City Manager Update: January 2024

January 9, 2024

Welcome 2024!

The new year is upon us and as we move together into 2024, I confidently welcome whatever the future may bring for our growing and thriving community. We look forward to the inspiration, the hope and the positive potential that the new year brings. It’s a fresh start, an opportunity for the City to advance its focus and work to enhance livability, equity and inclusion, innovation, sustainability and resilience, and to build community trust and relationships.  

We’ll do this with the introduction of new initiatives and by continuing our many projects already underway such as the ongoing development of our Comprehensive Plan, improving our entire public safety ecosystem, advancing climate action and addressing the homelessness crisis. I’d like to update you on a couple of those fronts: 

Public safety update

New Police Community Advisory Committee  

The first week of January, we began inviting community members to apply for a position on the City’s newly formed Police Community Advisory Committee. This committee will play a crucial role in advising my office on issues related to police services in Vancouver.  

Launching this new committee builds on past work to involve our community members in helping identify priorities, gaps and needs for the Vancouver Police Department in the context of the entire public safety ecosystem. Given the growing demand for services, there is a sense of urgency around defining best practices to do that. Committee members will also assist in directing potential future investments in police services and identifying meaningful outcomes and impacts for the community. 

The Police Community Advisory Committee is the latest of the City’s recent efforts to improve police services. Since 2019, the department has implemented 84 recommendations identified by the Police Executive Research Forum to help improve Vancouver Police Department (VPD) culture, policies and practices around use of force. These improvements include implementing a body camera and vehicle camera program in 2023.  

I strongly encourage people from all neighborhoods, backgrounds and experiences to apply. We are particularly interested in including the voices of those who have experienced crime or been involved with the criminal justice system. Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Jan. 30.   

Visit to apply and learn more. 

Homeless emergency update

Last November, I declared a homeless emergency in Vancouver to help expand and expedite our response to the growth in complexity and magnitude of this crisis. The declaration allows me to immediately issue emergency orders that streamline typical public processes and other decision-making protocols.  

Monday, Jan. 8, staff provided City Council with the second monthly situation report on the City’s emergency declaration on homelessness. During the first 60 days of the declared emergency, the City focused on activities that set a strong foundation for future actions. Key accomplishments to date include: 

Homeless Assistance and Resources Team (HART) activities 

  • HART conducted clean-ups throughout the Burnt Bridge Creek trail system, including along the Ellen Davis Trail, Discovery Trail, Arnold Park and in Leverich Park. These clean-ups resulted in multiple referrals into Safe Stay Community 4, as some of those areas fall within the no-camping buffer for that site.  
  • Additional cleanups conducted along Mill Plain soundwall, W. 16th, and the blocks around Share House (W. 13th – W. 11th & Lincoln – Jefferson) 
  • HART is participating in Point in Time (PIT) Count planning for the Jan. 25 PIT Count. In preparation for annual count, all local jurisdictions halt encampment removals a week or two prior, so as to not move people around right before the count and lose track of them.  

Safe Park/Stay Safe Communities

  • The City’s fourth Safe Stay Community opened on Dec. 18, 2023 at 4611 Main Street. This site is being operated by Do Good Multnomah
  • Shower/restroom facilities were added to Safe Stay Communities 1 & 2 and the Safe Park site.  
  • Thrive 2 Survive began operating the Safe Park site on Jan. 1 and changed the name of the community to Road 2 Home.

Community Court

  • City staff continue to work with community partners to identify a new location for the Community Court program.  
  • The Community Court program team presented to the Clark County Law and Justice Council on Dec. 8, 2023. Some takeaways from that presentation:  
    • Five individuals have accessed detox and/or inpatient treatment without being mandated to do so; 
    • 52% of Community Court graduates have obtained shelter and/or housing through participation in the program. 
    • Seven participants are housed (six of those graduated from Community Court); 
    • 15 participants are in shelter (eight of those graduated from Community Court).  

Community Response Teams (CRTs)

  • Through November 2023: Columbia River Mental Health’s Fourth Plain CRT screened 40 calls. 20 of these calls resulted in an in-person response with a resolution.
  • Dec. 1-22, 2023: 22 calls screened, 17 resulted in an in-person response with resolution.
  • Fourth Plain CRT spoke with more than 100 businesses in the corridor about the team and the work they can perform. 

Property closures

Under Emergency Order 2023-003, three publicly owned properties have been closed to outdoor habitation. The list of properties can be found on the City’s Homelessness Emergency Declaration webpage.

Homelessness is a complex issue that requires a thoughtful and comprehensive approach. While not all actions we take need the emergency declaration, it gives us the agility we need to take action quickly as we continue to develop effective, outreach-led, enforcement-backed solutions.