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June 1, 2023

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Vancouver battles in city hall contest finals

City aims for the ‘Leslie Knope Greatest City Hall Trophy’

By , Columbian Political Writer
3 Photos
Mayor Tim Leavitt delivers at the annual &quot;State of the City&quot; speech at City Hall in Vancouver on March 31, 2016.
Mayor Tim Leavitt delivers at the annual "State of the City" speech at City Hall in Vancouver on March 31, 2016. (Photo by Natalie Behring/The Columbian) (Lou Brancaccio/The Columbian.) Photo Gallery

Vancouver City Councilor Jack Burkman wants to know: Have you even seen the city hall in Peoria, Ill.?

I mean, come on.

“I’m sure they can win the contest for having the most ghosts, but it doesn’t compare to our beautiful, modern city hall,” Burkman said of the Midwest city hall, which opened in 1899.

Vancouver City Hall is in a national contest vying for the most “beautiful city hall” and the city councilors want to win.

Mayor Tim Leavitt likened the Vancouver City Hall to the Cinderella of the national city hall tournament.

“Locals knew all along we have an exceptional city hall,” he said.

But now, the rest of the world is about to find out.

The winner gets the Leslie Knope Greatest City Hall Trophy, named after Amy Poehler’s character in the television sitcom “Parks and Recreation.” And of course, they also get “extreme bragging rights,” the contest’s organizer, a governmental organization called ELGL, points out.

Vancouver City Councilor Alishia Topper, an Olympic-level athlete, is getting into the competitive spirit.

“I’m fired up about being in the championship round, the Midwest versus the Pacific Northwest,” she said. “We were just getting warmed up in the other rounds and now Vancouver is ready to bring the thunder.”

So far, Vancouver is trailing Peoria, Ill., by about 7,000 votes at the time of this writing. Vancouver defeated Little Chute, Wis., by fewer than 100 votes to get to the final round. Citizens who want to help Vancouver win can vote once a day. They can also tweet their support and use the hashtag ELGLCityHall, which counts as a vote. Posting a selfie from in front of city hall equals two votes. Voting ends at 9 p.m. March 10.

The city will host a selfie station every day this week during lunch, from noon to 1 p.m., featuring props and selfie sticks.

The city hall in Peoria, Ill., cost $271,500, according to information from ELGL. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and the building’s facade is red sandstone from Lake Superior.

Vancouver purchased the six-story, 118,000-square-foot building from Bank of America in June 2010 for $18.5 million. The building was built by Downtown Vitality Partners and sits across from Esther Short Park. The Columbian was the original anchor tenant.

Columbian Political Writer