|The new Vancouver Field Office is an existing building that is |
centrally located. It is seven miles from the current office, seven miles from
Interstate 5, and seven miles from the Glen L. Jackson Memorial Bridge
on Interstate 205 to Portland.
Brad Pitt spent seven years in Tibet. There are seven wonders of the ancient world. And, seven is the most powerful magic number in Harry Potter’s wizarding kingdom.
On Monday, May 1, the number “7” will take on new meaning at the Department of Ecology when our Vancouver staff open a new field office 7 miles away from their current Grand Avenue location to the Eastridge Business Park, 12121 NE 99th St., Ste. 2100, in northeast Vancouver.
The new office is also 7 miles from Interstate 5 via state Route 500, and 7 miles from the Glen L. Jackson Bridge over the Columbia River on Interstate 205 to Portland.
That proximity matters during an emergency. In June of last year, Ecology’s Vancouver Field Office staff were the first environmental responders to the Mosier crude oil rail explosion in Oregon, where a Union Pacific train pulling 96 tanks of Bakken crude from North Dakota to Tacoma derailed and caught on fire. The accident released 42,000 gallons of crude – some into the Columbia River. Ecology’s quick action was cited as a factor in preventing this catastrophe from becoming tragic.
The Vancouver Field Office is home to 13 Ecology staff members with broad expertise in water quality, grants, air quality, spill prevention and response, and toxics cleanup. They deliver vital services that protect Southwest Washington’s communities and natural resources.
According to the Vancouver Field Office manager Iloba Odum, the relocation has been in the works for several years. The current space, where the field office has been based since 1997, is shared with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The new location offers closer proximity to Vancouver’s growing population.
“Clark County is one of the fastest growing counties in Washington, and our customer base is spreading out,” Odum said. “The new Vancouver Field Office is more centrally located and will better support customers and Ecology’s mission in the greater Vancouver area. The office will also provide features to support the entire Vancouver team.”
Ecology signed a 10-year lease for the new office with Investors Warranty of America, LLC. The new location is in an existing 6,000 square-foot building located in the EastRidge Business Park. The floor plan includes 16 cubicles, a small lab and field gear room, two conference rooms and a small office, lockers, showers and secure parking for emergency response vehicles.
There are no planned service interruptions from the move and all of the office’s phone numbers and emails will remain the same.
“Having a field office in Vancouver allows local staff to spend more time in the field than on the road,” said Sally Toteff, director of Ecology’s Southwest Region. “The ample staging area and easy access to key highways (I-205, I-5 and Highway 14) will allow us to respond rapidly to spills at sites along local streams and the Columbia River.”
The Vancouver Field Office is part of Southwest Region, based in Lacey, and one of two Ecology field offices. Ecology’s other field office, in Bellingham, is part of the Northwest Region based in Bellevue. The two additional regional office are based in Yakima (Central Region) and Spokane (Eastern Region).
By Dave Bennett, Southwest Region communications manager