Washington in general enjoys a favorable reputation in almost every category of living requirements. Visitors often express very favorable views of Washington.
First impressions usually are favorable. The old Downtown Washington section, the new commercial areas along Highway 100, our fine subdivisions with well kept landscaping, our educational system, the hospital and medical specialists we have, our parks system, the riverfront that draws an increasing number of visitors, the four-lane Highway 100 that connects us to Interstate 44, the religious factor illustrated by church steeples, our airport, our excellent industrial parks with all the necessary services, our financial institutions, the fact that we have passenger trains that make regular stops, our restaurants, retail shops — we have heard favorable comments about each of those attributes that Washington has. You don’t hear it in one mouthful, but some of the attributes are mentioned often.
We’ve asked newcomers about what attracted them to Washington. One, two, or three or more of the above-mentioned attributes are heard.
A negative heard is the lack of affordable housing, especially from young people.
If a city is to continue to progress and retain all of its attractions, there comes a time to expand our boundaries. We will have the opportunity to do that with a very modest annexation proposal that will be on the ballot in August.
A city that stands pat in its present boundaries eventually will slip into a passive state, submitting without resistance to a standstill position. When that happens, progress is stymied.
Whenever annexation comes up in Washington, there is instant opposition, not only by some city residents but from nonresident people who may or may not be in the area proposed for annexation. We are aware that some city residents are influenced by their friends who live outside of Washington, but that is not a healthy position for the future. Being in the city adds to the value of their property.
The position that nearby residents have everything they need and their status won’t be aided by being in the city is shortsighted. Some pay more for services than people in the city. Washington government overall does a good job of providing services in a timely manner at a reasonable cost. Quality of services received is what the city offers.
For the little extra people in the annexed areas would have to pay in taxes is small compared to benefits received.
We have heard people living nearby comment that “we are from Washington” when they really aren’t. They seem proud to make that statement. They have pride in Washington but don’t participate in the city’s well-being to the extent that city residents do.
There is no way to convince some people that they would be better off being part of the city. But the effort has to be made because it’s about the future of the city. There are people in the areas proposed for annexation who want to be in the city, but don’t speak up for fear of losing their good relations with neighbors.
We have a situation of being proud to be “from Washington,” but we don’t want to live within its boundaries. That must be overcome!