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Build and maintain exceptional public places and spaces

2023 accomplishments

As our City grows, we’re prioritizing keeping our robust inventory of community spaces, such as parks, roads and community centers, in great condition and developing new spaces and places across the city to improve quality of life for everyone who lives, works and plays here.

Welcoming a new era of inclusive, accessible play

Accessible playgrounds

Celebrated the opening of new, fully accessible playgrounds at Esther Short Community Park, 605 Esther St., and Marshall Community Park, 1015 E. McLoughlin Boulevard. We partnered with the non-profit Harper’s Playground to transform both playgrounds into spaces where people of all ages and abilities can thrive.   

The Chelsea Anderson Memorial Play Station (CHAMPS) at Marshall Park is Southwest Washington’s largest inclusive playground and features a zero-entry teeter-totter, sand play area, wheel play area, wheelchair swing, sensory garden and an interactive art piece made from a real fire truck, water pump and upcycled fire hydrants.  

The Esther Short playground features a double slide and play hill, boulder scramble, climbing dome, zero-entry merry-go-all, swings, Roxall see-saw, music garden, increased seating and more. 

Oakbrook Community Park

Approved a master plan design for Oakbrook Park, 3103 N.E. 99th Avenue. This centrally located park is poised for a complete makeover, including a new wetlands-themed play area, four new pickleball courts, a Portland Loo restroom, habitat restoration, a picnic shelter and more. Construction will begin in 2024.

Raymond E. Shaffer Community Park

Completed a master plan design for Raymond E. Shaffer Community Park, N.E. 58th Street and N.E. 76th Avenue. Previously undeveloped, Shaffer Park is in a recently annexed portion of the city and serves residents in the Walnut Grove Neighborhood. The first phase of construction will begin in 2025 and focuses on enhancing the site’s natural beauty with improved trails, new accessible paths, a forest play area, a fenced off-leash dog park, a paved picnic area and street and safety improvements.

Fruit Valley Park

Gathered feedback from neighbors to design a new, fully accessible playground at Fruit Valley Park, 3200 Fruit Valley Road. The new playground is set to open in 2025 and was made possible in part by a $1 million donation from the Kuni Foundation in honor of community leader and mother, Elizabeth Austin. 

Increasing Vancouver’s supply of affordable homes

Affordable housing levy

Voters approved Proposition 3 in the February special election, providing continued funding for the City’s Affordable Housing Fund at increased levels over the next 10 years. The fund is projected to assist 2,500 households with rent assistance and housing services, help 150 households with home ownership, preserve or construct 2,400 affordable units and support 550 shelter beds with this levy.

Housing investments

  • Awarded more than $10.5 million in local and federal funding to support affordable housing, public services, business assistance and community facilities.
  • Supported construction of 76 new housing units, 17 reserved for tenants earning less than 50% of the area median income.
  • Preserved 49 existing housing units, including 17 reserved for people earning less than 50% of the area median income, to maintain livability and guarantee affordability for the next 20 years.

Affordable development incentives

Adopted several changes to the Multifamily Tax Exemption Program (MFTE) to help incentivize more affordable housing and multi-family development in more areas of the city. This program provided limited-term tax exemptions to 10 new private development projects to open 1,607 new housing units (74 of which are income-restricted). These MFTE developers will also contribute more than $5.3 million towards future affordable housing developments.

Supporting new development and enhanced livability

Waterfront Gateway

Awarded a development contract for the City’s Waterfront Gateway Project, an exciting 6.4-acre mixed-use development that will connect Vancouver’s historic downtown core with the waterfront, including shopping, dining, 2.5 acres of outdoor space for events and leisure, housing for all income levels, opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses and ample parking. Community outreach to develop and design the project’s public plaza started in 2023, the plaza design will feature public art and meet TreeCAP Silver Leaf Certification for tree planting.

Culture, arts, heritage grants

Awarded $92,000 in culture, arts and heritage grants to 15 projects from 12 organizations to celebrate and uplift the best of Vancouver’s creative community. Funded projects included concerts, plays, dance education, public art bike tours and community murals with the Vancouver Housing Authority and Vancouver’s Downtown Association. Special events receiving grant funding included Vancouver Ballet Folklórico’s annual Día de Muertos celebration and the Ke Kukui Foundation’s Great River Arts Festival.  

Pavement management

Installed 127 new ADA curb ramps, resurfaced five miles of poor-condition streets and completed 16 miles of pavement preservation treatments across 20 Vancouver neighborhoods as part of our summer pavement management program to keep good streets in good shape for the long haul. 

Special events

Supported increased demand for special events, including sponsorship and permitting of Vancouver’s first Vancouver USA Arts & Music Festival, a free, three-day showcase of music, art, dance and food at locations throughout downtown presented by the Vancouver Symphony.

Brownfield assessments

Completed 15 brownfield site assessments on properties that were vacant or underutilized due to environmental contamination so property owners can safely redevelop these areas as public spaces, community amenities, housing or businesses.

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