How can we move Vancouver forward?



We can being moving Vancouver forward with a strong commitment to sustainable job growth, building vibrant neighborhoods, and ensuring our police and fire professionals have the resources necessary to serve our growing community.

What do you think about police and fire resources?


Our police officers and fire fighters do an outstanding job given the resources available. Yet the current resources do not match the needs of a city our size according to the operational reports of police and fire in Vancouver. To provide the level of resources our citizens demand, we must find sustainable and protected forms of funding in order to ensure safety.  Together we can do this by increasing funding for other portions of the city budget to free up resources for public safety. 

Resources for more information:

What's your business background?

I am a small business owner and often feel that government doesn't understand what it takes to be successful.  Why should I trust that you are any different?


I have a Masters in Business Administration from one of the top schools in the country, led a 50 person national sales force, had profit and loss responsibility for a $15 million dollar business unit, worked to buy and start companies and pulled money out of my personal savings account to make payroll.  I intimately understand the challenges of starting and growing a business.

I believe city government can be a great partner to businesses by making strategic investments that lower transaction costs and improves the skills of our workforce.  That means:

  • Investing in all forms of transportation,
  • Partnering with our K-12 schools and higher education institutions and supporting apprenticeship training,
  • Streamlining permitting, and
  • Making sure our citizens have access to quality high speed internet access at an affordable price.

Tell me more about your entrepreneurial experience.

You say you have entrepreneurial experience, but give me an example.


When I moved back to Vancouver in 2005, I learned that a local manufacturing company was up for sale.  I was very concerned that a sale could mean the Vancouver facility was closed and around 80 jobs would be lost.  I spent the next 16 months developing a business plan and then recruiting a venture capital company to make a bid for the assets.  In the end, another company was able to justify a higher bid.  Luckily, the Vancouver facility was not closed.

What do you think about Vancouver's infrastructure?

How would you describe the current condition (deficiencies, assets, and priorities) of the City of Vancouver's transportation system in relation to infrastructure for bicycle and pedestrian modes? What priorities do you see for safe and efficient transportation that would be usable by citizens of all ages?


As a cyclist and user of public transportation, I know well our city’s transportation assets and deficiencies.  For my campaign I am walking neighborhoods all over the city where I see first hand the degradation of sidewalks and other infrastructure.  In addition to walking and biking options, many of our residents rely on transit.  While C-Tran is a great asset in many ways, we need to continue working hard so C-Tran can continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of our communities.  

To repair and maintain infrastructure, we must pass a streets package to generate the needed funding.  I also think we need to look at special use districts that would allow neighborhoods to improve sidewalks to be financed through property taxes.  Bottom line, our transportation infrastructure is critical to our economy and to our quality of life.  Neglecting it will cost us more in the long run, while investing in excellent transportation options provides equal autonomy to citizens of all ages and income levels.


Thoughts about national street standards?

How do you foresee the City of Vancouver will implement Complete Streets and National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) to benefit its citizens?


This highlights the importance of passing a streets funding package.  My family chooses to live in the Hough neighborhood in large part because we want to live a pedestrian and bike friendly lifestyle, so as your City Council member I will serve this issue with integrity.  I support pedestrian and bike friendly planning because I believe this makes neighborhoods more friendly, communities more cohesive, creates conditions for greater public health, and sets up more opportunities for small businesses. Of course, reducing fossil fuel consumption is a bonus.  I will support our version of a complete streets option around Vancouver, not just in our downtown core. The most practical way to approach this is to improve and refine the existing transportation master plan.

What about a downtown grocery store?

Vancouver's downtown core is slowly increasing in density yet it has limited accessible options for healthy groceries to sustain families (i.e., food desert).  What role can city council play to incentivize a full service but high quality grocery store to locate walkable to the downtown core?


This is a vital issue for downtown Vancouver.  I personally want to walk to a New Seasons, Green Zebra or Trader Joe's near my home.  I support providing a free lease for 5 years in a multi-use Block 10 building and fee waivers for that portion of the project.  Most importantly, we must continue to build residential density that will be the ultimate criteria a private grocery store uses to make the decision to locate in downtown.

What can be done about the affordability of downtown Vancouver?

