally Fisher, Clark County Public Health environmental program coordinator. “I’m always amazed at the novel ways these artists turn trash into art.”

Additional festival features

The Falconer will bring live birds of prey to educate the public about wildlife conservation. Human habits, from toxic chemicals used in gardening to throwing litter on highways, directly affect the wellbeing and survival of these majestic animals. The Falconer’s feathered friends and team of experts will be in the northeast section of the park on Saturday and Sunday.

Repair Café Clark County will provide demonstrations 10 am to 2 pm Sunday, June 24, and information about free repair events throughout the year. Attendees can bring garden tools (pruners, loppers, hedge clippers, trowels, shovels, mowers and weed eaters) for free sharpening. Limit two per person.

Returning this year is the Procession of the Species, a parade that celebrates the natural world through art. The parade begins at 11 am Sunday, June 24. Registration opens at 10:30 am. The free parade is open to people of any age.

Free workshops are available to help participants create masks and costumes to represent animal species or elements, such as fire, earth and water. Repurposed materials will be supplied, and participants are welcome to bring their own materials, as well.

Costume workshops are scheduled for:

  • 10:30 am to 12:30 pm Friday, June 15, at Vancouver Community Library, Skamania Room, 901 C St.
  • 10 am to noon Saturday, June 16, at Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver, 4505 E. 18th St.
  • 10:30 am to 12:30 pm Friday, June 22, at Vancouver Community Library, Skamania Room, 901 C St.
  • 9 am to 5 pm Saturday, June 23, at Recycled Arts Festival Children’s Craft Tent, Esther Short Park, 605 Esther St.

Register for workshops at www.recycledartsfestival.com/pots.

Free parking will again be available in the garage at northeast 14th and Franklin streets. A shuttle bus will run regularly between the gazebo in the plaza at northeast 13th and Franklin streets and the north side of Esther Short Park, providing a good option for people carrying purchases. Heavier items can be left at a secure loading area at the northeast corner of the park and picked up later.

Additional information

The Recycled Arts Festival, organized by Clark County Public Health, emphasizes the importance of reducing and reusing discarded materials. Limited edition 2018 festival T-shirts will be available for $16 at the information booth. For more information, visit www.recycledartsfestival.com.

Volunteers are still needed. Volunteer at the festival and get a free T-shirt and lunch.

The Washington Festival and Events Association recognized the event with the Community Impact and Grand Summit awards for benefitting the community and being the best overall event in Washington

Clark County Council approves contract with new county manager - 06/12/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Earlier today, the Clark County Council approved a contract with Shawn Henessee, who has been hired to fill the county manager position.

The contract is for three years and states that Henessee’s starting salary will be $170,000 annually. His anticipated start date is Monday, July 23.

The councilors selected Henessee as county manager after conducting an extensive nationwide search.

“I look forward to starting as county manager at Clark County,” said Henessee. “It is an exciting opportunity with great employees and located in a beautiful area.”

Henessee currently is the city administrator of Pleasant Hill, Missouri, a position he has held since 2017. He served as county administrator for Marinette County, Wisconsin, from 2015 – 2017. He has extensive experience with county and local government departments and functions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wichita State University, a master’s degree in political science from University of Kansas and a law degree from University of Missouri.

County approves fireworks changes to increase enforcement, promote consistency - 06/12/18

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Council approved changes to county fireworks law Tuesday, including raising money for enforcement and other activities by adding a $156 permit fee on retailers who sell fireworks in tents.

The council also promoted fireworks consistency by removing Northwest/Northeast 219th Street as the dividing line for when fireworks can be used in unincorporated Clark County. Since 2016, fireworks use south of that line has been limited to Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve. North of the line, fireworks can be used for six days before Independence Day and on the Fourth of July itself, as well as on New Year’s Eve.

By eliminating this dividing line, fireworks can be used during the same period in all of unincorporated Clark County: 9 am to midnight July 4 and 6 pm Dec. 31 to 1 am Jan. 1.

This change, however, won’t take effect until 2019 since state law mandates a one-year delay in implementing restrictions in local fireworks law.

The council opted not to change when fireworks can be sold. Sales in unincorporated Clark County can begin at noon June 28 and continue until 11 pm July 4. Fireworks cannot be sold before or on New Year’s Eve, although they can be used during a seven-hour period before and immediately after the start of the new year.

The council also approved a code change allowing the Clark County Council Chair, after consulting with the Clark County Fire Marshal, to prohibit the sale and discharge of fireworks during periods of extreme fire danger. Several thresholds for fire danger, as determined by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, must be met before the chair can consider a fireworks ban.

The council also decided not to restrict sales to “safe and sane” fireworks, which would have prohibited fireworks that fly, explode or travel more than 1 foot into the air or more than 6 feet on the ground.

