Vancouver, WA: Pollard pledges to create jobs in fifth mayoral bid

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

By JEFFREY MIZE, Columbian staff writer

Vancouver, WA - Forget about balloons, buttons, signs and other trappings of a traditional campaign kickoff.

Mayor Royce Pollard brought a bag of bananas to Esther Short Park on Monday as he announced his decision to seek a fifth two-year term.

Pollard recounted how seven years ago he invited residents to eat their lunches in the downtown park as a way to reclaim it from transients.

Initially, the mayor passed out bananas to anyone who accepted his invitation.

"At that time, I only needed about five bananas," he said.

Pollard brought several large bunches to Monday's event, but it wasn't nearly enough fruit for about 50 friends and supporters who turned out to hear the mayor speak.

His words at times were obscured by the clanking of construction workers at the Vancouvercenter project to the east, the trickling of water from the new Salmon Run Bell Tower in the park's southeast corner and the rumbling of jetliners passing overhead.

Pollard, seemingly oblivious to the noise, said Esther Short Park is a symbol for how far Vancouver has come in a short period of time, a period when the city's population has tripled due to annexation and growth.

"Size isn't important," he said. "It's the quality of life."

Pollard said Vancouver will open the Firstenburg Community Center in east Vancouver before the end of 2005 and soon will start construction on a 226-room Marriott hotel with 30,000 square feet of meeting space south of Esther Short Park.

"I am absolutely convinced the best is yet to come," he said. "I'm not interested in playing politics. I'm interested in maintaining the livability of this community."

Pollard promised to work to improve the area's economy, and he repeatedly mentioned building a community in which his children and grandchildren will want to live.

"There will be jobs here for them, on this side of the river," he said.

Pollard, near the end of his brief speech, said he always has been amazed by the "volunteer spirit" of the community.

"If this community didn't care, I'll tell you I would be somewhere else," he said.

So far, Councilwoman Jeanne Lipton is the only person who has announced she will challenge Pollard.

Lipton, elected to the city council in 1999, ran for mayor two years ago but could garner only 35.7 percent of the vote in her first head-to-head matchup with Pollard.

Pollard, a 63-year-old Burlington, Vt., native, is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former commander at Vancouver Barracks. He lives in the city's Northwest neighborhood.

He was appointed to the city council in February 1989 and elected to a full four-year term in 1991.

In 1995, Pollard ran for mayor and was elected after Bruce Hagensen decided not to run for a fifth two-year term. Pollard was re-elected in 1997, 1999 and 2001.


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