Survey: Washougal residents satisfied with services

Contentment levels remain consistent or improved in most categories

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A child plays on the playground at Hamllik Park in April 2024. (Doug Flanagan/Post-Record)

Washougal residents have a positive overall perception of their city but would like to see improved street maintenance and economic development efforts, according to the results of a community survey.

The survey, administered by ETC Institute, an Olathe, Kansas-based consulting firm, earlier this year, concluded that resident satisfaction levels either remained consistent or improved in 50 of 54 categories since the last City survey in 2022, including “significant increases” (5% or more) in 27 of those areas.

“It’s clear our efforts are paying off, and the positive feedback from our residents is truly inspiring,” Washougal Mayor David Stuebe said. “With each community survey, we gain a valuable perspective that shapes our decisions and priorities moving forward.”

ETC Institute president/chief executive officer Chris Tatham presented the findings to the Washougal City Council during the Council’s annual planning session on June 1.

“When we look at the trends from last time, this is where there’s a lot to celebrate,” Tatham said. “It shows that you took the results from the last survey, invested and made improvements in areas that residents cared a lot about. We’re seeing improvement across the board.”

The City mailed 3,000 five-page surveys to a random sample of Washougal residents earlier this year and generated 507 responses. The feedback will be used to determine priorities, guide budget and investment decisions, measure trends and compare performance with other communities nationwide, according to the news release.

The survey, which included a questions about a variety of categories, such as parks and recreation, public safety, communication, streets, code enforcement, and customer service, revealed that:

Eighty-six percent of residents were satisfied with the quality of fire, emergency medical and ambulance services; 76% were satisfied with the quality of police services; 69% were satisfied with the quality of customer service from City employees; and 66% were satisfied with the quality of City parks. Residents were least satisfied with the effectiveness of economic development efforts (29%).

Residents indicated should receive the most emphasis from the City over the next two years were maintenance of streets, effectiveness of economic development efforts, and the quality of water utilities.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of residents indicated that they were satisfied with the overall feeling of safety in the city; 64% were satisfied with the overall quality of life in the city; and 59% were satisfied with the quality of services provided by the City. Residents were least satisfied with the availability of job opportunities (19%).

Eighty-two percent of residents were satisfied with the quality of local fire protection and rescue services; 81% were satisfied with how quickly fire and rescue personnel respond; 74% were satisfied with how quickly ambulance personnel respond; and 74% were satisfied with the quality of local ambulance service. Residents were least satisfied with parking enforcement services (47%).

Washougal “stands out in several quality categories, surpassing others in fire/emergency medical/ambulance services, police services, customer service, and city parks,” according to the study, which also stated that the “City exceeds national and regional averages in effectively communicating with the public and enforcing city codes and ordinances.”

“Customer service is really where you stand out,” Tatham told the Council members on June 1. “Your overall satisfaction rating is almost double what we’re seeing in other communities these days.”

To view the survey report and related documents, visit