For many years now, Vancouver has served as an example of a well-run city. That, of course, is a matter of opinion, but there is much evidence to support the assertion. City officials effectively weathered the Great Recession; they have poised the area for expansive growth; and they have imbued the state’s fourth-largest city with a vibrancy buoyed by a forward-thinking vision.
The trick now is to maintain that momentum as a growing economy and a growing population promise vast changes in the near future. With five candidates running for mayor in a nonpartisan race, two stand out for their vision of the Vancouver to come: Anne McEnerny-Ogle and Greg Henderson. The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends that McEnerny-Ogle and Henderson advance out of the Aug. 1 primary, which will narrow the field to two candidates for the November general election.
As always, this is merely a recommendation. The Columbian encourages voters to examine the candidates and the issues and to cast an informed ballot. With that in mind, we also must mention Adam Hamide as a well-informed candidate, but one whose strengths are not quite as powerful as McEnerny-Ogle or Henderson.
McEnerny-Ogle, in particular, has excellent credentials to replace Tim Leavitt, who is not seeking re-election after two terms as mayor. She has served on the city council since 2014 and, as mayor pro tem, performs the duties of mayor on a fill-in basis.
That, however, grossly understates her contributions to the city. Long before running for public office, McEnerny-Ogle was deeply involved in her community. She has served on the city’s planning commission, has been president of the Clark County Historical Society, has been on the advisory panel of Daybreak Youth Services, has chaired the Vancouver Neighborhood Alliance, has volunteered with Neighbors on Watch … the list goes on. McEnerny-Ogle’s role as a civic leader has given her a deep understanding of Vancouver’s citizens as well as the issues facing the city.
Henderson also has a strong vision for Vancouver, focusing primarily upon affordable housing and a growing opioid epidemic. He is a strong supporter of public transit, but says he would advocate for light rail in Vancouver only if it is approved by voters. He opposes a proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver and the notion of the city being an oil town, saying, “We can attract the right kind of businesses if we keep the wrong kind of businesses out.”
Hamide, owner of Main Street Marijuana, criticizes a bureaucracy that he says hampers business development, and believes that transportation solutions should focus upon improved streets and increased parking availability. He also opposes the oil terminal, an issue that is beyond the purview of city leaders but speaks to a candidate’s vision for the city.
Two other candidates also are on the ballot. Steven Cox, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Republican precinct committee officer, says the city spends too much money on the homeless and claims that an affordable housing measure passed by voters last year was based upon fraudulent statistics. That claim would carry more weight if Cox had raised the issue in a timely fashion rather than waiting until eight months after the vote. John Carroll also is on the ballot but is not running an active campaign.
The Columbian’s Editorial Board believes there are three viable candidates for mayor and recommends a vote for either Anne McEnerny-Ogle or Greg Henderson. But, again, that is merely a recommendation.