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News Releases
City Attorney's Office to pilot equity-based changes to its prosecution practices - 12/31/20

Vancouver, Washington – Beginning January 2021, the Vancouver City Attorney’s Office will make equity-based changes to the way it prosecutes the crime of driving while license suspended in the third degree (DWS-III) as part of a year-long pilot program.

DWS-III charges often arise due to a driver’s failure to pay fines from a traffic ticket. Trends increasingly suggest DWS-III charges cause disproportionate impacts to Black, Indigenous and people of color within the community, as well as those who are of low or moderate financial means.

“The Vancouver City Attorney’s Office is committed to advancing our understanding of who is, and is not, benefitting from the institutions our society has created,” said City Attorney Jonathan Young, “Where possible, we seek opportunities to lawfully balance and repair inequities that exist in our systems.”

The 2021 DWS-III pilot program will bring two important changes to the City Attorney’s Office’s prosecution practices:

  1. Individuals charged with DWS-III who meet certain requirements will have the opportunity to participate in a pre-citation diversion program designed to educate and empower unlicensed drivers to get their license back. If completed, no charges will be filed.
  2. Where appropriate, prosecution standards for those who do not choose to participate in the pre-citation diversion program will call for the use of civil tickets, rather than criminal charges.

These changes are particularly significant as DWS-III cases account for a quarter of all criminal cases filed by the city.

After one year, the City Attorney’s Office will review the results of the pilot program and decide if further changes are needed or if the changes will be made permanent.

For more information on this change, read a more detailed fact sheet here.

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Vancouver Fire Department reminds residents about fireworks ban - 12/29/20

Vancouver, Washington—With New Year’s Eve approaching, Vancouver Fire Chief Brennan Blue and Fire Marshal Heidi Scarpelli would like to remind residents that it is illegal to use, possess or sell fireworks of any kind within the Vancouver city limits.

The city’s ban on fireworks includes Class C “safe and sane” fireworks like sparklers, fountains, ground-spinning fireworks and smokeballs. It is also illegal to buy fireworks elsewhere and then transport them into the city.

Residents can report illegal use of fireworks within the city by calling the non-emergency line at 3-1-1 or 360-693-3111. Violation of the law can result in fines of $500 or more. Not sure if you’re within the Vancouver city limits? Visit www.cityofvancouver.us/citylimitsmaps to find out.

"Public safety agencies spend an extraordinary amount of resources responding to fireworks-related incidents, which can have a negative effect on the response time for other life-threatening emergency calls for service," said Scarpelli.

Every year, people are seriously injured, property is damaged, and the risk of fires increases due to the illegal use of fireworks. According to a Consumer Product Safety Commission report, fireworks were involved in an estimated 10,000 injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2019. Children younger than age 15 accounted for 36% of those injuries and nearly half were people under age 20.

Fireworks laws vary throughout Clark County, depending on what city you live in and whether you live north or south of Northeast 219th Street in the unincorporated areas of the county. Please contact the appropriate jurisdiction to learn more about its fireworks laws.

For more information about Vancouver’s fireworks law, visit www.cityofvancouver.us/fireworks.

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City of Vancouver, Clark County Public Health announce plans for COVID-19 testing site - 12/22/20

Vancouver, Washington – The City of Vancouver, Clark County Public Health and Clark Regional Emergency Services Agencies (CRESA) have partnered with Washington State Department of Health and the non-profit organization Health Commons Project to open a no-barrier COVID-19 rapid testing site. The site is expected to open early January 2021 in the Tower Mall parking lot (5411 E. Mill Plain Blvd.) and operate for several months. 

The Tower Mall site was selected due to its centralized location and proximity to multiple bus lines. It will operate using a model that has been successfully deployed in other communities throughout the state, returning test results within 36 to 48 hours. 

The schedule is still being finalized, but the site will operate multiple days per week. Anticipated operating hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Testing will be free for everyone, regardless of income level, immigration status or insurance coverage. No one will receive a bill for testing. However, those who do have health insurance will be asked to provide that information so their insurance can be billed.

City of Vancouver will maintain day-to-day management and operation of the site. City staff working at the testing site will wear appropriate personal protective equipment and follow physical distancing requirements. Visitors to the site will be asked to wear face coverings. Clark County Public Health will oversee training on proper test administration and provide all necessary health and safety protocols. Site and staffing costs are primarily covered by the Washington State Department of Health. 

COVID-19 testing at Tower Mall will use a self-administered oral saliva PCR test. Staff will have minimal interaction with visitors to the site. Individuals seeking testing will be handed a swab and asked to rub the swab on the inside of their cheeks. The site will offer drive-thru and walk-up testing. Those using the drive-thru service will remain in their vehicles. The walk-up area will have signs to ensure physical distancing. Advanced registration will be encouraged, but drop-in testing will also be available. 

