What’s Up With That? Which jurisdiction should you call about potholes?

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian Arts & Features Reporter



I’ve been reporting the potholes at the intersection of Southeast 164th Avenue and Mill Plain Boulevard for months now using the Clark County online forms. The holes are so big someone is bound to break an axle on them and still they are there. What does it take for this state to do even basic maintenance?

You’ve raised more questions than you may realize, Grant. Your complaint mentions both Clark County and “this state.” But neither of those jurisdictions have anything to do with fixing a pothole at the corner of 164th and Mill Plain, which is inside the city of Vancouver.

Confusion over Vancouver’s boundary is quite common. Most of the unincorporated urban area outside the city carries a “Vancouver, WA” mailing address. Many thousands of people who don’t live in Vancouver, technically speaking, get daily reassurance from the U.S. Postal Service that they really do.

“This is such a common question,” Vancouver public works spokeswoman Loretta Callahan said, that when the city redesigned its website, it included a “Do I live in Vancouver or don’t I?” page. Take a look at: www.cityofvancouver.us/ourcity/page/do-you-live-city-vancouver.

In this case, though, it shouldn’t really matter. Public works officials with Vancouver and Clark County assured us that their teams have “close ties. Whenever we get an online road maintenance request that isn’t in our jurisdiction, we forward it. Our customer service representatives know each other, so it’s relatively easy to pass on a service request,” said Jeff Mize, county public works spokesman.

As for potholes themselves, Vancouver wants you to report them — and other public works problems — to www.cityofvancouver.us/servicerequest. Or call 360-487-8177.

Clark County wants you to report problems like potholes in it’s jurisdiction to www.clark.wa.gov/publicworks/roads/report.html. Or call 360-397-2446.

Best of all, Grant: According to Callahan, the city should already have placed an asphalt “cap” over the surface of that heavily traveled and highly holed intersection you’re talking about. That’s in advance of “microsurfacing” Mill Plain all the way from Southeast 136th Avenue to 172nd Avenue this summer.

If you’ve still got problems, you now know precisely whom to tell.

Got a question about your neighborhood? We’ll get it answered. Send “What’s Up With That?” questions to neighbors@columbian.com.