Q & A with candidates for mayor of Vancouver

Earl Bowerman is running against incumbent Anne McEnerny-Ogle

With the November general election quickly approaching, the Vancouver Business Journal caught up with the two candidates running for mayor of Vancouver this year, incumbent Anne McEnerny-Ogle and challenger Earl Bowerman. The general election this year is Nov. 2.


VBJ: First, what are your main reasons for seeking reelection as mayor of the city of Vancouver?

Anne McEnerny-Ogle: I want to continue working with the Council and the community on the numerous projects and programs we’ve started.

1.  Replace the I-5 Bridge

2.  Rebuild our local economy by retaining and expanding our small businesses and recruiting larger businesses

3.  Develop our community investments such as the Heights District, the Operation Center, the Waterfront Gateway, and the Fourth Plain Commons

4.  Implement our Vancouver Homeless Plan

5.  Implement the Use of Force practices and resources in the VPD.

VBJ: During your time as mayor, what are some ways you have worked to help small businesses in the Vancouver area?

McEnerny-Ogle: Our small businesses are selling goods and services to neighbors, friends and other businesses within our region. We need each one to survive.  

Prior to the pandemic, we celebrated Small Business Months and voted to award Community Development Block Grant funds to several local agencies that provided an array of business assistance services. I supported online development, assistance for permitting and designing outdoor seating areas and storefront improvements, technical assistance, market research, workshops for financial literacy and networking events. I enjoyed numerous ribbon cuttings. 

When the pandemic hit, we needed to pivot.

Construction and development businesses worked through the pandemic because they were able to send their building plans electronically and receive their permits in a timely manner. ePlans happened in May of 2019.

I met with restaurants, bars, taverns, wineries and breweries weekly at their Thursday morning Zoom meetings. Together we worked through the Governor’s guidelines and made adjustments in Vancouver. Even today, we’re refunding business license surcharge fees and employee fees until 2022 for those businesses that were heavily impacted. (The business license fee collection was temporarily suspended in April 2020).  In addition, we’re continuing the Street Eats programs, along with the parklets and temporary parking signs, and waiving the application fees.

We worked with Vancouver Farmers Market to resume operations with safety measures in April 2020.

I met with business organizations, monthly, to work through the COVID issues, such as city water and sewer fee waivers and suspending on-street parking fees and enforcement activities.

The city made it illegal for landlords to evict small businesses for lack of payment and then we worked with them to distribute the federal relief funds to pay for those back rents.

VBJ: Why should people in the business community in Vancouver vote for you to remain as the city’s mayor?

McEnerny-Ogle: Vancouver is facing many serious issues. I’m an experienced leader who has been working with the business community before and through this pandemic. I have the skilled and measured leadership that’s necessary for our businesses to continue their recovery as they partner with the city.

VBJ: What is your stance on working on the homelessness issue in the Vancouver area, and how do you think the city can help businesses that are affected by the issue of homeless camps, etc.?

McEnerny-Ogle: I support the City’s new plan to address the homeless crisis and helping these individuals will help the businesses that are affected by the homeless camps across our city. The plan is moving forward with the councilors’ unanimous support for the new temporary supported encampments. We want to ensure a healthy, thriving, equitable community that supports the needs of residents and maintains the safety and security of our neighborhoods and our businesses. We are creating strategies that respond to the urgent need of everyone impacted by these challenges and the plan moves us in the right direction.

We’re moving individuals into campsites that are safe and well-maintained with camp toilets, handwashing sites, mail services and ongoing camp cleanups. We’re expanding the Talkin’ Trash program and development another similar litter/waste cleanup program to expand our capacity for increased trash collection and incorporate outreach to connect unhoused residents with services. We’re also expanding the City’s existing Homeless Assistance and Response Team (HART) to proactively engage unhoused residents with mental health services.  

In addition, we’re partnering with the Clark County Council to create affordable housing and shelter projects, including the Bertha Baugh Place shelter.  

All of our work can be seen at this link:  https://www.beheardvancouver.org/homelessness-response

VBJ: Are there any particular ballot measures/advisory votes this year that you feel particularly passionate about?

McEnerny-Ogle: First of all, I appreciate the work of the Clark County Charter Review Commissioners. Their volunteer work has delivered several strong amendments to consider. Proposed Amendment No. 1 is a good place to start.  All of our local city, school and port governments are non-partisan positions. We can collaborate on park development, road construction and homeless shelter projects without political party influence. 


VBJ: First, what are your main reasons for deciding to run for mayor of Vancouver?

Bowerman: I have both the time and the experience to give back to community, and I believe it is important to sign up and offer our services!

VBJ: Can you tell me about your business experience that stems from being the founder/president of ProduceOne, Inc.?

Bowerman: This work was an extension of my lifelong career as a faculty member in agriculture and plant sciences. It was fascinating to arrange for import and export of fruits and vegetables because there are many important factors ranging from careful transport of the produce for maximum freshness and safety to international sales. I experienced the impact of government intervention on business with unplanned inspections that could cause costly delay on delivery of thousands of pounds of fresh produce transported by ship. It is my pleasure to serve the industry (at no cost to any user) with a website that is updated daily showing wholesale market price information worldwide, with movement on virtually any commodity, with terminal market and shipping point prices.

VBJ: Why should people in the business community in Vancouver vote for you as mayor?

Bowerman: I know firsthand and appreciate the contribution of business to our community, for bringing not just economic growth and jobs, but also the rich fiber of products and services that the community enjoys. I will work to ensure that Vancouver maintains a positive and appreciative environment for our businesses. That positive environment starts with support of our entrepreneurs and those now starting to envision a future in our great city.

VBJ: What is your stance on working on the homelessness issue in the Vancouver area, and how do you think the city can help businesses that are affected by the issue of homeless camps, etc.?

Bowerman: I believe the city can best help businesses affected by the presence of encampments by eliminating the camps – not by solidifying and supporting them. The incumbent’s plan for formally sanctioned homeless camps spaced throughout Vancouver runs exactly opposite to my perspective of what most helps business as well as the homeless themselves. Let’s focus on trash mitigation and care for those with mental health and substance abuse crises to get them off the streets. Make crime illegal as we stop the catch and release policy, support police and embrace community partnerships for safe neighborhoods.  

VBJ: Are there any particular ballot measures/advisory votes this year that you feel particularly passionate about?

Bowerman: I am not supportive of additional taxation unless voted in by the people, and if the people of Clark County vote for Proposition 10, I believe that body and dash cameras for our sheriff deputies will be an enormous plus by providing video evidence to document encounters between the deputies and the public. With the same amount of passion, I stand against the proposed charter amendments.  

Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.