City Council works to change Pullman’s narrative, brand

Golden Shovel Agency speaks about Pullman’s economic development; Pullman PD recaps weekend shooting



Jake Opgenorth, Pullman PD operations commander gave an update on the shooting that occurred early Saturday morning.

MOLLY WILK, Evergreen reporter

A presenter told Pullman City Council the city should leverage marketing to create identity and narrative for the city that is distinct from WSU.

Ron Kresha, Golden Shovel Agency chief operating officer and chief financial officer, spent two days in Pullman observing how the city functions and put together a blueprint of recommended changes. 

The blueprint including the addition of an economic development website, creating a brand for Pullman and a digital advertising campaign. 

He said it is necessary for Pullman residents to start owning their city’s brand. 

Weekend shooting

Jake Opgenorth, Pullman Police Department operations commander, gave an update about the shooting that occurred early Saturday morning

Officers responding to a noise complaint heard several shots fired. Upon arrival, the officers found the alleged perpetrator, George Melvin Harris III, holding one of the victims, Liban Barre, who had been shot multiple times, Opgenorth said. 

Barre was quickly transported to Pullman Regional Hospital where he passed away due to his injuries, Opgenorth said. 

The second victim, Brandon Gray, was not found until after first responders and medics had already begun to leave the scene. Opgenorth said responders quickly came back to care for him. He was transported to Spokane for medical care.

Opgenorth said detectives are investigating the shooting, and they believe this was an isolated event. 

Taxes, bills and zoning

City Administrator Mike Urban said a transportation benefit district (TBD) could help Pullman work with state and local governments to address needed improvements to transportation. 

Creating a TBD would require the Pullman legislative authority to hold a public hearing. Urban said there are several possible funding sources, such as vehicle license fees and sales and use tax. 

Urban said he estimates residents will see a 0.2 percent increase in sales tax if that is the chosen method for funding the TBD. 

The council discussed the possibility of shoppers traveling to Moscow, Idaho after the increase and hurting already struggling Pullman businesses. 

Pullman Planning Director RJ Lott presented several bills about combating affordable and accessible housing issues in Pullman. Several of the bills are yet to be approved but have been sent to varying councils to await the next steps. 

The bills included those making financing accessible for building condominiums and prohibiting cities from regulating the number of unrelated persons who occupy a unit, among others. 

Assistant Planner Ariel Medeiros spoke on changing the zone of a segment of SE Bypass Drive from a commercial district to a multi-family residential zone. The council approved the zone change, along with changing the map. 

The council moved to adopt the official 2021 comprehensive plan, six-year capital improvement plan and six-year transportation plan as the official plans for Pullman.