In case you missed it, here are a few notable news items from last week!
Saturday, Oct. 3
Construction-related water main break floods FVRL operations center
A contractor working on the new Vancouver Innovation, Technology and Arts Elementary School damaged an 18-inch water main in Vancouver on Saturday. The break released 1.4 million gallons of water, flooding the Fort Vancouver Regional Library operations center with over two feet of water, and flooding the surrounding area on Mill Plain Boulevard. The damage was extensive to the areas where staff processes books for the collection, prepares mail, stores equipment and tools, and parks a fleet of vehicles. Restoration is ongoing and delays to services are to be expected.
Monday, Oct. 5
Coronavirus cases return to high levels delaying school reopening
As of Monday, Oct. 5, Clark County Public Health reported that the county was up to 95.6 cases per 100,000 people, well into the high-risk range under the schools reopening guidance. Several area schools had begun to issue reopening orientation and start dates, including Battle Ground Public Schools, but have since shelved plans until the numbers move back into the moderate range, which is under 75 cases per 100,000.
Tuesday, Oct. 6
Vancouver city manager submits budget
Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes has submitted the 2021-2022 recommended budget to city council. The $1.3 billion two-year budget is balanced, closing a $4 million annual gap resulting from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A series of four workshops with Vancouver City Council will provide highlights of the operating and capital budgets. The first one took place on Oct. 5, 2020. City council will then review and vote on the budget at a regular meeting and hold a separate public hearing in November.
The recommended budget continues to fund all core city services at existing levels, and recommends increases in the programs of the highest importance to our community in support of the following framework: assuring a firm foundation; implementing current initiatives; advancing key strategic projects and programs; and planning for A Stronger Vancouver.
Highlights from the recommended budget include:
- Reduction of costs by freezing 20 existing positions, most of them vacant, for two years. Almost every city department will be impacted.
- Addition of two positions in the City Manager’s Office: a Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to champion and coordinate internal and external efforts to promote social equity and justice causes, and a new Assistant City Manager position to augment strategic city management resources, improve organizational resilience, and focus on succession planning.
- Continued investment in expansion of affordable housing in Vancouver by recommending adding a new funding source – Sales Tax for Affordable Housing – that will build additional housing units and provide critical services for some of the most disadvantaged members of our community.
- Advance key strategic projects that will play a transformative role in Vancouver’s evolution, including developing a Waterfront Gateway Master Redevelopment Plan, continued implementation of The Heights District Plan, updating the City’s Transportation System Plan, and building several Complete Streets projects.
- Building on the A Stronger Vancouver initiative aimed at establishing a long-term strategy for stable, sustainable, and resilient funding approach that assures Vancouver can grow to become a safer, welcoming, vibrant, and prosperous city.
More budget highlights and access to the entire 2021-2022 recommended budget document are available at www.cityofvancouver.us/budget.
Thursday Oct. 8
Vancouver Clinic announces new clinic opening
On Tuesday, October 20, Vancouver Clinic will open a brand new clinic at 4500 S.E. Columbia Palisades Drive in Camas. The two-story, 26,400-square-foot clinic will offer internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, urgent care, ophthalmology and a vision center. This location will make clinic number 10 and the Vancouver Clinic’s sixth with a dedicated urgent care. Despite the pandemic, the project by Day CPM, ZGF Architects and Andersen Construction is finishing ahead of schedule and below budget. Special thanks to the work of our incredible project team, including.
Friday, Oct. 9
Clark Public Health launches new school-related COVID-19 webpage
Clark County Public Health launched a new webpage to provide the public with information about COVID-19 cases in local public and private K-12 schools.
Health officials say they have identified potential exposures in local public and private schools since the new year began. But so far transmission of the virus in schools has been minimal. Most public schools are meeting virtually, with some in-person learning in small groups for the kids with highest needs.
The page will provide information about cases who were on the school campus while potentially contagious or who were likely exposed to the virus at school. For each school with a COVID-19 case, the following information will be provided:
•The date of the positive lab result.
•Whether the case is a student or staff member.
•Whether the case was likely exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 at school.
The webpage will be updated every Thursday.
Liberty Theatre reopens in CamasThe Liberty Theatre in Camas re-opens on Friday at 25% capacity with COVID-19 safeguards in place. The theater is showing the classics, Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back and the classic Oregon-made Goonies. The Liberty is limited to 75 guests per showing, and tickets are available online at www.camasliberty.com. Guests are encouraged to buy tickets in advance and reserve their seats to speed up the box office line. COVID-19 restriction can be read at https://www.camasliberty.com/page/14740/Covid-19-Message.