first_imgThe city of Vancouver has redesigned its website to make it more user-friendly.A “find it fast” section has links for several options, including paying bills or parking tickets, reporting problems or applying for building permits.The Columbia River was the central theme of Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt’s State of the City address Wednesday, which included praise for many and sharp criticism for few.“As the largest river in the Pacific Northwest, she is our community’s lifeblood, and has been so for thousands of years,” said Leavitt, speaking to a crowd of about 160 people at the Water Resources Education Center. “The river brought us together for trade, for culture, for nature and for community life. And today? Our Vancouver neighborhoods and businesses are connected, from the Port of Vancouver to Vancouver Lake and Burnt Bridge Creek to Wood’s Landing, by inland streams that feed our watershed, nurture our wildlife and green our forests.”“Indeed, the city of Vancouver incorporated on this great river, long before Washington became a state,” Leavitt said. The defining river also represents the city’s future, he said.City officials have a large waterfront park and an extension of the Waterfront Renaissance Trail in their sights. In 2012, crews punched through the BNSF Railway berm south of City Hall, offering a view from the end of Esther Street to the river that had been hidden for more than a century.After showing new drawings of the proposed park, Leavitt listed several projects, finishing with the Columbia River Crossing.Starting his sentence with, “And,” Leavitt paused for laughter as the audience correctly predicted what he was about to say. “Are those seat belts in those chairs? Buckle up, ladies and gentleman,” Leavitt said. “There is no more important opportunity for our city and our region than completion of the Columbia River Crossing. Five miles of highway improvements, bringing aged and decrepit infrastructure into the 21st century.”Leavitt praised Oregon lawmakers for approving that state’s share of the funding, and federal lawmakers for placing the CRC in the top five most important projects nationwide. He thanked U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and then representatives from “south of the river,” notably leaving U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, off his list.last_img

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