As birthplace of the Pacific Northwest, Vancouver, Washington, is at a unique crossroads as it celebrates 150 years as an incorporated city. We are proud of our distinguished heritage and rich history but we want to be an active partner in helping shape a dynamic and prosperous future not only for our city but for our region.
In March 2007 the Vancouver City Council began a process that involved city staff as well as our entire community to update our strategic plan including our vision for Vancouver’s future. The original Strategic Plan that serves as the foundation for this update was developed in 1997 and adopted by Council in 1998 soon after the annexation of the Cascade Park area to the city, making Vancouver the 4th largest city in the state of Washington. The Plan was updated in 2000 and the celebration of our 150th birthday in 2007 was a logical time to evaluate whether the vision in the original plan was still shared by our citizens and whether the city’s priority areas of focus were the right ones to achieve that vision. The city of Vancouver has realized many significant accomplishments during the past decade, but there are new challenges and opportunities ahead.
As we met with the community, conducted surveys and focus groups and provided opportunities to receive feedback through the city’s web site we asked a series of fundamental questions. What kind of city do we want to be? What does it mean to be the 4th largest city in the state? What is our role in the larger community – the county, the region, the state, and the nation? How do we envision our future? Is the Vision created ten years ago still valid? Should it be changed? What are the most pressing issues and challenges our community will face in the next 5 to 10 years? Where should city government focus its priorities?
The result of that discussion which involved more than 2,000 individuals is that we have a new, more focused vision for the city of Vancouver built upon our core values that support our vision: active and livable neighborhoods, natural resources, economic vitality and diversity, cultural diversity, responsive government, heritage, and quality urban services. This updated Strategic Plan will help make our vision a reality by focusing on six strategic commitments that will guide City Council’s budgetary and policy decisions:
Implementation strategies will be developed through the city’s budget process and departmental business plans. Progress towards achieving these commitments will be measured and monitored by key indicators identified in the Plan. This Strategic Plan update is a dynamic roadmap to help realize our community’s future and in concert with other planning and policy documents, will provide us with the tools to achieve our community’s vision.