“Testing is an important strategy for slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “We can reduce the amount of virus spreading from one person to another by quickly identifying and isolating COVID-19 cases and notifying their close contacts to quarantine.”

“We are committed to getting the Tower Mall COVID-19 testing site up and running quickly,” said Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes. “Increased access to testing is a key factor in slowing the spread of coronavirus in our community. I’m grateful for this coalition of local and statewide partners who are making it possible for us to safely and efficiently provide this valuable service in Vancouver.”

Staff training and site preparation have already begun. Both the city and Clark County Public Health intend to collaborate with community partners in the coming weeks to ensure the success of this project. Additional information about the Tower Mall COVID-19 testing site will be available to the public in early January. 

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Mayor McEnerny-Ogle appointed to Washington State Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board - 12/21/20

Vancouver, Washington – Governor Jay Inslee recently appointed City of Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle to serve a four-year term on the Washington State Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board.

The 12-member board, appointed by the Governor, is responsible for creating a comprehensive and coordinated state program to facilitate freight movement between local, national and international markets. The board is also responsible for finding solutions that lessen the impact of freight movement on local communities.

“Transportation is critical to both residents and businesses in creating a livable and prosperous communities, and I look forward to serving as a representative of Vancouver and all Washington cities on this board” said Mayor McEnerny-Ogle.

Mayor McEnerny-Ogle fills a vacant position on the board held by a city representative and will attend her first meeting virtually on Jan. 15, 2021.

The Mayor has a passion for transportation and currently serves on several local and regional transportation groups, including as past-chair of the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council, chair for the C-TRAN Board of Directors, and as a member of the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project Executive Steering Group and Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation. 

Learn more about the Washington State Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board at fmsib.wa.gov.  

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Vancouver Public Works crew and equipment respond during severe winter weather
Vancouver Public Works crew and equipment respond during severe winter weather
Winter is here! Vancouver Public Works crew and equipment are ready - 12/21/20

Vancouver, Wash. – Winter is here, ushering in the season for potential heavy rain, high winds, frigid temperatures, ice and snow. Should severe weather threaten, Vancouver Public Works employees, plows, deicers, trucks and other equipment are ready to help keep our community safe and accessible.

With more than 1,900 lane miles of paved streets in the city, Public Works crew and equipment are strategically deployed in zones throughout the community in order to efficiently maximize the response to snow, sleet and icy winter conditions, using the equipment and crews available. City crew also make their own deicing solution at mixing stations in both west and east Vancouver, and supplies are currently fully stocked.

Timing, coordination and preparation are a critical part of the City’s winter weather response. Before snow falls or ice begins to form, Vancouver Public Works will be monitoring forecasts and local conditions, ready to start treating critical overpasses, intersections and hills with deicer to help reduce potential icy conditions from forming.

During severe storms and emergencies, City crew work 24/7 to keep open the major streets that connect police, fire and medical services. Next in priority are other key connectors, snow bus routes, hills, and areas around schools. As always, Public Works crew members remain on-call to assist Vancouver Fire, Vancouver Police and Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) when emergency access is needed to specific sites. Public Works’ snow route map shows where snow-and-ice-fighting efforts are focused in Vancouver.

This effort to support public safety and keep critical streets passable is continuous, night and day, during severe winter weather storms. Due to these demands, limited resources, and difficulties posed by multiple driveways and parked cars, neighborhood residential streets are not plowed or deiced.

Keep Sidewalks Clear: Residents and businesses are responsible for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks next to their property, as well as driveways and private parking lots. Clearing sidewalks around homes and businesses is not just the law; it’s also the right thing to do. Those who can are encouraged to lend a helping hand to elderly or other neighbors that may need assistance with sidewalks and other services during severe weather.

Businesses and residents are also encouraged to have traction devices, snow shovels, environmentally-friendly deicer, and emergency kits stocked and ready, while supplies are available in local stores.

Updates and Information: Vancouver residents and businesses can view the City's snow route priority map, get winter weather tips for transportation, water, garbage and recycling, and more at www.cityofvancouver.us/SevereWeather. During severe weather, look for updates posted to the Public Works' Severe Weather webpage, as well as Vancouver Public Works’ Facebook page (www.facebook.com/VancouverPublicWorks), Twitter (@VanPubWorksUS), Nextdoor, and and other City of Vancouver communications channels..  

To report an urgent problem with City of Vancouver streets or utilities, please call Public Works Operations at 360-487-8177 and follow the prompts outside of regular business hours. To verify if an address is within the City of Vancouver, check here: www.cityofvancouver.us/citylimitsmap

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