The changes approved Tuesday affect only unincorporated Clark County. Cities can and have enacted tighter restrictions on fireworks than those in state law. Vancouver and several other large Washington cities have banned consumer fireworks altogether.

Tuesday’s decision came after nine months of discussions that included two county council work sessions, two meetings of a fireworks stakeholders group and several hours of testimony before the county council.

Open house for ongoing, future construction on Northeast 10th Avenue set for June 19 - 06/08/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Residents can learn more about current construction on Northeast 10th Avenue, west of Interstate 5, and a future project on the same corridor during an open house later this month.

An ongoing project is improving and connecting Northeast 10th Avenue, from Northeast 154th Street to Northeast 164th Street, which includes building a 450-foot-long bridge over Whipple Creek.

Public Works’ contractor has finished pouring the road deck for the two-lane bridge. A subcontractor is improving Northeast 10th Avenue on both sides of the bridge to one travel lane in each direction, along with a center turn lane, bicycle lanes, sidewalks and facilities to collect and treat polluted storm runoff. The bridge and improved roadway are scheduled to open in fall 2018.

Public Works is designing a second project to improve Northeast 10th Avenue, from Northeast 149th Street to Northeast 154th Street. Construction on this project is scheduled to begin in 2020.

Public Works will host an open house on both projects from 4-7 pm Tuesday, June 19, in the commons area at Skyview High School, 1300 NW 139th St. Residents can stop by anytime during the three-hour event to discuss either project, ask questions and offer comments and suggestions.

More information on the county’s projects to improve the Northeast 10th Avenue corridor is available on the county’s website, www.clark.wa.gov/public-works/ne-10th-avenue.

Manufactured housing code update topic of upcoming open house - 06/07/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County Community Planning will host an open house later this month on proposed updates to the county’s manufactured housing and mobile home code.

The open house will be held 6-8 pm Thursday, June 28, in Building B-1 at the county’s 78th Street Operations Center, 4700 NE 78th St. County staff will present an overview of the project at 6:30 pm.

The updates were discussed as part of the Housing Initiative project, a communitywide effort to provide more housing choices. The Clark County Council recently adopted amendments to the Unified Development Code to support a diversity of housing choices, increase the variety of housing types for smaller households, and promote housing affordability. 

Due to the complexity of the project, the manufactured housing and mobile home code changes are being handled separately from the rest of the 2017 Housing Initiative project. The work is to be completed in 2018.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to hear this item at 6:30 pm Thursday, Aug. 16. The commission will make a recommendation to the county councilors, who will hold a hearing on the code update at 10 am Tuesday, Sept. 18. Both hearings will be in the sixth-floor hearing room at the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St.

More information on the update is available on the county’s website, www.clark.wa.gov/community-planning/manufactured-housing-and-mobile-home-code-update.

County seeks applicants for Community Action Advisory Board - 06/07/18

Vancouver, Wash. – The county manager is seeking applicants to fill several vacant positions on the volunteer Community Action Advisory Board.

Positions are based on county council districts. Open seats include elected officials from the county’s second and third districts, low-income representatives from the county’s second and third districts and community representatives from the county’s first and fourth districts.

Term periods are three years, ending on a staggered basis. Incumbents have the opportunity for re-appointment to two additional three-year terms. Board members of agencies receiving money administered by the advisory board are not eligible to apply.

The twelve-member board makes recommendations about local government funding for basic needs, self-sufficiency and housing programs. Members also advocate for services supporting low-income communities, families and persons.

Clark County is looking to diversify the board composition and encourages people with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives to apply, especially those from historically underserved communities.

Interested residents must submit an application and résumé to Rebecca Royce, Clark County Community Services, P.O. Box 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666-5000 or ebecca.royce@clark.wa.gov">rebecca.royce@clark.wa.gov.

Application information can be found at www.clark.wa.gov/community-services/community-action-advisory-board or by calling Rebecca Royce at 564.397.7863.

Deadline is Friday, July 6.

Procession of the Species returns to annual Recycled Arts Festival - 06/05/18

Series of free community workshops available to create costumes

Vancouver, Wash. – The Procession of the Species is returning to this year’s Recycled Arts Festival. The festival will host a series of free workshops to help participants get their costumes ready for the Sunday, June 24, parade.

The free event is open to people of all ages.

The procession, which originated in Olympia in 1995 and debuted in Clark County at last year’s festival, is a celebration of community and the natural world through art.

The Recycled Arts Festival runs 9 am to 5 pm Saturday, June 23, and 9 am to 4 pm Sunday, June 24, in Esther Short Park, 605 Esther St. The Procession of the Species, which is open to all ages, begins at 11 am Sunday, June 24, with registration beginning at 10:30 am. The cast of costumed characters, led by the Brazilian beats of MARACATUpdx, will wind through Esther Short Park.

