Ask the City a Question

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Register using the link in the upper right corner of the page and submit your questions about any City-related topic. We will respond as quickly as possible (usually within a few days). If your question is about something the City doesn't directly manage or work on , we will provide you with contact information for the agency or organization that does.

You will receive an email notification when we've posted a response. Your question and our answer will also be posted on this page for all to see, so please leave any personal information out of your question.

You can sort previously asked questions by topic keyword or search them by specific keywords if you don't feel like scrolling through them to find topics you're interested in.



Register using the link in the upper right corner of the page and submit your questions about any City-related topic. We will respond as quickly as possible (usually within a few days). If your question is about something the City doesn't directly manage or work on , we will provide you with contact information for the agency or organization that does.

You will receive an email notification when we've posted a response. Your question and our answer will also be posted on this page for all to see, so please leave any personal information out of your question.

You can sort previously asked questions by topic keyword or search them by specific keywords if you don't feel like scrolling through them to find topics you're interested in.



Q&A

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    I live in a residential area but a group senior home was built bordering my back yard. I have only waved to the owners as I am in a series of cut de sacs so by foot, their house is actually a mile away. There have been no problems until now. Recently, they have taken a senior that apparently suffers from dementia. There is moaning, screaming and crying coming from there pretty much all the time. Sometimes they turn on a tv or music loud to drown it out. The window from this room, which sits about 10 feet from my fence, is kept open most of the time. Whenever I am in my back yard, I have to listen to it. There is also the possibility that this person is being abused/ignored and whether a senior home is equipped to care for a person with this level of dementia. I really don’t know who to talk to about this. Ideas?

    ConcernedNeighbor asked 3 days ago

    Thank you for your question. The first thing we recommend you do is go visit the facility and ask to speak to site manager or call and set up an appointment to speak to the manager by phone or in person. 

    Tell them what you're experiencing and explain your concerns. It's not uncommon for new residents of adult family homes to be frightened and confused, especially if they have dementia, but the manager may be unaware that the resident's cries are disturbing the neighbors. Hopefully they will be able to address the problem themselves, even if it's just by moving the distressed resident to another room in the facility away from your property.

    If the manager is unable or unwilling to address the situation, you can file a complaint with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, which is responsible for licensing adult family homes. To submit a complaint to them, call 800-562-6078. 

    If you actually witness any abuse of this (or any) resident at the home, please immediately call 9-1-1 to report it. If you very strongly suspect abuse based on what you overhear but haven't witnessed it yourself, or if excessive noise is occurring late at night, please call 3-1-1 to report it.

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    With city finances looking better, can the homeless situation be moved forward now. Waiting until September when the needs are immediate feels like offering drown proofing after a child has already drowned. We continue to have fires on Burnt Bridge Creek and a recent stabbing on 18th shows that the aid to the mentally disturbed is an immediate need, not something down the line. Thank you!

    concerned citizen asked 5 days ago

    Great question! Unfortunately, the hold up on moving forward with the City's proposed homelessness response plan isn’t for financial reasons. In order to move forward, the City first needs to find locations for supported campsites, as well as go through a Request for Proposals process to hire nonprofits to manage the campsites and to provide the supportive services needed for camp residents. We’re looking to have at least the first supported campsite open by September, with more to follow as soon after that as possible.

    Regarding mental health services, we agree that the need is urgent, and we are moving as quickly as we can. But again, the challenge here at the City level is not financial. The capacity of our local service providers is the barrier. 

    The City of Vancouver is looking to hire a team of professionals that goes to encampments to provide behavioral health treatment services out in the field. However, this is a new team, and it won’t be staffed and ready to start work until around September. 

    The unfortunate reality is that our local mental health service providers don’t have the capacity to quickly add more services to what they already provide in a way that fully meets the local need. We have some wonderful service providers in this community, but adding capacity and building programs takes time. 

