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News Releases
City seeks volunteer to serve on Building and Fire Code Commission - 05/28/20

Vancouver, Washington – The City of Vancouver is seeking a volunteer interested in serving on its Building and Fire Code Commission (BFCC). Applications must be received by 5 p.m. Sunday, June 28.

The BFCC is a volunteer commission of at least five members that makes recommendations to the Vancouver City Council about changes to, or adoption of, city building and fire codes. Commission duties include:

  • Conduct public meetings as needed to complete commission business
  • Investigate building code, fire code and construction-related issues
  • Recommend construction and fire prevention regulations related to Title 16 and 17 of the Vancouver Municipal Code
  • Review all proposed new codes or changes to existing building and fire code and make recommendations to Vancouver City Council prior to its action
  • Hear and resolve disputes related to building and fire code

The BFCC is “on call” and meets as needed, with one mandatory meeting per year. The current vacancy is for a six-year, full-term position expiring in 2026.

City residency is not a requirement to serve. Preference will be given to applicants with background or experience in the building or fire development and/or construction industry. Applicants must also be available for an interview with Vancouver City Councilmembers on Wednesday, July 8, 2020.

The open position is currently held by an individual whose term is expiring and they may reapply. Per Vancouver City Council policy, all incumbents who wish to reapply for their positions will be re-interviewed along with any qualifying applicants.

To apply online, visit www.cityofvancouver.us/boards. To request an application or for more information, contact Shannon Ripp in the City Manager’s Office at P.O. Box 1955, Vancouver, WA 98668-1995, c_coordinator@cityofvancouver.us">bc_coordinator@cityofvancouver.us or 360-487-8600.

For more information about the city’s Building and Fire Code Commission, including past meeting’s agenda and minutes, please visit www.cityofvancouver.us/bfc .

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City seeks volunteers to serve on Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission - 05/27/20

Vancouver, Washington – The City of Vancouver is seeking local parks and recreation enthusiasts to fill three vacancies on its Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission (PRAC). The deadline to apply for these positions is 5 p.m., Friday, June 26.

PRAC is a 10-member volunteer citizen’s group made up of city residents, two school district representatives and a liaison from the Parks Foundation of Clark County. The commission advises Vancouver City Council and city staff on needs, plans and programs necessary to provide an adequate system of parks, open space, playgrounds, facilities and recreation services to the residents of Vancouver.

Commissioners serve three-year terms and meet from 3 to 5 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month at Vancouver City Hall, 415 W. Sixth St., as well as occasional special meetings.

In order to serve on PRAC, applicants must live within the Vancouver City limits, and be available for an interview with Vancouver City Councilmembers on Wednesday, July 8. All three positions are currently held by individuals whose terms are expiring and all of these individuals may reapply. Per Vancouver City Council policy, all incumbents who wish to reapply for their positions will be re-interviewed along with any qualifying applicants.

Applications may be submitted online at www.cityofvancouver.us/boards. For a printed application or for further information, contact the Boards and Commission Coordinator in the City Manager’s Office at P.O. Box 1995, Vancouver, WA 98668-1995, c_coordinator@cityofvancouver.us">bc_coordinator@cityofvancouver.us, or by calling 360-487-8600.

Visit www.cityofvancouver.us/prac to learn more about PRAC, including links to past meeting minutes and agendas.

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City seeks organizations to implement new small business assistance programs - 05/19/20

Vancouver, Washington – The City of Vancouver’s Community and Economic Development Department has issued a Request for Information seeking qualified organizations interested in implementing small business assistance programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Selected agencies or firms will partner with the city to provide grants, loans and technical assistance to owners of Vancouver-based small businesses that have been negatively impacted by current economic conditions and meet eligibility and income requirements. 

The city expects to launch the small business assistance programs in late June. The programs will be supported with approximately $931,834 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.

Letters of interest must be submitted to the city online no later than 3 p.m. Thursday, June 11 at www.cityofvancouver.us/cdbg.

The city will host an optional online informational session for interested organizations via Cisco Webex at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 28. During the session, city staff will review the Request for Information and answer questions. The Webex instructions will be posted at www.cityofvancouver.us/cdbg in advance of the meeting.

To get the Request for Information in another format or language, please contact Peggy Sheehan at 360-487-7952, TTY: 360-487-8602, WA Relay: 711 or by email at peggy.sheehan@cityofvancouver.us.

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Reminder: Take proactive steps to manage inactive private water systems and building plumbing - 05/14/20

Many businesses have closed to the public or have reduced staffing levels due to efforts to mitigate potential community spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) under Washington's ‘Stay Home’ order. Building and business closures that continue for weeks or months generally result in reduced water usage, which can potentially lead to stagnant water inside building plumbing.  

