Ask the City a Question

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Please 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.

If you prefer not to register on the Be Heard Vancouver site in order to ask a question, you can email us at beheard@cityofvancouver.us instead. We will respond within 3-5 working days, depending on how complex your question is.



Please 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.

If you prefer not to register on the Be Heard Vancouver site in order to ask a question, you can email us at beheard@cityofvancouver.us instead. We will respond within 3-5 working days, depending on how complex your question is.



Q&A

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    Why can’t more be done to keep our streets cleaner? There is trash everywhere. I would be happy to help if they organized safe work parties. We can and must do better

    Eric Winkler asked 4 months ago

    We agree that litter and trash are disheartening, especially because this problem is easily prevented. Littering, illegal dumping, and driving with uncovered loads are all punishable under Washington state law. 

    In Vancouver, City crews continue to work to clean up illegal dumping and trash in City-owned/managed sites. Cleanup efforts in Vancouver have also been supported by Talkin' Trash, a community cleanup program that employs people experiencing homelessness to help address litter. This program, a partnership between the City and Share, helps individuals who use Share’s shelter services to gain work experience and training to help transition from homelessness. 

    Check the City’s Calendar of Events (Calendar of Events | City of Vancouver, Washington, USA)  for upcoming Volunteer Opportunities. This is a great place to find open, planned litter cleanups led either by City staff or community groups like VDA, Share or the Watershed Alliance to name a few upcoming litter cleanups.

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    Climate Emergency! What is the City of Vancouver doing to address the worsening state of Climate Emergency? So far all my searches have found is a Carbon Emissions Inventory from 2007, and a Sustainability Plan from 2009. Nothing since!!! I see great work being done on issues such as homelessness, policing, and many others. How can we be ignoring the negative impact Climate Change has on those areas, as well as on the obvious one of human survival? I want to see strong initiatives on Sustainability and Decarbonization- where are they?

    kittyred asked 5 months ago

    Hi there - Thank you for your message. In 2020, the City moved forward on climate action and updated the greenhouse gas emissions inventory for city operations and community-wide for the first time in a decade. City Council set a goal, targeting carbon neutrality no later than 2050 for city operations and the whole community. The City is continuing its work toward a climate action plan and there will be opportunities in April for community engagement. The current timeline has Council considering the climate action plan for adoption in June. To stay informed on the status of our climate action plan, visit www.beheardvancouver.org/vancouver-climate-strategy and subscribe to email updates!

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    I work inside of a small business on NE 20th Ave and NE 144th St in Salmon Creek. As the months get colder, we have faced an increasing issue with the neighboring bus stop. For whatever reason, the bus stop on the west side of NE 144th St and NE 20th Ave does not have a shelter covering it. As a result, a significant amount of people waiting for the bus stop, (sometimes for hours), will take cover directly in front of our double doors in order to seek shelter from the weather. This obviously creates a problem during business hours as we are not meant to be a makeshift "bus shelter", especially when we have clients entering and exiting the building for appointments. If you are familiar with the area, then you know that this specific bus stop is surrounded by 3 different medical institutions as well as a variety of businesses. What I'm trying to get across is that the area surrounding the bus stop is a high traffic area, so the stop is used frequently. How can we go about convincing the city to install a bus stop cover at this location? Thanks!

    Payton asked 6 months ago

    Thanks for your question! The area you're referencing is in Salmon Creek, outside Vancouver city limits (Do you live or work in the City of Vancouver? | City of Vancouver, Washington, USA). We suggest reaching out to our partners at C-Tran. They manage public transit and infrastructure, including the stop you're referencing. You can call customer service at 360-695-0123 or submit your suggestion through their website at: comments.c-tran.com. Thanks for staying connected with your city via Be Heard. 

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    Hello, Every day, we see trains carting uncovered coal passing though downtown Vancouver. I was wondering if the city has ever measured air quality to ensure these coal trains don't pose a health threat to residents of downtown Vancouver. Thank you!

    B. Rin asked 10 months ago

    Thank you for your question! The City of Vancouver does not monitor or study air quality locally. Here in Clark County, the Southwest Clean Air Agency is the local agency that monitors air quality and enforces federal, state and local clean air laws. They have a webpage with a bunch of links to information related to coal dust and diesel emissions from trains here: www.swcleanair.gov/agency/coaltrains.asp  You can also contact them with question at 360-574-3058 or info@swcleanair.org.

