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 the 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 the 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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    Why have resources magically appeared for people being evacuated due to fires, yet we still have no place for the hundreds of people living outside in this smoke? Do not give me Council for the Homeless’s information, because I know what’s available and not through that system. Why is homelessness not treated as the same kind of crisis?

    Outraged Citizen asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for your question. The state and federal systems and resources used to respond to natural disasters are different than funding for longer-term societal issues like homelessness. Homelessness is not a new issue, but it it is growing—especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis that the City of Vancouver, Clark County, service providers, neighborhoods, and community leaders, are actively working together to help address. The City currently provides resources for various programs including: 

    • Providing federal HUD funding each year to local organizations that provide assistance and housing to people who are homeless through the Community Block Development Grant/HOME Investment Partnership Program.
    • Addressing affordable housing and homelessness through the City’s voter-approved Affordable Housing Fund
    • Coordinating with Clark County, Washington state, and the federal government to administer grant and relief funds, including the recent CARES Act, which has provided millions in federal funds for rental assistance for people in Clark County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will help prevent additional homelessness.


    Efforts are ongoing towards finding more resources and building more coordinated and comprehensive solutions to homelessness for our community. If you have some practical ideas for how the City could improve its response to homelessness, we encourage you to share them with City Council during one of their regular Citizen Forums

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    When are you going to do something about all the speeding/drag racing on the public streets? More citizens die in Vancouver from it than anything else.

    Major PJ asked about 1 month ago

    The Vancouver Police Department's Traffic Unit, as well as patrol officers, conduct traffic enforcement 7 days a week. Unfortunately, cities across the country are experiencing an increase in excessive speeding and racing, which are somehow correlating with lighter traffic flow due to COVID-19. This is certainly no excuse to speed and does not reduce the danger to the community, and we are conducting frequent enforcement efforts to address these issues in Vancouver. Citizens are asked to call the traffic complaint line at 360-487-7402 to report chronic problem areas and issues, so that we can direct resources accordingly. To report emergency incidents, please call 9-1-1.

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    There have been proposed HUD projects with income below the poverty level, or at the poverty level, which have been changed to market rate. I believe there is a law stating affordable housing has to be located in a core area, and I'd like to know what your mandate is for this, and if there are any future buildings that will accomodate the great need (right now, there are few, and closed wait lists)? Thank you, Christine

    Christine Lamb White asked about 2 months ago

    Thanks for your questions. The City of Vancouver is very much aware of the incredible need for affordable housing here and we do a variety of things to try and help meet this need. 

    We do not limit where developers can build affordable housing within the city. It can be built anywhere, as long as the property is zoned for residential uses and it adheres to any applicable state and local development codes and requirements. One program we offer, the Multi-family Tax Exemption Program, is only offered to housing developments within two areas of the city: the downtown city center and the Fourth Plain corridor. But the rest of our programs apply citywide.

    The City distributes federal HUD funding for affordable housing rehabilitation and construction projects through our Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships programs. We also distribute property tax funding for affordable housing projects through the City’s Affordable Housing Fund, which was approved by voters a few years ago. Private and non-profit developers apply for both types of funding each year. 

    The City requires the units funded through either of these programs be rented to households earning 50-80% of the Area Median Income (AMI), depending on the program. In the case of projects receiving HOME Investment Partnerships program funding, the housing must remain affordable for 40 years after completion. Housing projects funded by the City’s Affordable Housing Fund must remain affordable for 20 years.

    The City has provided funding for several recently-completed affordable housing projects, including Caples Terrace, Isabella Court, Meriwether Place, McKibbin Commons and The Pacific, and there are more in the pipeline. A full list of projects that have received Affordable Housing Fund money is available online here (see the Housing Production section). And there may be other low-income housing developments in the city that have not received funding from us that we do not track. There was an article in The Columbian last year about another development in east Vancouver called Columbia Gardens that has not applied for HUD or Affordable Housing Fund money, for example. The Vancouver Housing Authority is the largest developer of affordable housing in Clark County and Vancouver. You can learn more about their existing and planned housing projects by contacting them directly.