“We are excited to bring this event back to our annual festival,” said Sally Fisher, Clark County Public Health program coordinator. “It's another way to bring the community together to celebrate our environment, which is what the weekend is all about.”

Procession participants can attend free community workshops to create their costumes representing animal species or elements, such as fire, earth or water. Repurposed materials will be supplied, and people are welcome to bring their own materials, as well.

Here’s the workshop schedule:

  • 3-5 pm Thursday, June 7, at River HomeLink, 610 SW Eaton Blvd., Battle Ground.
  • 3-5 pm Friday, June 8, at River HomeLink, 610 SW Eaton Blvd., Battle Ground.
  • 10:30 am to 12:30 pm Friday, June 15, at Vancouver Community Library, Skamania Room, 901 C St.
  • 10 am to noon Saturday, June 16, at Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver, 4505 E 18th St.
  • 10:30 am to 12:30 pm Friday, June 22, at Vancouver Community Library, Skamania Room, 901 C St.
  • 9 am to 5 pm Saturday, June 23, at Recycled Arts Festival Children’s Crafts Tent, Esther Short Park, 605 Esther St.

Registration for the workshops is required. Go to www.recycledartsfestival.com/POTS for information and to sign up.

Clark County Council selects Shawn Henessee as new county manager - 05/31/18

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Council unanimously approved a motion today authorizing Council Chair Marc Boldt and Interim County Manager Jim Rumpeltes to develop a contract with Shawn Henessee to become the next county manager.

“We believe Shawn’s strong background in local government and his character make him a good choice for county manager,” said Boldt.

Henessee currently is the city administrator of City of Pleasant Hill, Missouri, a position he has held since 2017. He served as county administrator for Marinette County, Wisconsin, from 2015 – 2017. He has extensive experience with county and local government departments and functions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wichita State University, a master’s degree in political science from University of Kansas and a juris doctor from University of Missouri.

Henessee, along with finalists Keith A. Regan, managing director of the County of Maui, Hawaii, and Rick Rudometkin, county manager of Eddy County, New Mexico, participated in a moderated forum yesterday. The forum can be viewed on the CVTV website, www.cvtv.org/.

County job recruitment closed June 1-25 to transition to new system - 05/30/18

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Human Resources Department will not post new job notices or accept job applications from June 1-25, in order to accommodate a software update.

The county is updating its recruitment software to Workday. The current system will not be available for potential job applicants during the transition.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience while we make this upgrade to provide a better, more efficient experience for job applicants,” said Kathleen Otto, Human Resources director.

The county also will use Workday for employee timekeeping procedures and accounting processes.

Community book discussion will focus on childhood trauma and resilience - 05/30/18

Vancouver, Wash. – The ACEs Action Alliance, in collaboration with Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries, is kicking off a series of community conversations about childhood trauma and resilience with a book discussion.

The book, Becoming Ms. Burton by Susan Burton and Cari Lynn recounts Burton’s childhood, which was impacted by poverty, racism, sexual abuse and emotional neglect. As a teenage mother, Burton started using drugs and eventually served six sentences in the California penitentiary system. After receiving substance abuse treatment and leaving prison, Burton became an advocate for other women with criminal records as they re-enter society.

“This book teaches many lessons about multi-generational trauma, racism and poverty and how we stigmatize those who are dealing with addiction or who have served prison sentences,” said Cyndie Meyer, chronic disease prevention program coordinator at Clark County Public Health. “Our systems and approaches in Clark County today are a far cry from South Central Los Angeles in the late 1900s, but there is more we can learn together that makes this a critical conversation for our community.”

The community book discussion is 6-8 pm Monday, June 18, at the Cascade Park Community Library, Community Room, 600 NE 136th Ave. Clark County Council Chair Marc Boldt will be a discussion facilitator.

Copies of the book are available to borrow from the library. Excerpts from the book are available on the ACEs Action Alliance website, www.acesactionalliance.org.

The discussion is the first of several upcoming community conversations about adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, childhood trauma and resilience. Adverse childhood experiences are potentially traumatic events that take place before a child is 18 and may impact long-term mental, physical and behavioral health.

The ACEs Action Alliance is a collaborative of public and private organizations and individuals who promote a trauma-informed, resilient Clark County.

Youth drug prevention team seeks new members ages 12-19 - 05/29/18

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County STASHA, Strong Teens Against Substance Hazards and Abuse, Peer Education Program is recruiting youth to fill vacant positions for the 2018-2019 program year.

