The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

ASWSU meets with Pullman City Council

Members of city council and ASWSU discuss Project Downtown, public transit
Council member Nathan Weller discussing Project Downtown Pullman at the ASWSU Senate meeting on April 3.

The ASWSU senate held a joint meeting with members of the Pullman city council on Wednesday.

Mayor Francis Benjamin said they are excited to have the dialogue with the senators and the relationship between the city council and ASWSU is nationally recognized.

“We do have on the council, a graduate student, so that actually shows within the community our recognition,” he said.

Benjamin said the council is very diverse and each of the members have different interests. He worked at WSU in both the psychology department and the college of business.

Project Downtown Pullman’s construction officially started on Monday, he said. Most of the money for the project will be spent on fixing the underground.

“In the process, what you’re going to see in the end is we want to make it more of a walkable space, a quieter space as it relates to traffic flow so it’s a place you enjoy. What we’re going to do is reduce from three lanes down to two lanes,” Benjamin said. “With the traffic, we’re going to add some traffic slowing devices. One of them is a very large speed bump … We’re wanting to create something our whole community, including our students, want to come down and enjoy.”

In terms of helping downtown businesses, Benjamin said there will be an effort to notify the public that the businesses are still open. In addition, a contest will be held where residents will have a chance to win a $25 gift card by taking photos of themselves downtown and sending it to the Downtown Pullman Association.

Council member Ann Parks said the biggest concern is finding out where to park when getting downtown. Each business will have their door access limited for up to seven days one time during the project.

“The Downtown Pullman Association … are planning lots of events and things to get people to come downtown,” Parks said. “Legally, we cannot only [financially] help the downtown businesses. If we had an allotment for the downtown businesses, we’d have to do that for all city residents unless we had a grant or something like that.”

Council member Eric Fejeran said food delivery apps like DoorDash are still an option, with many businesses relying on those services for a large part of their profits.

Benjamin said they are currently looking at a six-and-a half month project, but the contractor believes they can be done before then. The council is also working on a new transit system to supply transportation to the airport. They hope the system will be finished after graduation.

“We were able to secure a grant and with that grant we will be able to supply funding as it relates to the airport,” he said.

Council member Carla De Lira said she wants to see a more sustainable public transit system and encouraged those in ASWSU to reach out to the city council about what public transportation means to them and what they want to see from it.

Fejeran said he is a part of the financial aid office at WSU and he encourages everyone to be financially literate when it comes to figuring out paying for college.

“I know a lot of colleges are moving to no loan financial aid,” Fejeran said. “I would really like WSU to see how that would work.”

Benjamin said the city has done over $1 million in improvements to parks in the area. Currently, they are working with the legislators to get in town rail lines rail banked because there are opportunities with that to expand where the city playfields are.

De Lira said it would be great to receive a list of goals and priorities from ASWSU for the council to focus on.

“It’s important to send in a statement through email, come in during public comment,” she said. “Our very first goalsetting meeting is on the 27th, so it would be awesome to get those in as soon as possible.”

Senior Denver Micklai said he was awarded the Outstanding Senior in Political Science award. However, he is upset that he was banned from Coug Lobbying Day despite that fact.

“Let’s be clear, my speech, which involved criticizing governmental decisions, is my First Amendment right,” Micklai said. “I understand that mistakes happen, but I expected a more robust pursuit of justice regarding my concerns.”

Micklai said a crime was committed when his rights were violated but no one will be arrested because those in ASWSU are considered above the law. He is calling for a revision to the ASWSU bylaws so something like this does not happen again.

“Barring me from Coug Lobbying Day … infringed upon my liberties,” he said. “[I want] executives and legislators to exercise humility and be humbled by the fact that even though they are above the law, it is their job to uphold it.”

The senators then voted on Resolution 53-08,  calls for the conversion of the veterinary biomedical research building girth floor conference room to a life science student study lounge. The resolution passed unanimously.

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About the Contributors
JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen news co-editor
Josiah is a sophomore broadcast journalism and broadcast production double major. He is from Lakewood, Washington and began working for the Evergreen in Fall 2021.
KEATON DERNBACH, Evergreen photographer, photo editor
Keaton Dernbach is the photo editor for the Daily Evergreen, occasionally working as a photographer as well. Originally from Bainbridge Island, Washington, he is a sophomore majoring in Communications, with a minor in Criminal Justice and Criminology. Keaton began working for the Daily Evergreen in the Fall of 2023.