Housing prices in Vancouver, in particular in the downtown core, are outpacing income of working professionals such that many residents and downtown business owners can not afford to buy a house. Similarly, rental costs exceed affordability for many lower to middle income families. Does this matter to you? What specific policies or strategies can City Council bring to bear to address this issue?


Housing is a critical issue for us, and we need to get this one right as our city enters a phase of growth.  The most pressing concern with housing is a lack of rental housing.  A larger inventory of rental housing will bring prices down and provide more options for our citizens in transition.   To provide affordable homeownership, the city must attack the problem from both ends.  The Vancouver Housing Authority can be leveraged for grant-funded housing, and we need to support partnerships with private developers to support market rate housing.

This is an issue that needs to be managed with the long-term in mind. We must create plans to support our inevitable growth while protecting and even improving our quality of life.  Sprawl development is not a good option.  I’ve looked at other cities around our country and around the world, and I believe we can learn from the best examples as we shape the future of our city.  Our city staff and community leaders need to participate in studies and discussions about how we can increase density in existing neighborhoods without damaging their character.  I’m excited about the option of creating Urban Villages where increased density comes with great infrastructure, like complete streets, public squares and green spaces.

What are your thoughts about homelessness?

Homelessness is a prevalent issue in Vancouver, in particular the downtown area. How would you balance property protection for existing business and private property owners vs the needs of people in transition? What services do you feel the City of Vancouver can enhance for people in transition? What is your view on Housing First approaches, such as Lincoln Place?


We want our city to offer a good quality of life to our citizens at all income levels.  That means economic opportunities, safe streets and neighborhoods, and social services to those in need.  Failing to prioritize effective social services undermines our other priorities, and it falls short of our highest social ideals.

We know that addiction and mental health issues are often at the root of homelessness.  As a Board member of Daybreak Youth Services and Columbia River Mental Health Foundation, and as a supporter of Share House, I am committed to understanding the causes and advocating for the best responses to these challenges.

More specifically, I am a proponent of using evidenced based methods to support our homeless population.  Housing First has tremendous evidence supporting its effectiveness. We need to re-evaluate our social service co-location ordinance.  Is it adequately meeting the needs of struggling individuals and families?  And, we need to support distributed services, where all services are offered in multiple locations.

Addressing the question of private and public property protection, of course we must maintain attractive and welcoming spaces.  Share House is having an impact by involving our homeless population in clean up efforts around the Hough Wall and Esther Short Park.  I’d like to see more of this and other efforts to reinforce that we can all share in the responsibility of maintaining our community for the benefit of all.  

What are your thoughts about the role the arts play in our community?

Vancouver lacks the art museums and performing arts centers seen in other cities our size.  What are your thoughts about the role the arts play in our community?


The arts play an important role in the continuing revitalization of Vancouver.  The momentum of First Friday Artwalk, Clark County Recycled Arts Festival, Clark County Open Studios and numerous other community events and organizations bring a wide spectrum of creativity to our city. Opportunities exist for a city of our size to improve access to the arts through investing in assets like a performing arts center and an art museum. We have an award winning library. It would be amazing to have a complementary building housing a performing arts center located across a public plaza!

What are your thoughts on the Tesoro/Savage oil terminal?

The Port of Vancouver signed a lease for Tesoro and Savage companies to build the largest crude oil transfer facility on the West Coast to be built on the Columbia River.  What are your thoughts?


I support the council's current position and do not support the terminal.  Tesoro's safety record is poor, they deflect responsibility when accidents occur, and they spend heavily in local politics.

What's your position of fireworks?

Do you think fireworks should be banned in Vancouver?


Yes.  And we do not need a $160,000 advisory vote in a low turnout February election to judge the public's sentiment.  Vancouver has grown significantly.  Fireworks have grown more powerful.  A home was destroyed this year and our fire personnel battled numerous grass fires.  Smaller cities around the State (and every larger city) has already come to this conclusion.  I am pleased our elected officials are moving forward to ban fireworks in Vancouver in 2017.  The latest presentation to Council can be found at this link.

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  • M Elyse Urban
    published this page 2015-06-01 10:58:39 -0700