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    Each month the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce's Public Affairs Committee (PAC) gathers to discuss issues that impact business in Southwest Washington. The PAC is a forum where City, State and Federal topics are on the table. The PAC serves in an advisory capacity to the president and the public affairs staff. The committee is responsible for reviewing and recommending actions or positions to the board of directors. The PAC also plays a role in organizing Public Affairs events like: The Legislative Review Luncheon and Legislative Outlook Breakfast. 

    Once a year GVCC's PAC, the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) and Identity Clark County (ICC) work together to create the 2019 Shared Legislative Agenda document that is the strong, unified voice of the top issues that affect local business.  



    Project I-5: Ten Years in the Making | 2019

    The September/October Edition of VISION features notes on the Sub Committee of the I-5 Bridge Replacement Project, that works dilligently on behalf of business owners to represent the interests of SW Washington. Topics covered include: Purpose & Importance: Evaluating the Need; Uniting Washington & Oregon; Ten Years From Now. You can read the article on Page 14 in VISION, here.

    The Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce's I-5 Bridge Letter is available here. Please download a copy for your use.

    Project I-5 Bridge Letter image of article


    Speakers, Trade, Transportation & More | 2018

    The July 2018 Public Affairs Committee meeting was packed with lots of tremendous information.  We led off with Teresa Brum, Economic Development Director with the City of Vancouver, describing the purpose of and the issues which could be addressed by a Downtown Improvement District (“DID”).  A DID is a self-funded mechanism for a business district’s management and revitalization.  It can address issues such as public safety, cleaning/trash removal, business development, parking and the like.  If adopted, the DID becomes and is funded by a special property tax assessment, designed for building owners and not business owners.  If put in place, there would be a rate payers advisory board with the Vancouver’s Downtown Association (VDA) acting as the City’s primary partner with control over funds collected and the vendors hired.  There are currently about twenty-five (25) DIDs in place in the State, and Vancouver is one of the largest cities in the State without a DID.  
    The Public Affairs Committee invited Ben Bagherpour, SEH America’s face in this community, to speak to us about the effects of the recent trade tariffs to his business.  Ben noted that steel is an element of the equipment SEH routinely purchases.  In addition, wire from Japan and South Korea and steel drums from Mexico and Canada are being impacted with tariffs.  In the semi-conductor industry, there are numerous items purchased which in turn are impacted by these tariffs.  David Konz of Tidewater noted that at as of July 17th, the imposed tariffs had not yet impacted wheat.  If tariffs are imposed on US wheat, our biggest competitors, Canada and Australia, stand to gain and there will be a large impact to the barge companies and other modes of transportation moving US grown wheat.  Further, because of the tariffs imposed on steel, Tidewater is holding off on investing in new barges.  Contractors are impacted by rising costs of tools, nails, screws and steel structures.  
    Your Chamber is again partnering with CREDC and ICC on shared legislative priorities so as to reshape the “voice of business” for 2019.  The key topics at this point include workforce development and education – a continued need for STEM awareness as well as preparing our schools and our students for available post-high school careers, knowing that more than half of our graduates will not pursue a 2 or 4-year college degree.  Local schools need to prepare students for skilled living-wage jobs here in SW Washington.  This improves lives and builds our economy while strengthening our future.  Other key topics include infrastructure and expanding broadband to help economic growth in rural areas.  
    Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle updated the PAC on several issues: waterfront ribbon cutting ceremony on September 29th; a downtown parking policy is in development; stop lights are to be removed on SR 500 at Falk and Stapleton; the City has a Letter of Intent for development of Block 10 (the vacant lot between Washington and Columbia on the East and West, and 8th and 9th Streets on the South and North; the City has asked the Governor to fund WSDOT to continue the process of moving forward in baby steps with regard to a replacement bridge, and on a related matter, the City and our Mayor have attended many meetings concerning tolling. Oregon has clearly heard the message from Vancouver.  (Reminds us of the Revolutionary War – no taxation without representation).



    AWB starts Statewide "Shout Out, Small Business" Listening Tour in Vancouver 

    The GVCC was the Association for Washington Businesses (AWB) first stop (of 15) on their Small Business Listening Tour. Their goal is to hear face-to-face from communities throughout Washington State on the issues impacting Small Business. The GVCC hosted their first listening session. Small business owners, representation from the City of Vancouver and the Chamber's Board of Directors were in attendance. The top issues: small business compliance regarding employees and independent contractors, permitting, 1-5 corridor, taxes, minimum wage, return to work programs, and carbon emissions.


    Sales Tax Exemption is Good for Business

    HB2269 proposes the removal of the sales tax exemption for Oregon shoppers when they make purchases within Washington Stores. Shorty's Garden & Home, along with a number of other Southwest Washington businesses will be directly impacted, as it has been reported to the Chamber that upwards of 30% of their retail sales come from Oregon residents. KOIN 6 interviewed Kelly Love, former GVCC CEO for a story about the issue. Jeff Gianola (KOIN 6 News Anchor) states in the video, 'I can really see why Vancouver business owners are concerned about this.'


    PAC Co-Chairs


    Don Russo

    Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt


    Nelson Holmberg

    Southwest Washington Contractors Association (SWCA) 

  • Members: 
    Ben Bagherpour
    SEH America Inc

    Steve Becker
    Vancouver Downtown Association
    LeAnne Bremer
    Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP
    Carol Bua
    City of Vancouver
    Nina Carlson
    NW Natural
    Debra Carnes
    PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center
    Alistaire Clary
    Maul Foster & Alongi, Inc.
    John Dombroski
    Chick-fil-A Cascade Park
    Shawn Donaghy
    Eric Fuller
    Eric Fuller & Associates Inc
    Doug Green
    Congregation Kol Ami
    Ryan Hart
    Port of Vancouver USA
    Steve Horenstein
    Horenstein Law Group PLLC
    Ben Hoskins
    You Move Me Local Moves
    Debbie Jermann
    Todd Johnson
    Elie Kassab
    Prestige Development
    Annette Klinefelter
    Daybreak Youth Services
    David Konz
    Tidewater Barge Lines, Inc.
    Kelly Love
    Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center
    Anne Mc Enerny-Ogle
    City of Vancouver
    Paul N. Montague
    Paul Montague Tax Preparation, LLC
    Eric Olmsted
    On Line Support, Inc
    Andrew Over
    Regence BlueCross BlueShield
    Page Phillips & Jeff Reading
    Strategies 360
    Dellan Redjou
    April Salsbury
    Salsbury & Co.
    Tim Schauer
    MacKay Sposito
    Rhona Sen Hoss
    Governors Office
    James Sikora
    Landerholm, P.S.
    John  Steach
    Evergreen School District #114
    Ty Stober
    City of Vancouver
    Alishia Topper
    City of Vancouver
    Bill  Turlay
    City of Vancouver
    Cynthia Weyhrich-Sanchez
    Orchards Tap, LLC
    Tracy Wilson
    DeWils Industries, Inc.
    Jeff Woodside
    Nutter Corporation