Vancouver City Hall makes ‘Final Four’ in fun, Leslie Knope-inspired tournament to win nation’s best city hall trophy

VANCOUVER — Up for a little March Madness? How about a little March Madness, poli-sci-geek style?

If you answered “yes” to that second question, you might be interested to know that Vancouver City Hall is one of the “Final Four” in the annual Engage Local Government Leaders (ELGL)’s City Hall Madness tournament to find the nation’s best city hall building.

A view of Vancouver City Hall, which is currently battling for the title of ‘best city hall’ against a city hall in Little Chute, Wisconsin in an online March Madness style tournament. Photo courtesy of city of Vancouver
A view of Vancouver City Hall, which is currently battling for the title of ‘best city hall’ against a city hall in Little Chute, Wisconsin in an online March Madness style tournament. Photo courtesy of city of Vancouver

The stakes — at least for local government junkies — are pretty high. The winner gets the coveted Leslie Knope Greatest City Hall trophy, named for Amy Poehler’s fictitious character in the NBC show “Parks and Recreation,” who was best known for her over-the-top enthusiasm for all things related to local government, and they also get bragging rights for besting 63 other city halls across the country.

The tournament kicked off in late January with 64 city halls competing for the Leslie Knope Greatest City Hall award. By Feb. 13, the Sweet 16 were battling it out and the week of Feb. 20 showcased the Elite Eight. Now it’s down to the Final Four: Vancouver vs. Little Chute, Wisconsin and Pasadena, California vs. Peoria, Illinois. The top two will compete in the National Championship during the week of March 6.

Want to help Vancouver’s chances? There’s still time to vote in the Final Four: You have until 8:59 p.m. PST, today, Fri., March 3, to cast your vote at bit.ly/votevanwa. As of Thursday afternoon, March 2, Vancouver had a tiny edge over Little Chute with 5,770 votes to 5,732 votes.

Feeling even more local pride? Leave a comment that would make Leslie Knope proud in the Comments section on the voting page. Here are a few of the positive comments — because you know Leslie would put a positive spin on it. After all, we’re talking about a character who once referred to folks screaming at her during a city council meeting as “people caring loudly at me.”

Online voting for Final Four round of national city hall tourney, which features Vancouver City Hall vs. the city hall in Little Chute, Wisconsin, is open until 8:59 p.m. PST, Fri., March 3. Photo courtesy of city of Vancouver
Online voting for Final Four round of national city hall tourney, which features Vancouver City Hall vs. the city hall in Little Chute, Wisconsin, is open until 8:59 p.m. PST, Fri., March 3. Photo courtesy of city of Vancouver

A commenter named Nancy Schultz says: “The Vancouver City Hall is gorgeous and filled with light, art and – ready? – a fireplace! The Council chamber which is used for all kinds of meetings is comfy and technologically advanced. There’s a roof garden! As mentioned by another person, it looks out on the North to our Central Park, and on the South over the beautiful Columbia River. Those people who voted for a city hall other than their own without having even seen it should just — well — move. Vancouver is a fabulous city to live, work and play in. And the City Hall is great.”

And Karen Read adds: “Vancouver City Hall overlooks Esther Short Park which is a jewel of downtown redevelopment. It’s a beautiful addition to our downtown. I’m proud of our city and inspired to be a better citizen in it every time I walk by.”

Even someone named “Couv Dude” chimed in (after another person chastised Vancouver for building a “palace” instead of a city hall): “No, they don’t ‘need a Palace for City Hall’ but let’s not forget they bought a building that was in foreclosure for half its assessed value and it saves something like a million a year of tax payer (sic) money. Vancouver is a well managed forward looking city and our city hall reflects that. I for one am proud to live here and vote for the best city hall in the country.”

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About The Author

Kelly Moyer has been reporting for community newspapers since the mid-1990s, including the Newport News-Times on the Oregon Coast; the Lewistown Sentinel, a daily newspaper in central Pennsylvania; the Gresham Outlook, Wilsonville Spokesman, Sherwood Gazette and South County Spotlight newspapers in the Portland metro area; and The Reflector newspaper in Battle Ground, Wash. She also is the former managing editor of Midwifery Today, an international magazine for birth professionals. Kelly, a University of Oregon alumnus and Pennsylvania native, lives with her family in Northeast Portland.

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