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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Vancouver’s State of the City address returns in person

Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle focused on community input for comp plan

By Carlos Fuentes, Columbian staff writer
Published: March 28, 2023, 9:41am
13 Photos
State of the City attendees listen to Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle's opening remarks at Firstenburg Community Center on Monday, March 27, 2023. Participants were invited to discuss big picture questions that will help shape the City’s long-term vision for the community.
State of the City attendees listen to Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle's opening remarks at Firstenburg Community Center on Monday, March 27, 2023. Participants were invited to discuss big picture questions that will help shape the City’s long-term vision for the community. (Elayna Yussen for The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle gave her first in-person State of the City address in four years Monday night at the Firstenburg Community Center — and the community showed up, with reservations filling up days in advance.

“It’s been four years,” McEnerny-Ogle said in the packed hall. “Lots of things have happened in those four years, and it’s great to see you here.”

In her speech, McEnerny-Ogle applauded the city’s biggest achievements in the last year, including the 2022 Climate Action Framework and the recently passed affordable housing levy, which is set to raise $10 million annually for the next 10 years for low-income housing assistance.

McEnerny-Ogle commended city staff and council for their work through the COVID-19 pandemic, referring to the renovations of two neighborhood playgrounds and various development projects, including the Vancouver Innovation Center.

“When the council makes decisions, we’re not making it for the next year or for the next five years, we’re making it for the next generation because we truly are in the forever business,” McEnerny-Ogle said.

An accompanying video highlighted the city’s biggest achievements in 2022, including the opening of Fire Station 11 — the first new Vancouver fire station in 12 years — the appointment of  Police Chief Jeff Mori, the rollout of police officer body cameras, and the city’s inaugural Pride flag display and official proclamation of Juneteenth as a city holiday.

This year, the city shortened the mayor’s speech and combined the event with the first city council community forum of the year.

During the forum, city staff at each table facilitated conversations with community members about their vision for Vancouver’s Comprehensive Plan, which is in the early stages of being updated.

“It was very informative,” said Sarah Toland, a Vancouver resident at the event. “It was a good opportunity to engage face to face with local government, and I thought it was inspirational that the community’s input was so highly regarded as to take up the majority of the time.”

City council members and the mayor joined various tables, where residents discussed their hopes for their neighborhoods and their opinions on the comprehensive plan.

“It’s nice to understand what some of the planning is,” said Pat Hildebrand, a Vancouver resident who said her table’s discussion focused on senior housing and community services. “It seems like everyone is listening and they’ve been very thoughtful . . . It was kind of nice to actually meet some people that we voted for.”

The city also released the 2022 Annual Report at the event, with updates on the city’s budget and accomplishments in the last year.

The State of the City address can be viewed at CVTV.org.

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Columbian staff writer