The City of Vancouver Water Utility recommends building owners, managers and businesses take proactive steps now to protect public and employee health by following state and federal guidelines for addressing water quality in their plumbing systems.

Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Resource Guidance provides online, detailed procedures for maintaining building water systems under low use, as well as starting up building water systems after closures and sustained low use. These procedures include, among a variety of other actions depending upon the facility, flushing the entire water system to replace all water. A helpful information guide and checklist are also available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Private property owners are responsible for the private systems and plumbing serving their facilities. Information about the City of Vancouver’s Water Utility is available at www.cityofvancouver.us/water.

For additional Public Works updates and overall City of Vancouver response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.cityofvancouver.us/coronavirus.

City of Vancouver WA Sewer Service Area
City of Vancouver WA Sewer Service Area
Vancouver joins Jacobs' Pilot Program to Monitor COVID-19 in Community Wastewater Streams (Photo) - 05/11/20

Vancouver, Wash.– The City of Vancouver is one of about 11 locations across the country participating in a scientific wastewater monitoring pilot program launched by Jacobs to better understand the extent of the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) within communities. More are expected to join in.

Groundbreaking research underway suggests that wastewater monitoring for the virus associated with COVID-19 may provide yet another valuable data set for helping to understand the trends associated with an outbreak in a community.

In Vancouver, the Jacobs’ pilot program may provide a point-in-time, big picture look at the virus concentration for the entire population served by the City’s treatment facilities, not at an individual level. It won’t take the place of the indicators already being tracked by local and state health officials, though it may provide useful information in support of those efforts.

Jacobs, the City’s operator for its Marine Park and Westside wastewater treatment facilities, recently began collecting samples from raw inflow at Vancouver’s two treatment sites. The sample is being drawn by using a simple addition to the routine sampling procedures already being done to meet regulatory requirements, following all appropriate health and safety guidelines. The added samples have been sent to Arizona State University research laboratories, where polymerase chain reaction testing will be used to identify fragments of virus-associated RNA, the ribonucleic acid that carries the virus’ genetic information.

Jacobs’ pilot program is currently expected to continue with weekly sampling for COVID-19 monitoring for about a month, or longer if needed. Under the pilot program, data from the wastewater monitoring will be shared with public health officials in the locations where this work is occurring. Any data published in scientific studies will show trends only by region, such as Pacific Northwest.

Wastewater-based epidemiology is an emerging science, and much about this new approach to monitoring the novel coronavirus at a community level is still being developed and refined. One benefit of wastewater sampling being looked at closely is its potential to also capture, in community totals, the presence of the virus in the portion of the population who may be infected but do not present symptoms.

Vancouver’s sewer service area includes all of the City of Vancouver and a portion of the surrounding unincorporated area. Under an agreement, the City’s facilities also treat a portion of wastewater from Clark Regional Wastewater District. From the far reaches of Vancouver’s collection system, it can take up to three days for wastewater to reach the treatment facilities.

Though its operations and management of wastewater facilities, Jacobs assists the City in front-line support of sustainability and public health as wastewater is treated and safely returned to the environment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), standard practices associated with wastewater treatment plant operations are designed to protect workers from bacteria and viruses, and should inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.

Jacobs, which operates almost 100 wastewater systems across North America including two facilities for the City of Vancouver, is funding the research and plans to add other monitoring locations for a total of 70 sites, in order to develop a more encompassing data set to inform critical decisions.

Resources:

Water and COVID-19 FAQs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/water.html

Jacobs Piloting Program to Monitor COVID-19 Spread in Community Wastewater Streams, Jacobs News Release, May 5, 2020: https://www.jacobs.com/newsroom/news/jacobs-piloting-program-monitor-covid-19-spread-community-wastewater-streams

Novel coronavirus detected, monitored in wastewater, Science Daily, Arizona State University, April 23, 2020: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200423144056.htm

Vancouver city manager extends duration of six emergency orders - 05/08/20

Vancouver, Washington—Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes today issued Emergency Order No. 2020-13, extending the durations of several existing orders. The order is effective immediately. It will be reviewed by Vancouver City Council at their regular meeting Monday, May 18.

Emergency Order 2020-13:

  • Extends the closure of Vancouver City Hall, the Water Resources Education Center, all fire stations and all police department lobbies to public access through June 22. Public access to non-emergency police services will still be available by appointment.
  • Extends provisions encouraging remote attendance and increased physical distancing at Vancouver City Council meetings through June 22.
  • Extends the city’s internal Temporary Telecommuting Policy for staff through May 31.
  • Extends suspension of the requirement that staff make daily financial deposits through June 22.

