The city of Washougal has its first-ever sister city.
Washougal Mayor David Stuebe, Councilor David Fritz, and City Manager David Scott and his wife, Julie, visited Zielonki, Poland, from June 13-21 to finalize and celebrate the recent pact.
“It was a great trip,” Scott said during the July 24 city council meeting. “They were great hosts. It’s a great community. I was very impressed with the community and what they’ve accomplished there. I think there are some things that we can learn from them, and hopefully, there’s some things they can learn from us.”
The Washougal delegates, accompanied by Zielonki Mayor Boguslaw Król and other city leaders, visited a variety of locations, including schools, housing estates, recreation centers, and municipality facilities and infrastructure. Zielonki — technically a village and municipal center, not a city — has a population of approximately 23,700 and borders the regional capital of Kraków in south-central Poland.
“It’s just a beautiful place,” Scott said. “Zielonki means ‘green,’ and it’s green like Washougal. There’s beautiful countryside.”
As sister cities, both local governments pledged to exchange information in the fields of economic, social, cultural, environmental, professional and technical matters, among others, and to promote effective cooperation among the residents of both places.
Zielonki representatives presented the Washougal delegates with a corset, embroidered in the “traditional Zielonki style, made of velvet, embroidered with shaded flat stitching and decorated with haberdashery ribbons, beads and sequins indicating the wealth of the inhabitants of the countryside near Krakow,” Scott said.
“The embroidery on Zielonki corsets uses rich floral patterns where a blooming rose surrounded by field and garden flowers and stalks of grain is central. You can see that in the design,” Scott said, showing the corset to council members.
The Washougal delegates gifted Zielonki leaders with a blanket from Pendleton Woolen Mills.
“(City community engagement manager) Rose (Jewell) had our logo and the Zielonki logo embroidered onto the blanket,” Scott said, “so hopefully they’ll be able to hang it up in their municipal facilities.”
Stuebe said the trip was an “epic experience.”
“It’s been great to learn their ideas and experience hospitality,” he said during a council workshop in June. “I’m so impressed how far they’ve come in 30 years since they got away from communism, and really impressed with what they had over there — their schools, their fire department, how they solved a lot of their issues. I really think this is going to be a great opportunity for us with that program.”
The city of Washougal will formally invite Zielonki delegates to visit Washougal this fall, most likely in October to coincide with the Harvest Day festival, according to Scott.
“It’s pretty exciting that we’ll be able to host some representatives from our sister city,” he said.