Washougal City Council sets 2024 goals

City Council hopes to work on transportation, parks, community engagement, stategic plan in new year

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Contributed photo courtesy city of Washougal U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg (left) talks with Washougal Mayor David Stuebe on Friday, July 7, in Washougal.

City of Washougal leaders are bullish on the City’s prospects for 2024 and believe that the next 12 months will be viewed in the future as the beginning of a prosperous new era.

“We are trending in the right direction,” Washougal City Councilman David Fritz told the Post-Record in September 2023. “I think this is a really exciting time to be involved with the City because the groundwork is being laid. I think in 10 years, Washougal is going to look a lot different.”

“I think we’re entering a golden period,” Washougal City Councilwoman Molly Coston told The Post-Record in September 2023. “There are some really wonderful things happening in this community, and we deserve them. We’ve worked a long time for some of these things.”

Despite ongoing financial challenges that caused City leaders to construct a “hold-the-line” budget for 2024, Washougal City Manager David Scott indicated that good things are ahead for the City.

“The City is very excited for 2024,” Scott told The Post-Record. “We will be fully engaged in beginning the implementation of our newly adopted 2023-28 strategic plan. There are several significant multi-year projects that will be under construction or at various stages of planning and design, including mandated upgrades at our wastewater treatment plant, the 32nd Street underpass, the Town Center Revitalization Project, Hamllik Park improvements and the 27th Street shared-use path. And we will be developing or launching several new programs, including enhanced community engagement, community aesthetics and economic development.”

City council members have asked Scott to focus his efforts in 2024, to help the city make gains in the following areas:


The City will select a procurement method and begin the design process for its 32nd Street underpass project in 2024.

Washington’s two Democratic senators, U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, announced in May 2023, that the City had been selected to receive a $40.5 million federal grant to fund the design and construction of the project.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited Washougal in July 2023, to tout the project, which he said will reconnect the community, improve safety, help freight move more efficiently and ensure first responders can get to those in need.

“This underpass will have dedicated, separated lanes for biking, driving and walking,” Buttigieg said during the July 7 press conference at the Port of Camas-Washougal, near the project site. “It’s going to make the possibility of a collision with a vehicle or pedestrians cut down to zero. It’s going to reduce crashes all along 32nd Street, and will mean people across eastern Clark County get that time back in their day with less congestion on the road. And crucially, it’s going to allow first responders to get to where they need to be more quickly. It means residents in the Addy neighborhood can have better access to groceries, schools, services, nature, everywhere they need. And we think it’s going to contribute to a lot of economic development around this vitally important port and the town center.”

The $50 million project will reconnect Washougal’s Addy Street neighborhood with downtown Washougal and Port areas by reconstructing five intersections along 32nd Street. It will feature a new railroad bridge and underpass structure between Main Street/“B” Street and Evergreen Way along the crossing, as well as new roundabouts, intersection improvements, and improved pedestrian and bike facilities, according to the City.

“That 32nd Street railroad underpass, all eyes of the nation are going to be watching us,” Washougal Mayor David Stuebe told The Post-Record in September. “We’re already having contractors coming in, because if they get awarded that bid, it’s going to be great for them.”

The City is currently soliciting an owner’s representative for the project, Scott said.

“The selected firm will help guide the City through the entirety of the project,” he said. “This is a significant multi-year project.”

The Council has also asked Scott to complete design and pursue construction funding for the City’s 27th Street bike pass project, and identify and pursue grant applications for pedestrian and bike improvements in 2024.

Strategic plan implementation

The City will develop a Citizens Academy, which will launch in 2025.

“(This year’s work) will include (the development of) a curriculum and schedule, and outreach and solicitation for participants in the first cohort,” Scott said. “The Citizens Academy is intended to offer our residents the opportunity to learn about different aspects of our local government functions, opportunities to be involved and to serve, and hopefully inspire individuals to apply to serve on various boards and commissions and become future community leaders.”

Council members have also asked Scott to provide semi-annual progress reports on strategic priorities and goals; on-board the City’s new strategic initiatives manager; complete a review of procedures toward permit streamlining; complete the City’s Community Funding Options Plan; identify and implement a preferred option for fire and emergency medical services; complete the implementation of the second phase of the City’s police strategic plan; develop a parking management plan; finalize a development agreement with one or more Town Center property owners; and adopt community aesthetics code changes.

Parks, recreation and trails

In 2024, the City will issue a contract for work to commence in early 2025 on its Town Center Revitalization project.

City officials introduced their plans for the project in May 2022, telling Council members that an enhanced civic center will provide vital enhancements to the quality of life in Washougal and promote economic growth. The project will result in the creation of enhanced outdoor community space, an off-leash dog park, a pocket park with potential splash pad/water feature, and improved and expanded public parking near the Fort Vancouver Regional Library’s new library facility, the Washougal Community Center and City Hall.

The project will be mostly funded by a Department of Commerce grant; American Rescue Plan Act funds; donations; real estate excise taxes; and park impact fees.

The City aims to complete design and permitting, and have a contract for construction secured by the end of 2024, according to Scott, who added that “construction will commence as soon as possible after that.”

“We’re really excited about jump-starting this, getting this project going,” Stuebe said. “And our community is really excited about this. This is going to be huge for us, and we want to do it right.”

The Council has also asked Scott to complete the City’s Hamllik Park improvement project and evaluate opportunities for “enhanced parks and recreation programming.”

Land use and economic development

The City will develop a new economic development plan in 2024.

“The details of this are still to be determined,” Scott said. “The goal of this effort, as expressed in our strategic plan, is to foster and promote a resilient economy that encourages growth to attract and retain a diversity of businesses and talent, creating opportunities for prosperity and enhanced quality of life in Washougal.”

The Council has also asked Scott to launch and maintain a process to adopt the City’s growth management comprehensive plan update by the mandated June 2025 deadline.

Community aesthetics, engagement plans

The City will implement a community aesthetics program, and begin to implement a community engagement plan in 2024.

“We are in the final stages of developing our community aesthetics program,” Scott said. “The goal of this program as expressed in our strategic plan is to revitalize and enhance the physical appearance of the city, to create a sense of civic pride, and foster a strong, vibrant community identity. Our working draft mission statement for the program explains that through proactive engagement, partnerships, and education, we will promote and support a sustainable and visually appealing environment to live, work and play.

“In addition to preparing a Citizens Academy for launch in 2025, our efforts in community engagement will seek to increase community events and activities. We will also establish a formal volunteer program so residents can give back to the community, volunteering to improve the lives of their neighbors and public spaces and support community growth.”

The Council has also asked Scott to explore and initiate opportunities for enhanced community service projects; complete facility improvements at the City’s operation center; complete an Americans with Disabilities Act transition plan; and proceed with wastewater treatment plant upgrades on schedule.