The full text of all City emergency orders can be viewed online at www.cityofvancouver.us/coronavirus.

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Safe Parking Zone begins search for new site - 05/05/20

Vancouver, Washington – The City of Vancouver’s Safe Parking Zone at Vancouver Mall will close on Thursday, May 7, and the city has begun looking for a new location.

The Safe Parking Zone opened in partnership with Centennial Real Estate and the Vancouver Mall. As the mall prepares to open for curbside retail pick-up as part of Washington’s first phase to reopen businesses, the Safe Parking Zone must relocate to continue operations.

The city is exploring alternate sites to house the program while state and city emergency orders are in place but no new partnership has been identified at this time. Registered participants have been notified of the change and will be contacted when a new site is secured to reenroll in the program at that time.

“We are grateful to Centennial Real Estate and the Vancouver Mall for their partnership in opening and operating the Safe Parking Zone,” said David Perlick, one of the city employees overseeing the project. “The model of service is working well and we hope to find a new site quickly so we can continue to provide a safe place for residents who are following Stay Home, Stay Healthy orders in their motor vehicles.”

The Safe Parking Zone opened April 2, offering 24 hour parking, restrooms and garbage service to registered participants. In its first month of operation, the Safe Parking Zone averaged 40 vehicles and served up to 60 participants per day. New site information will be shared as it becomes available.

More information about the Safe Parking Zone program can be found at www.cityofvancouver.us/safeparking.

For information about the City of Vancouver’s response to COVID-19, visit www.cityofvancouver.us/coronavirus.  

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Vancouver Public Works Field Staff to Resume Some On-Site Activities for Low-Risk Construction and Maintenance - 05/01/20

City of Vancouver Public Works will resume some on-site activities supporting low-risk construction activities, as well as maintenance duties for protecting community assets and continued operations, following Governor Inslee’s recent modifications to COVID-19 executive orders.

Some Public Works field staff, such as inspectors and surveyors, will be returning to street and utility construction projects that have met the requirements for restarting under statewide orders. Public Works Operations crews are resuming neighborhood street sweeping, and those street, stormwater, water and sewer maintenance activities needed to preserve public assets and meet environmental regulations.

Meanwhile, Vancouver Public Works continues its primary community health and safety focus of providing clean drinking water and safe public sewer systems, keeping streets and signals functioning properly, assisting Utility customers, and supporting public safety in emergencies.

Importantly, these activities allow for physical distancing and/or utilize protections and procedures for employee and public health and safety. Public Works’ health and safety measures include proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE), increased physical distancing, additional sanitization procedures for facilities, vehicles and equipment, and more, in keeping with local, state and federal guidelines.  

Many Public Works programs and facilities have been limited, postponed or closed as preventative measures to reduce the novel coronavirus’ impact. The City of Vancouver continues to monitor the evolving situation and respond to changes.

Here are a few of the ways Vancouver Public Works continues to serve our community:

• City of Vancouver Utility customer service representatives are available to assist those who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 impacts. Customers are urged to reach out as soon possible for help with utility bill payment arrangements. Email UtilitiesCS@cityofvancouver.us or call 360-487-7999.

• Vancouver’s tap water is safe to drink. All of Vancouver’s water comes from underground aquifers and is provided to customers through a ‘closed’ water system. The City’s water is regularly tested and meets all federal and state standards. In keeping with federal EPA and state Department of Health requirements, municipal water is treated with a trace amount of chlorine - a safe level that meets health standards for municipal water systems - as an extra precaution to guard against any potential contaminants, including viruses.More information is available here: www.cityofvancouver.us/water.

• Vancouver residents and businesses are reminded to never flush wipes, rags paper towels, and other materials, as these cause sewage backups and clogged pipes in private plumbing and the public wastewater system. Only bodily fluids/waste and toilet paper should be flushed. Read more about why these products shouldn't be flushed even if it says 'flushable' on the label.

• Vancouver Solid Waste has extended its Spring Coupon Program to July 31. The coupons have been sent to single-family residences with active Waste Connections’ accounts to assist with yard debris and tire disposal. Residents are encouraged to delay using the coupons if possible during this time. More detailed information is available at www.cityofvancouver.us/solidwaste.

• Though City offices are currently closed to the public, Urban Forestry reminds all that permits are still required for removing, planting or doing major pruning on trees along streets within the City of Vancouver. Removal of private trees could also require a permit, depending upon the site and other criteria. For more information or assistance, please visit www.cityofvancouver.us/urbanforestry or email banforestry@cityofvancouver.us">urbanforestry@cityofvancouver.us.

Vancouver Public Works’ updates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at www.vanpublicworks.org and at www.cityofvancouver.us/coronavirus.