    Additionally, Clark County is the lead entity for funding homeless and behavioral health services. They receive the bulk of the funding for these services, and are in the process of negotiating some new contracts with service providers that will increase outreach, coordination and some housing assistance locally. That was a $15.5 million package that was just discussed and voted on at last night’s Clark County Council meeting, which you can watch here: https://www.cvtv.org/vid_link/32971?startStreamAt=0&stopStreamAt=10578

    If you have any suggestions or ideas about where we could place supported campsites in the city, to be available as an alternative to people camping in places like the Burnt Bridge Creek Greenway, please do send them our way using the "Your Ideas" tool on our homelessness response plan page here on Be Heard Vancouver (https://www.beheardvancouver.org/homelessness-response). Thank you for reaching out with your concerns!

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    Why does Incorporated Vancouver not include "All of Us with Vancouver, WA home addresses" out here in Salmon Creek and everything in-between as actual Vancouver? Why are we left in the dust as Unincorporated Vancouver?

    Unincorporated Vancouver Address asked 23 days ago

    Great question! Your home's mailing address is not based on what city you physically live in—it is based on which U.S. Post Office handles and delivers your mail. 

    The U.S. Postal Service assigns you an address with the same city, state and zip code as your closest post office location. For many who live in the unincorporated areas outside the physical city limits, that will put their address "within" that nearby city, even though they don't technically live there.

    Areas like Orchards, Sifton, Minnehaha, Salmon Creek, Hazel Dell and others are located outside the Vancouver city limits within what is called the Vancouver Urban Growth Area. These areas are not yet within the city limits, but may be added in the future through a process known as annexation.

    Annexation is a formal, legal process that is directed by state law. It can happen in several different ways, including a resident-initiated petition and election, a city-initiated resolution and election, and petitions signed by a simple majority of residents/property owners. 

    You can learn more about annexation, the different methods, recent Vancouver annexations, and more on our website.

    If you have additional questions about annexation, you can contact City Associate Planner Bryan Monroe at Bryan.Monroe@cityofvancouver.us or 360-487-7958.

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    Where on this site can I go to comment on zoning in Hough-Arnada-CarterPark? Thank you.

    Roz asked about 2 months ago

    Vancouver's property zoning standards and laws are directed by the City's Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan was last updated in 2011 and the next big update is scheduled for 2024-25. There will be a lot of opportunities for public input during that update process.

    In between these updates to the Comprehensive Plan, the City accepts proposals from the public about zoning changes for specific properties once a year. These proposals usually come from the property owner, but can legally come from anyone. The deadline to propose zoning changes for specific properties for this year was on April 30.

    You can learn more about the City's Comprehensive Plan, view our zoning maps, review the zoning code and learn about the annual update process online at: https://www.cityofvancouver.us/ced/page/vancouver-comprehensive-plan-and-zoning-code 

    If you have any questions about the City's Comprehensive Plan, zoning, the update process and public input opportunities, please contact Bryan Snodgrass in the Community and Economic Development Department by email at Bryan.Snodgrass@cityofvancouver.us or by phone at 360-487-7946.

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    Why is there a small tent city being set up along the on ramp near Mashall center?

    mldavison asked about 2 months ago

    Thanks for your question. The people living in tents on this on-ramp are currently experiencing homelessness. There are no local shelter beds or other housing available for them at this time, so there is nowhere else for them to go. Staff from the City and other local outreach agencies and non-profits have already made contact with the residents of this camp and are currently trying to find them housing and other services.

    Property along all highways and interstates, including on- and off-ramps is owned and maintained by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), not the City. You can contact WSDOT's Vancouver area Maintenance Superintendent Bill Morrison with any questions by email at MorriBi@wsdot.wa.gov.

    Learn more about what the City of Vancouver is doing to address homelessness.

    Read the City's fact sheet about legal issues related to homelessness in Vancouver.

    You can also learn more by reading our response to CaringAboutVancouver's question here on this page (a couple questions below this one).

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    Street car noise. It seems like there are consistent number of cars that would rather have rabbit acceleration through the streets. Many sounds like mufflers are intentionally removed. Some might be just old vehicles with bad maintenance. Regardless, the type of vehicles or the type of drivers who operate them is the type that make up the consistent annoyance 24/7. How can City of Vancouver make tighter control of and preventing this type of annoyance? We have wide space and great trees; however, the noise echoes through the neighborhood and the noise sounds like its coming from everywhere. Help!

    gotsu888 asked 2 months ago

    Thank you for your question. The state of Washington already has a law, RCW 46.37.390, that requires motor vehicles be equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise. It also prohibits drivers from using a muffler cut-out, bypass or similar device.

