Housing top priority in Port Angeles strategic plan

PORT ANGELES — Every Port Angeles resident should have a safe and affordable place to live, the City Council said in a draft strategic plan.

Housing emerged as the council’s top priority after 11 hours of discussion on a plan that will provide direction for the city though 2022.

Housing/homeless, commercial district enhancement, capacity and high-performing relationships were identified as the council’s strategic objectives in a three-hour conversation Tuesday.

Four-hour strategy sessions were held on the same plan Feb. 4 and Feb. 5.

“We’re coming to some consensus on this, but we’re not adopting anything tonight,” Mayor Kate Dexter said in the virtual meeting Tuesday.

The council is expected adopt the two-year strategic plan at its next meeting March 2.

The stated goal in the No. 1 strategic objective — housing/homeless — is: “Every PA resident has a safe and affordable place to live.”

The city will “take concrete steps to increase housing units of all types, with a particular focus on affordable and permanent supportive housing” and “provide appropriate services to our residents experiencing homelessness,” according to the draft.

Metrics for measuring the city’s progress in meeting the objective include increased housing units, the number of unhoused people moved into housing, land-use plans and policies to meet housing needs and an increase in accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and duplexes.

“I really appreciate the level of conversation here in a business meeting,” said consultant Jim Cooper, a United Way representative and Olympia City Council member to whom the city of Port Angeles paid $2,500 to facilitate the strategic plan. “It’s not very normal, I don’t think, for a lot of city councils. It can be productive, and it was.”

Here are the other strategic objectives as revised by the Port Angeles City Council on Tuesday:

Commercial district

Goal: Prioritize business support though enhancement of our commercial districts:

• Adopt and identify city actions to make downtown walkable, clean, safe and vibrant.

• Prioritize multiple commercial centers while meeting the multimodal needs of people and commerce.

Metrics: Plan is accepted; city has implementation plan that compliments other plans; we have moved from planning to action; businesses and residents and engaged in the outcome; infrastructure and policies that allow for multiple commercial centers succeed.

Capacity

Goal: Build capacity of the city to better meet the community’s needs, invest in improvements, focus on improving economic outcomes and maintain what we have.

Metrics: Stabilize revenue; regional focus on success of local business; Capital Facilities Plan backlog is reduced; residents are more financially secure.

Partnerships

Goal: Prioritize focus on high performing relationships and partnerships so that the entire city will better achieve these goals — while increasing trust and cohesion for council, staff and the broader community.

Metrics: We are all focused on the plan; partners are at the table; we move at the speed of trust; everyone is focused on strong relationships and partnerships; community sees Port Angeles as a respectful team player.

A fifth strategic objective around COVID-19 pandemic recovery was removed from the list Tuesday.

“This is going to be one of the most crucial things that we do over the next five years,” Council member Mike French said of pandemic response.

“I think that it’s going to be a pervasive goal, and I don’t think that we need to necessarily stick it out in our strategic plan,” he added.

“I think we can just delete this one and we can have four strategic objectives and have a slightly more streamlined strategic plan.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].

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