I am appalled the city of Vancouver plans to increase the rent of Slocum House Theatre Company. It’s great that Vancouver can showcase community theater of this caliber and provide a delightful alternative to residents who’d prefer not to drive to Portland. We’re fortunate to have an excellent all-volunteer theater organization that serves as an incubator arts organization, mentoring and encouraging young actors to perform in a community setting.
I urge the city council to impose a moratorium on any rent increase until the impact can be further studied. I urge the council to schedule a public hearing to take testimony from concerned residents. Finally, if some type of rent increase is unavoidable, I urge the council to require the city to phase in the increase so this organization has time to budget and, if necessary, mount a fundraising drive.
The city deserves praise for multiple efforts to enhance Esther Short Park and the surrounding neighborhood, increasing the livability of our community at large. However, such a drastic rental increase seems incredibly shortsighted and definitely a step backwards in efforts to revitalize our downtown core. A rent increase that forces Slocum House out of their building seems to fly in the face of the many improvements this area has seen so far.