Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Apptd Council 4/2/07, elected '07, '09, '13.
Mayor Pro Tem (3x)
Committees: Finance, Public Works, Community Devel, Code & Policy, Wellness, CW Rec Center.
Liaisons: PortCW, Washougal SD, C-W Econ Devel Assoc, Washougal Downtown Assoc.
Regional Transportation Council.
Clark Mosquito Control Bd
First and foremost, how do we pay for it?
Water, Waste Water, Storm Water, Streets, Parks ... it's all bleeding expensive.
Existing systems are aging & need upgrades & replacements (We are replacing our WWII Surplus steel water pipe as fast as we can.) And State & Federal requirements become ever more expensive (We are just finishing a roughly $17 million Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrade -- The treated Waste Water we now pump into the Columbia is cleaner than river water itself.)
Many new homes are coming to the NW of the City that will need infrastructure; State law does not permit us to recover full costs of new infrastructure for new development from the developers.
Ultimately, we hope to shift some burden off residents, by developing businesses and mid- to upper middle income condos & apartments in the Downtown Core & the PortCW Waterfront. That will require millions of investment in new streets, and other infrastructure.
Grants help, Impact Fees help. But ???
Frankly, for the hardcore homeless, Washougal is on the fringe. The real solution will be created in Vancouver.
People talk about "Housing First" as if all it took was housing.
Utah is the model for Housing First success, BUT when Utah built housing, they also built, health services, mental health & counseling services, vocational training, & child care support in with the housing, to break people out of chronic homelessness.
The City does provide the East County Resource Center, which provides some direct services, but for the homeless, often the most they can provide is referral to Clark County, or other resources. To get there from Washougal without a car, takes at least 3 different buses, each way -- a nearly impossible task.
That said we do provide some emergency utility payments, which potentially keep a family in their home.
We know that preventing homelessness is much less expensive, than curing chronic homelessness for people
I am 71 myself.
State law permits some property tax relief, but The City can't go beyond what the State provides.
Our zoning code is reasonably friendly to Senior Care Facilities.
At a cost of about a half a million dollars, the Community Center, & its kitchen, were remodeled & brought up to health code so it could be the center in East County for Meals On Wheels.
The Community Center also serves as a Senior Center, and as the host for Refuel Friday, which provides a free meal for anyone. The City seeds Refuel Friday with a few thousand dollars each year, and provides some staff support. (I've volunteered at Refuel several times, and many of the people served are seniors.)
I puzzle constantly - Aging in Place - How do we do that?
I can't imagine being able to live in Washougal without a car. How do we fix that? That seems key. Maybe self-driving cars fixes that, but it's 10 years away.
I admit, I'm stumped.
These are important issues, no doubt; but, at least at the moment, are not an issue in Washougal.
The City does require standard proof from contractors that labor is provided by legal residents, and that wage and tax standards are met, but beyond that legal and illegal immigration issues have not had significant impacts on the scale or scope of City business, including law enforcement.
We need to replace our expired, Fire and EMS levy. If we don't the costs will be dire indeed.
Our Police Department is stretched too thin. We are having to prioritize even emergency calls. We need at least 2 more officers, and probably one or two "techs."
Code enforcement is stretched too thin. We are entirely complaint-driven and we can't handle all the complaints; we certainly can't go out looking for violations. We need at least another half-time officer.
Infrastructure funding -- see above.
I see too many youngsters playing in the streets; we need to have neighborhood parks. On an acres per person basis, we have lots of parks. On a how-far-do-you-have-to-walk basis, we are woefully lacking.
Community surveys say the people want Recreation Center(s?) -- especially a swimming pool.
1) Fire & EMS Levy, far and away.
2) At least 1 additional Police officer.
3) More code enforcement support. Maybe one person can do split Code Enforcement & Police Tech.
4) Infrastructure funding.
7) More neighborhood parks.
20) Swimming Pool
The Council is the Legislative Branch.
The Mayor is the Executive Branch.
There will always be some head butting between the two, but neither can be effective without the support of the other.
We are each Trustees, Fiduciaries, for our City, and while we may disagree in detail, in that principal we are in agreement; we each strive for a better Washougal.
My personal motto is ".. to pass on to those who follow, not only not less, but greater than was given to me." As long as I keep that directly in front of me, we will work together toward a better future.