    The Washington State Department of Ecology also regulates mobile sources of air pollution in the state, including trains. You can contact their Southwest regional office with questions about coal dust at 360-690-7171 or by emailing the manager Rian Sallee at rian.sallee@ecy.wa.gov

    However, generally speaking, scientific research on coal dust emissions from uncovered trucks or trains in the U.S. and its impact on air quality and public health is significantly lacking. 

    The railroads are regulated by the federal government. To date, studies and recommendations from these federal regulatory agencies related to coal dust have focused on its impact to railroad safety and operations because a build-up of coal dust on the tracks has been proven to contribute to train derailments. 

    The only air quality study we could find online was done in 2015 by the Jaffe Group at the University of Washington. They looked at the impacts of coal dust and diesel emissions from trains to air quality at a few locations in Washington state, including along the Columbia River Gorge. You can learn more about the results of that study here: https://blogs.uw.edu/djaffe/train-study/ 

    There have been studies done on the impacts of coal dust to public health in people who work in coal mines or live next to coal mines, but we could find no general studies about the public health impacts from coal trains traveling through states and cities.

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    I just read the current email from the Mayor and would like more details on the hospital statistics on vaccinated persons hospitalized. Please comment on research data related to the breakdown of these cases by brand of vaccine, vaccine immunization dates, patient age, comorbidities, and any other data that would provide further insight into breakthrough hospitalization cases.

    Grammi asked 10 months ago

    Hi Grammi - Thanks for your questions! The Clark County Public Health website, as well as the state's COVID-19 data dashboard are the best resources for the latest data on COVID-19:


    This report also provides some good insight on some of the information you're seeking related to hospitalization and breakthrough cases: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/data-tables/421-010-CasesInNotFullyVaccinated.pdf

    Another helpful report on breakthrough cases was also released Sept 1: SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Breakthrough Surveillance and Case Information Resource (wa.gov) 

    Have a great evening. - Sophie, City of Vancouver

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    Hello, Thank you for creating this forum and for the thoughtful responses you provide to the community! I'd appreciate your advice on a traffic safety matter. A couple times every night on average, a car or motorcycle will speed down our street in downtown Vancouver at very high acceleration (not the same car, people just randomly do that). Besides going at high speed, creating an unsafe condition for anyone that may be in the vicinity, some of these vehicles have very loud engines or removed their mufflers, waking up residents in the building abruptly from sleep (several times a night sometimes). I realize that the police department doesn't have unlimited resources to camp out here and wait to catch someone. I did report it to the Police Dept Traffic Hotline, as you recommended in another answer. A speed hump would be a helpful measure, though I read that speed humps are not permitted on bus routes (which this street is on). Maybe a speed cushion would help. What do you recommend I do? I really appreciate your help in mitigating this unsafe situation and helping us and our neighbors to get a restful night of sleep. Thank you for your service to the our community!

    B. Rin asked 11 months ago

    Thank you for reaching out about your concerns of speeding in downtown Vancouver. The Traffic Complaint Hotline is a great tool for reporting issues. It can also be helpful to work with fellow neighbors or your Esther Short Neighborhood Association. Another group you might connect with is the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Alliance, an organization of volunteers from Vancouver neighborhoods who advocate for traffic safety. Still another option is the City’s Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program, which works with the NTSA through a competitive process to help identify and fund tools to slow traffic. New program details for 2022 will be announced later this year, www.cityofvancouver.us/TrafficCalmingProgram. Thank you again for your interest in traffic safety for your neighborhood.

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    Are the plans for developing the water front on the east side of the bridge set in stone? I feel that the plans that I saw in the paper show a cold steel and concrete entrance to our city matching the west side. Why loose all of the trees and buildings that aren't at all inviting?

    Lamke asked 11 months ago

    The planned development on the east side of the I-5 bridge along the Columbia River waterfront is being called "Renaissance Boardwalk." It is a private development by Kirkland Development LLC. 

    A development agreement for the project was approved by Vancouver City Council on July 12, which provides a framework for further reviews and approvals, but the detailed design, including tree removal or retention, has not yet been finalized. The developer still has to obtain approvals from the City for the design review, shorelines, master plan, tree plan and more.

    There will be additional opportunities for public input into this project as it moves towards construction, but we don't know when those will occur yet.

    You can contact the Keith Jones, the City's Senior Planner who will be managing the reviews/approvals for this project, with any questions you have at Keith.Jones@cityofvancouver.us or 360-487-7887.