    You can learn more about all the programs the City offers to encourage developers to build more affordable housing here: www.cityofvancouver.us/ced/page/affordable-housing.

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    Will Vancouver defund our police department?

    Joanne asked about 2 months ago

    Although all City departments experienced budget cuts in recent months due to reduced tax revenue resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, there has not yet been discussion about cuts to future police budgets.

    The City recently convened a Community Task Force on Policing to review police use of force policies and procedures, and to oversee the implementation of the recommendations on police reform contained in this year's Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) report.

    We are also beginning to develop our 2021-2022 two-year budget. The City Manager will propose a budget to City Council for their review and action by the end of this year. 

    If you would like to provide input on the City's budgeting priorities we will soon be providing a forum for that right here on Be Heard Vancouver. Please follow the City on social media or subscribe to our e-newsletter, Vancouver Connects, to be advised when that's available.

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    I heard that Trader Joe's Grocery had applied to build a grocery store downtown Vancouver and was denied. Can you speak to the reasoning if this is true? Or if any other grocery store projects are being determined in the near future. I believe this would be an asset to all businesses, especially small ones in the downtown core. Thanks, Christine

    Christine Lamb White asked about 2 months ago

    The City has not received any development applications for a Trader Joe's grocery store in downtown. If we did, we would wholeheartedly approve it, provided the proposed development met our development codes and requirements. 

    Last year, the City was hoping to secure a grocer for our Block 10 development (the block between Columbia & Washington streets on the north side of W. 8th Street). We owned the property and selected a developer for the project who committed to try and find a grocer for the first floor of that proposed development. Unfortunately, no grocer was willing or able to sign on because the downtown area did not yet have the population density or income levels that a grocer wants to see before they build a new store. You can learn more about this effort on the web page for the Block 10 project: https://www.cityofvancouver.us/ced/page/block-10-development. At the bottom of this page is a report the City commissioned in 2016 about getting a grocery store in downtown, which illustrates some of the challenges.

    The City continues to want a grocery store in downtown. Grocers use the data on population and incomes collected by the U.S. Census to make determinations about where to locate a grocery store. We are hopeful that the new 2020 Census results will demonstrate that we have the population density and income levels necessary for this to happen. If you have not already, please make sure you've returned your U.S. Census form!!

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    We live in East Vancouver near the old Hewlett-Packard campus which is going to be developed into housing and businesses. Where on your website can we find details, such as a map of the proposed development, as well as scheduled hearings open for pubic comment?

    AKWW asked about 2 months ago

    The private development project at the old HP campus on 34th Street is called the Vancouver Innovation Center. The project is currently being reviewed by the City's Planning Commission before it goes to City Council. The first Planning Commission workshop was on Aug. 11. You can review the presentation and other files from that workshop online here: https://www.cityofvancouver.us/pc/page/planning-commission-meeting-50

    A second, more in-depth Planning Commission workshop will occur at 4:15 p.m. on Sept. 8. The agenda for that meeting is here: https://www.cityofvancouver.us/sites/default/files/imageattachments/planning_commission/calendar_event/44191/20_09_08_pc_workshop_and_hearing_agenda_r1.pdf

    The workshops are being held online, but are still open to the public. There is information about how to access the online meeting in the agenda linked above.

    Then, on Oct. 13, the Planning Commission will hold a formal public hearing on the project, where public comments about the project will be accepted. That meeting agenda has not yet been published, but will eventually be posted here: https://www.cityofvancouver.us/pc (click the "Meeting Materials & Minutes" button at the top of the page). Instructions about how to provide remote comments at that hearing will be included on the agenda.

