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New city of Vancouver Operations Center site approved

The Clark County Council approved Vancouver’s proposal to purchase a 35-acre plot of land, securing for the city a site expected to eventually house a new Operations Center.

The plot of land, located just east of Northeast 94th Avenue and north of Padden Parkway, is located outside the city limits but within its urban growth boundary. The new facility is being planned for a 50-year service life, with construction anticipated to begin in 2022.

“We’re early in the process,” said Loretta Callahan, spokeswoman for the city’s Public Works department. “Contingent upon the approval from the council, planning, permitting and design would start in 2020 to 2021.”

The current Operations Center — where essential services like streets, water, sewer, traffic lights, grounds maintenance, utility customer services and more are coordinated — was built in 1951 and acquired by the city in 1978.

Since then, Vancouver has outgrown the space located at 4711 E. Fourth Plain Blvd. Its population has more than quadrupled, from about 42,000 residents to 185,000 residents.

The existing structure is also seismically unsound. Even a moderate earthquake could severely impact the facility, compromising the city’s ability to respond quickly to streets and water crises at a time when they’re needed most.

The cost of the land has yet to be determined and will depend on the outcome of a city appraisal, Callahan said.

“The county can, under our agreement, do an appraisal, as well,” Callahan added.

Replacing the Operations Center has been identified by the Vancouver City Council as a high-priority project. As the council’s been parsing through A Stronger Vancouver — a sweeping, $30 million package of capital projects and new programs up for consideration by taxpayers and city leaders — the Operations Center was selected as one of the most important capital projects on the list.

“It’s been quite a long time, the city has been looking at what to do,” Callahan said. “The building is outdated, and doesn’t meet the seismic standards.”


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