    However, as you can imagine, enforcement of this law is difficult when it comes to loud vehicles driving through neighborhoods. By the time a police officer arrives, the vehicle is long gone.

    But, if this is a recurring problem in your neighborhood, and you have details you can share including what street(s) they are driving on and what days of the week and/or times of day when it is observed most often, you can report it to the Vancouver Police Department's (VPD) Traffic Complaint Hotline. Encourage your neighbors to report what they're observing, as well. It will be investigated by VPD's Traffic Unit, and targeted enforcement activities performed if warranted.

    You can report issues to the VPD's Traffic Complaint Hotline two ways:

    Phone: 360-487-7402 (leave a detailed message)

    Online: www.cityofvancouver.us/TrafficComplaint 

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    The tents everywhere are getting out of hand and becoming a significant source of trash and human waste.  I understand homelessness is a complex problem, but you can't pitch a tent in a state park without a reservation and payment, but if you're homeless you can camp anywhere in Vancouver and use the city as your trash can.  Some of our parks and trails are littered with drug paraphernalia and large amounts of trash and human waste.  I don't understand why this is our "solution" to homelessness.  I moved here to get out of Portland and now your letting Portland's problems exist here without adequate measures being taken to protect our earth and our neighborhoods.  What is the plan to clean up our city???

    CaringAboutVancouver asked 2 months ago

    Hi CaringAboutVancouver - Thank you for reaching out to us regarding your concern for our community. Homelessness truly is such a tough and complex issue that impacts so many facets of a community, and the growth that we are all seeing in unsheltered homelessness here, as well as all over the country, certainly is concerning.

    In regards to increased encampments, there are multiple reasons we are seeing this increase. The city’s Unlawful Camping ordinance, amended in 2015, permits camping on most publicly owned land (excluding city parks and public libraries) from 9:30 pm to 6:30 a.m., provided sidewalks and roadways are not obstructed, when shelter capacity is full. This is due to a Supreme Court ruling that declared punishing an individual experiencing homelessness for sleeping on publicly owned land, in the absence of adequate alternatives, a violation of their 8th amendment rights.

    When COVID hit last year, the Governor, public health authorities, and the CDC issued orders and recommendations to help slow the spread of the virus, and they included not forcing encampments to move and, in some cases, providing hygiene and sanitation services to large encampments. The City of Vancouver has responded to those orders/recommendations by placing dumpsters, portable latrines and hand washing stations in a handful of locations around the city to assist with sanitation and hygiene in areas that have larger encampments.

    Additionally, sanitation clean-ups occur as needed at those sites and others. For example, we just did a clean-up in a section of Burnt Bridge Creek recently and worked with another small encampment to remove garbage. The City’s Homeless Response Coordinator, alongside the  Homeless Assistance and Resource Team visits encampments that she is aware of, or encampments that community members like yourself let us know about, so that we can assess the area and coordinate sanitation clean-ups as resources allow.

    So while the City of Vancouver is not encouraging encampments to set up, either temporarily or permanently, we currently do not have the ability to force camps to leave due to COVID, but we are working very hard to ensure that folks living in encampments have access to hygiene/sanitation services, and to mitigate the impacts of unsheltered homelessness. To learn more about HART and other ways the city is responding to homelessness, you can visit this webpage on the city’s website: https://www.cityofvancouver.us/ced/page/homelessness

    Post-COVID, camping on most public right of ways will remain legal during the hours listed above, unless and until enough shelter beds are available to folks living unsheltered. Our community’s current shelter capacity is just nowhere near enough to meet the need, unfortunately, and what beds we do have are almost always full. However, that is something we are working on in partnership with Clark County Community Services and Vancouver Housing Authority. Through that partnership, a new non-congregate shelter is set to open this summer for individuals and households experiencing homelessness at the former Howard Johnson Hotel at 9201 NE Vancouver Mall Drive. The City of Vancouver contributed funds to purchase the property, and Clark County Community Services is currently working to solidify a contract with Catholic Community Services as the operator for that shelter. That shelter will have the capacity to shelter up to 80 people, which is fantastic, but also will not completely meet the shelter needs of everyone experiencing unsheltered homelessness. You can read more about that project here: https://vhausa.org/vha-news/vancouver-housing-authority-to-purchase-howard-johnson-for-non-congregate-shelter