STASHA peer educators advocate for healthy lifestyles and are dedicated to addressing alcohol and other drug issues among youth in Clark County. The young volunteers in this group strive to represent the diverse populations and variety of neighborhoods in the county.

Peer educators range in age from 12 to 19. They include youth who have never used drugs or alcohol, those with past experimentation or use, and those who have completed treatment and are now in recovery. Members serve a one-year term with the opportunity to stay on the program until age 19.

To be eligible, youth must be Clark County residents and have an interest in sharing their opinions and perspectives about substance abuse prevention. Training is provided.

Interested youth must submit an application. Finalists will be interviewed. Applications and directions are online at www.clark.wa.gov/community-services/stasha-peer-education-program.

Application deadline is Friday, June 15.

For more information or to request an application, please contact Alaina Green, STASHA peer education coordinator, at 360.397.2130, ext. 5841 or een@clark.wa.gov">Alaina.green@clark.wa.gov.

Third county manager candidate will join community forum on May 30 - 05/24/18

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Council has invited a third finalist for the county manager position to participate in a moderated forum next week. Keith A. Regan, managing director of the County of Maui will join the forum with two other finalists announced last week. They are Rick Rudometkin, county manager of Eddy County, New Mexico, and Shawn Henessee, city administrator for Pleasant Hill, Missouri.

The forum will be 9-10 am Wednesday, May 30, in the sixth-floor Hearing Room of the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St. It is open to the public and will be moderated by Jim Rumpeltes, interim county manager.

If you have suggested questions for the candidates, please send them to search@clark.wa.gov">countymanagersearch@clark.wa.gov.    

Regan has been managing director since 2011and has more than 20 years of experience in senior management in the public and private sector. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business operations from DeVry Institute of Technology, an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a master’s of public administration from the University of Southern California. He also earned a certificate in Senior Executives in State and Local Government from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Rudometkin has held his current position since 2013 and previously served as Eddy County Public Works director. He has 24 years of progressive local and municipal government experience. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management at Woodbury University, Burbank, California. He also holds credentials as a Certified Advocate for Public Ethics and Certified Public Manager through the New Mexico EDGE program. 

Henessee has been city administrator of City of Pleasant Hill since 2017, and served as county administrator for Marinette County, Wisconsin, from 2015 – 2017. He has extensive experience with county and local government departments and functions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wichita State University, a master’s degree in political science from University of Kansas, and a juris doctor from University of Missouri.

Clark County Public Health to offer permit services online - 05/23/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County residents and business owners needing to submit permit applications, renewals and payments to Public Health soon will be able to perform those tasks online. Clark County Public Health is rolling out new features on its website that will allow users to meet permit requirements without making a trip to the department office.

Users of the new online system will be able to submit applications, receive application status notifications, make payments, upload required documents, and review account activity.

Public Health will add online capabilities for a variety of services throughout the rest of the year. Beginning today, people seeking permits for temporary food establishments can submit applications online. Public Health issues about 180 single- and multi-event temporary permits each year.

Later this summer, food establishment and mobile unit operators will be able to submit information for their annual plan reviews and permits on the website. A portal for making vital records requests  also will be available online in the coming months.

Later this year, the Public Health website will have capabilities for submitting on-site sewage treatment system design and installation applications, septic release and water adequacy reviews, and individual well and small drinking-water system applications.

The review and permit processes for water recreation facility plans also will be available online, and website users will be able to make payments for existing annual permits.

In addition to providing permit processes online, Public Health will update its website features for submitting Public Health complaints and reviewing restaurant inspection scores.

For project updates, visit www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/online-permitting.

Local historic preservation commission recognized for outreach efforts - 05/22/18

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Historic Preservation Commission recently received an Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation Award in the education category from the state of Washington.

Dr. Allyson Brooks, historic preservation officer with the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, presented the annual awards during a ceremony last week in Olympia.

The commission was honored for its success in reaching new and broader audiences regarding the importance of preserving heritage.

While the commission has long been disseminating information to the public, efforts in recent years have been increased and broadened. The commission has been working with local museums and heritage organizations to further goals about collaboration and partnership with like-minded stewards of local heritage. They also briefed local leaders on the region’s heritage community and how historic preservation is linked to larger governance issues.

“We wanted to do everything we could to expand historic preservation in Clark County,” said Robert Ted Hinds, commission chair.

The historic preservation awards recognize persons, organizations and projects that achieve distinction in the field of historic preservation. Award categories are barn rehabilitation, career achievement, cemetery preservation, education, media, planning, rehabilitation, special achievement and stewardship.

The Clark County Historic Preservation Commission raises awareness of the county’s historic and cultural resources and serves as the county’s primary resource on historic preservation. Commission members are appointed by the Clark County Council.

For more information, go to www.clark.wa.gov/community-planning/historic-preservation.