    Finally, it will go to Vancouver City Council for action. Those workshops and/or meetings/hearings have not yet been scheduled, but you can view upcoming City Council meeting agendas once they are published online here: https://www.cityofvancouver.us/citycouncil/page/meeting-agendas-and-minutes

    If you have any other questions about this development project or need further information, please contact the City's Principle Planner Bryan Snodgrass at bryan.snodgrass@cityofvancouver.us

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    My specific question is, why do they have to mow Leroy Hagen Park 2 to 3 times a week? It is absolutely insane to pay someone to drive through lickety-split, swing around a few trees as fast as they can and cut maybe a blade or two of grass. There is absolutely no reason to be running that machine through the park every single time! Once a week is more than sufficient! Put some of these people on the job of weeding some of the center medians where the weeds are taller than the trees!

    gimmpy1 asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question. Leroy Haagen Community Park, located just up the street from Firstenburg Community Center, is a large and popular park. It’s 29.6 acres include nearly 20 acres of turf. To protect and preserve this asset, Haagen Park is among the City's top mowing/maintenance priorities, one of several on a tightly scheduled mowing plan. Given the size of the park, it generally takes at least a few hours to complete mowing. Depending upon schedules, other maintenance needs and possible equipment delays, there may be times when crews can’t complete the mowing one day and have to return another day to finish the job. Typically, that's why mowing would occur more than once a week.

    In regard to medians, we understand and appreciate your concern. When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged here this spring, it was at the start of our heaviest growing season, when crews would normally be launching spring maintenance efforts across the city. Instead, COVID-19 impacts quickly resulted in a drastic reduction in resources, with the loss of all seasonal and temporary employees, and major cutbacks in use of County Corrections crews. Instead of median maintenance, the Operations Grounds team was concentrated on increased disinfection and sanitation requirements, particularly for public restrooms and facilities. More recently, crews have been able to return to median and right-of-way maintenance, though with continued reduced staffing. They are working hard and steadily making progress, despite the challenges. 

    Please bear with us as we try to regain regular, consistent maintenance of our parks, medians and right-of-ways during this difficult time. If there’s an area of concern, please consider using our online form at www.cityofvancouver.us/servicerequest and provide location details and contact, so a supervisor can follow up with you if more info is needed. Thank you in advance for your understanding and support.

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    What are the plans for sidewalk repair and crosswalk implementation along 4th plain Blvd between Main st. and Kauffman? I am a runner, cyclist and I have difficulty crossing the street there with no designated crossing. I wont take my kids over there due to the risk involved.

    AmandaJay asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your question! A project to upgrade the intersection at Fourth Plain and Franklin with signals and associated roadway improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists is included in the City’s six-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), being presented to Council for public hearing and recommended adoption on June 15 . Currently, this project is on hold pending funding. Estimated cost of the project is $350,000. 

    Please note that the City is looking and will continue to look for grant opportunities to support projects such as these that improve multi-modal access/safety. Keep in mind that grant projects also typically require a local funding match from the City. 

    In regard to sidewalk repairs, in almost all cases maintenance of sidewalks is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. When a problem is reported, City staff visit the site to check conditions. If there's an issue, staff then attempts to work with the owner/owners to remedy the situation, providing info about necessary steps and permits to help. You can report sidewalk issues using the online form at www.cityofvancouver.us/servicerequest. Please be sure to provide details about the location and specific concern. For more on sidewalks, see www.cityofvancouver.us/sidewalks. #Signals #Multimodal #Sidewalks #Pedestrians #Bicyclists #FourthPlain #Transportation #Projects

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    I am looking for a house in a neighborhood that has sidewalks. I see so many that don't have them. Are there more likely areas in Vancouver where I should look? Thanks.

    BA Guitar asked 5 months ago

    Greetings! Vancouver has many great neighborhoods. To find sidewalk locations in specific neighborhoods, try our online gis mapping tool at www.cityofvancouver.us/sidewalks. Click on either the desktop or mobile option (button) at the top right to open the map webpage. Then use the tabs on the side of the map to select and zoom into specific neighborhoods.  Best wishes on finding the place of your dreams!

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    The sidewalk in front of my building is broken up and falling apart. I have been seeing people tripping on it and getting hurt. I'm concerned and wanted to know who do I contact and whose responsible? I appreciate the help.

    carachiro asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for your interest in keeping walkways safe! 

    In almost every situation, maintaining and keeping sidewalks free of obstructions is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. Sidewalk (repair) construction requires a permit and includes regulations for working in the public right of way. You can report a problem with a sidewalk using the online form at www.cityofvancouver.us/servicerequest. Be sure to provide an address and other details. Please allow additional time due to COVID-19 impacts for staff to inspect the site and follow-up with the property owner as needed.