    Many of the emails/calls that we receive have been about camps on/near freeway on/off-ramps. That’s likely because, while there are camps scattered all over the city and county, on/off-ramps tend to be the most visible to a larger number of people. Unfortunately, the City of Vancouver does not have the authority to address those areas because they are WSDOT property. We have been in contact with WSDOT about several of their properties recently and have been told that they have a list of properties they will be addressing as resources are made available to them by the State. If you would like to follow up with them, or in case you would like their contact info for future reference, you can report directly to WSDOT by calling 360.619.0604 or email at swwebinfo@wsdot.wa.gov. That said, the City goes out to every specific site that is reported to ensure that there isn’t anything that the City and/or HART can address.

    Finally, please do feel free to report specific concerns about current or abandoned camps, along with photos, on the free MyVancouver mobile app. All of those reports come directly to the HART team. If you don’t already have the app, you can read more about it and download it here: https://www.cityofvancouver.us/community/page/myvancouver

    If you have any additional questions or concerns, please reach out to our new Homeless Response Coordinator Jamie Spinelli to continue the conversation via email at Jamie.Spinelli@cityofvancouver.us , or she can schedule a phone call if you’d prefer. Thank you again for sharing your concerns about homelessness in Vancouver.

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    When will the side street, between the YWCA and Safeway be repaved? I have seen Seniors nearly tip their walkers over, or carts, even their wheelchairs and scooters. It is dangerous to even walk, with so many potholes and uneven ground. THERE IS NO CROSSWALK AT EITHER END OF THE STREET. Other less necessary streets in the area have been repaved, but never THIS ONE. Why I wonder?

    Christine Lamb White asked 2 months ago

    Thank you for your question. This portion of 37th Street near Main Street and several others nearby in the Shumway neighborhood are scheduled for pavement rehabilitation this summer. Pavement rehabilitation is used when a street's pavement has failed or is in too poor of condition to simply pave or seal. The City's contractor will mill and/or pulverize the existing pavement, compact it, then pave over with hot asphalt mix. Notices will be given to adjacent properties in advance. 

    Also, please know that pavement work of this type also requires that the City upgrade curb ramps to current federal ADA-compliant standards. If the current curbs and/or ramps there don't meet federal criteria, those will be updated first, before rehabilitation paving. 

    You can view a map of 2021 Pavement Management Program projects and get additional information at www.cityofvancouver.us/pavement.  

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    What is to become of the Grant House Restaurant that is now permanently closed?

    Christine Lamb White asked 2 months ago

    The restaurant/commercial space inside the Grant House on Officers Row that was previously occupied by the Grant House Restaurant is currently available for lease. Anyone interested in leasing this space is invited to contact Shelly Knight at The Historic Trust, which manages all of the City-owned properties on Officers Row and the Historic Reserve. Shelly can be reached by email at Shelly.Knight@thehistorictrust.org

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    When do you plan to have the Marshall Center Open again, it has been months for a fix, what is the problem, many Senior are counting on you for their health!!!

    Christine Lamb White asked 3 months ago

    Hello! The Marshall Community Center opened March 1 for fitness reservations with a FIT Pass or other insurance-based memberships (Silver Sneakers, Silver&Fit, Active Renew, etc.). 

    Center hours are Monday thru Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the amenities currently available are the fitness center (weights and cardio equipment), group exercise classes and pickleball. Activities are currently available by reservation only—no walk-ins.

    Marshall Pool is currently closed for resurfacing and fiberglass installation to address an ongoing maintenance issue. This project is expected to be completed, and the pool reopened, in late May. 

    For information about the FIT Pass, please visit www.cityofvancouver.us/FITpass. To learn more about making a reservation with an insurance-based membership, please visit www.cityofvancouver.us/SeniorFitness. If you need additional assistance, please call Marshall Community Center at 360-487-7100.