“It is not her role to create a project for Southwest Washington”

Vancouver City Councilor Jeanne Harris, who lost in the August primary and will leave the council at the end of this month, isn’t going quietly.

During Monday’s workshop with Mark Brown, the city’s lobbyist in Olympia, the council discussed local priorities for the 2014 legislative agenda. Talk turned to a draft of a transportation revenue package that gives very little love to Clark County.

Brown told councilors that since so much energy was spent on the Columbia River Crossing, which ultimately wasn’t supported, “we’re coming to the dance late.” Other lawmakers have been advocating for their projects since the first day of session, Brown said.

He said State Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, told him that she’s still fighting for Clark County projects to be included in the transportation package.

She’s also independently working on what she calls a replacement project for the CRC, Brown said. He said Rivers has been doing a lot of research and talking to people and would like to come “and have a conversation with the city of Vancouver about what she knows and what she’s thinking.”

Brown said he told her he thought that would be a good idea.

“Obviously we have a great deal at stake in terms of that project and where that project ultimately lands,” Brown said.

Harris spoke up.

“To your last comment regarding Senator Rivers, it is not her role to create a project for Southwest Washington,” Harris said. “We have a CRC project and we asked for that to be funded. And that’s how it works.”

She said her suggestion to state lawmakers is to put together a transportation package and vote on it.

“We’ve done our job here at the local level. We’ve prepared ourselves. We’ve done our homework,” Harris said.

Rivers, reached today on the phone, said she sometimes watches city council meetings on CVTV but was watching the Seattle Seahawks game last night. Told of Harris’ assertion that coming up with an alternative plan “is not her role,” Rivers said any time elected officials work together on a project that will be supported by the people who elected them, it’s good policy.

She added that she’s looking forward to working with the sitting members of the city council during the next legislative session.

I didn’t cut the video down because I thought maybe one or two people would be bored enough to want to watch this whole meeting, but Harris starts talking at about the 35-minute mark.


Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice

I cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at stephanie.rice@columbian.com or 360-735-4508.

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