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    What are the future plans for alleviating traffic to and from Portland? I believe this is a top issue for most Vancouverites. Will the I5 bridge be widened or replaced? Will another bridge be added? How about a ferry, an underground tunnel, or a light rail? I know this is a problem that will have to be solved in conjunction with the city of Portland due to state lines. It won't be easy and it will be costly, however it's time to set aside our differences to work on a solution - not in another 5-10 years in the future - but now. This is long overdue. My idea is this: instead of building all new infrastructure for a light rail, let's build upon some of the existing. I5 (excluding the bridge portion) currently has concrete dividers in the middle of it. Say we put a light rail in the center instead of those dividers. Stops could either go under (tunnels) or over (foot bridges) the highway. I think even a light rail that just went from downtown/uptown Vancouver to Jantzen beach would help alleviate a lot of traffic. It would be a great start and the light rail system could be expanded upon from there. I like the idea of a light rail for many reasons, including: — supports a healthy community, light rail transportation encourages people to walk around the shopping and downtown areas (as it's all located closely together) instead of driving from store to store. — it provides environmental benefits because a light rail is powered by electricity and there will be less cars on the road. – convenient, affordable transportation draws more visitors and thereby stimulates the economy. Restaurants in particular may benefit from a uptick due to customers not needing to worry about parking or driving. That's just one idea, though. I'm sure there are dozens of solutions. The most important thing is that we pick one and start working towards it.

    thefutureislight asked 11 months ago

    Thank you for your question and comments. Traffic congestion and the replacement of the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River are key concerns of ours, too.

    First, to clarify: the interstates and highways in Clark County are managed by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), not by the City. We only manage and direct projects occurring on city streets. You can learn about the transportation projects WSDOT is working on locally, sign up for email notifications and get staff contact information for our local Southwest Region Office here:  https://wsdot.wa.gov/region/southwest

    One of the biggest projects WSDOT is working on right now in our area (in partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation) is the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program. This significant bi-state project will replace the aging Interstate Bridge across the Columbia River with a modern, seismically resilient, multimodal structure that provides improved mobility for people, goods and services.

    Planning work for this project began in 2020, and work will start this year on the required environmental reviews and studies. Construction is currently anticipated to begin in 2026.

    Community engagement is a big part of the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program and will occur throughout the entire planning and design process. We encourage you to visit the program’s website to learn more and sign up to receive email updates and notifications about upcoming community feedback opportunities.

    Although the City of Vancouver is not leading the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program, we are an important regional partner in its development. Our mayor and city manager represent the City on the program’s Executive Steering Committee. And last night (July 26), Vancouver City Council voted to approve a resolution supporting the bridge replacement and stating the City’s desired outcomes for the project. You can review the draft resolution discussed at last night’s City Council meeting here: https://vancouvercity.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/AttachmentViewer.ashx?AttachmentID=4834&ItemID=2057

    Please note that several changes were made to the resolution at last night’s meeting, which are not reflected in this draft. The final, signed resolution will be posted on the City’s Interstate Bridge Replacement Program website as soon as it’s available.

    With regards to light rail within Vancouver, we are currently updating our long-term Transportation System Plan, which guides the future of transportation within Vancouver. We invite you to share your stories and ideas and ask questions related to that effort (which includes multimodal transportation priorities and needs) on the Vancouver Moves page on Be Heard Vancouver.

    Lastly, we encourage you to consider attending the monthly meetings of the City’s new Transportation and Mobility Commission, which advises Vancouver City Council and staff on a variety of City-led transportation projects, policies and programs. Positions come open on this volunteer body occasionally and we invite you to apply to serve on the commission when they do! Learn more about the Transportation and Mobility Commission. Watch the commission meeting videos.

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    Is the Veterans day parade happening this year, and if so how do i register this year?

    Starbucks asked 12 months ago

    Yes, the Veteran's Day Parade is happening this year! The City of Vancouver provides funding for this event, but the event itself is managed by The Historic Trust, along with several other annual Celebrate Freedom events. The details about this year's parade are still being worked out and more information will be made available on The Historic Trust's website soon. 

    In the meantime, you can contact their Development and Marketing Coordinator Emily Wilson at Emily.Wilson@thehistorictrust.org to be added to a list of folks they will be sending parade registration forms to soon.

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    how to put a chain link fence on the 33rd Street overpass for I-5? to prevent future suicides.

    Paintedwater asked 12 months ago

    Thank you for your message. Highways, underpasses, overpasses and ramps fall under the authority of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Here’s a link to contacts at the WSDOT Southwest office: https://wsdot.wa.gov/region/southwest/contact-us where you can direct your suggestion.

Page last updated: 10 Jan 2022, 09:47 AM