I am actively working to land new jobs in the Northeast Hillyard area and the University District. I helped form and served on the Northeast Development Board, which supported establishment of NE Public Development Authority (PDA) to oversee economic development of this vital area for years to come. I helped form the U District PDA and have helped advocate for State and Federal investment in the U District Bike/Ped Bridge and Central City Line Bus project, which will provide key access to our region’s biomedical hub.
I advocate for historic business centers and corridors. I led the effort to budget new funds to support redevelopment strategies for business districts in 2013. Subsequently, I helped shape the Targeted Investment Pilot Program in the East Sprague area, which has invested public dollars in utilities, streets, public safety and housing, leading to increased private investment and economic growth. In 2015, I spearheaded the creation of new economic incentives that assist businesses in opening and expanding in Downtown Spokane, as well as decreasing utility charges to support more multi-family housing.
I have been a leader in neighborhood planning and economic development. Through many related efforts I have championed the goal of increased growth in targeted neighborhood centers.
I participated in the infill housing task force and backed changes to our codes to allow more housing opportunities in our multi-family zones.
I supported extending the Multi-Family Tax Exemption for another five years to incentivize growth in targeted neighborhood centers.
I supported updating parking regulations downtown, as well as in the Browne’s Addition and West Central neighborhood to stimulate economic activity and redevelopment.
I’ve successfully argued to expand neighborhood centers and corridors and to use new “form-based” codes to encourage good design and private development. This approach is being piloted on the Hamilton St. Corridor, at the northern end of the U District.
Defending public safety and health needs of community
During challenging economic times, I protected police and fire from devastating cuts. I continue to fight for resourcing public safety as the top priority in the City budget.
I support increased oversight and reporting duties of our Police Ombudsman and advocates for greater police reform. I supported the establishment of a Use of Force Commission and voted to fund many of its recommendations.
I helped restore funding for the nonprofit C.O.P.S. in several budget cycles despite threats to cut this vital program, which prevents crime through education and neighborhood vigilance.
I voted to establish a regional animal control program through a long-term contract with Spokane County SCRAPS.
I’m a strong public health advocate. In 2012 I served as Chair of Spokane County Board of Health and increased awareness of health inequities in Spokane.
I also pushed for a successful resolution in favor of expanded study of coal train impacts on the Spokane Regional Board of Health, as well as advocated for a hearing to be held in Spokane.
I allocated significant funds (profits of Red Light Cameras) towards neighborhood-driven traffic-calming projects throughout the City of Spokane, working with Northeast (District 1) neighborhoods in particular.
I initiated the allocation of $200,000 in Human Services funding in 2012 that is improving access to health care in our community.
Supporting targeted infrastructure investments
I am a leader in developing an integrated approach to Spokane River cleanup. I’m actively engaged in developing effective and affordable solutions to reducing sewer overflows and removing pollutants from the River.
I care about our city streets. I helped establish a Transportation Benefit District (TBD) funded by $20 car tab fees and overseen by a Citizens Transportation Advisory Board. This has increased the city’s street paving maintenance by 50%.
I’m a vocal transit advocate and play a leading role in the STA Moving Forward planning process. As Chair of the STA Board, I engaged the community around changes to STA routes in 2010 and 2011. I supported the Locally Preferred Alternative of the Modern Electric Streetcar for the Spokane Central City Transit Line.
I supported an impact fee charged to developers that helps manage the transportation impacts of new development in the city. Already these fees are helping fund a design plan for protected left-hand turn signals on Hamilton St from Sharp Ave to Foothills Ave.
Listening to residents and businesses, implementing neighborhood projects
When it comes to engaging with my constituents, I’m at the head of the pack. I use in-person and electronic communications as well as social media to engage citizens in decision-making. I attend at least two neighborhood council/business association meetings per month, and I hold bi-monthly “Mobile Offices” throughout NE Spokane. Please visit www.amberwaldref.org to read my weekly blog posts or to sign up for my monthly e-newsletters!
I care what neighborhoods think. I serve as the City Council Community Assembly liaison in working to resolve neighborhood concerns and identify proactive policy solutions.
I worked with neighborhoods and Planning Dept. in 2011 to improve the neighborhood planning process.
I facilitated a dialogue between Logan Neighborhood, Gonzaga University and City to calm traffic on Sinto and Sharp Aves.
I also supported neighborhood efforts to establish a golf cart zone in Hillyard/Bemiss/Whitman neighborhoods as an inexpensive, alternative transportation choice.
Advocating for responsible budgeting and transparent government
I make responsible budget decisions. I’m proud of my work to overcome multiple city budget deficits during the worst economic crisis in our lifetime. And I continue to support limited use of reserves and reasonable contracts with our city bargaining units to ensure budget sustainability and priority service-delivery to residents and businesses.
I’ve fought for fair and affordable utility rates. In 2012, I led an effort to establish utility rate-setting policies and affordability guidelines, including increased funding for emergency assistance to low-income utility customers.
I believe voters deserve balanced information. To that end, I created an ordinance that established a city voters’ guide for ballot issues. I helped publish first guide for the Feb. 2013 Special Election.
I spearheaded a fair and responsible bidding process that was adopted in 2011.