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Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington
City of Vancouver
A glimpse of Downtown Vancouver from the freeway.
A glimpse of Downtown Vancouver from the freeway.
Flag of Vancouver, Washington
Official seal of Vancouver, Washington
Nickname(s): "The 'Couve"[1]
Motto: A colorful past, a bright future
Location in Washington
Location in Washington
Country United States
State Washington
County Clark
Founded 1825
Incorporated 1857
 • Mayor Tim Leavitt
 • City 49.86 sq mi (129.14 km2)
 • Land 46.46 sq mi (120.33 km2)
 • Water 3.40 sq mi (8.81 km2)
Elevation 171 ft (52 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • City 161,791
 • Estimate (2013[4]) 167,405
 • Rank US: 145th
 • Density 3,482.4/sq mi (1,344.6/km2)
 • Metro 2,314,554 (US: 24th)
Time zone Pacific (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
Area code(s) 360
FIPS code 53-74060
GNIS feature ID 1531916[5]
Website City of Vancouver

Vancouver is a city on the north bank of the Columbia River in the U.S. State of Washington. Incorporated in 1857, it is the fourth largest city in the state, with a population of 161,791 as of April 1, 2010 census.[7] Vancouver is the county seat of Clark County and forms part of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area, the 24th-largest metropolitan area in the United States. In 2005, Money magazine named it No. 91 on its list of best places in America to live in.[8]


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
  • Geography and climate 3
  • Demographics 4
    • 2010 census 4.1
    • 2000 census 4.2
  • Economy 5
    • Largest employers 5.1
    • Downtown revitalization 5.2
  • Education 6
    • Public schools 6.1
    • Colleges and universities 6.2
  • Architecture and notable buildings 7
  • Art and culture 8
  • Annual events 9
  • Local media 10
  • Transportation 11
  • Sister cities 12
  • Notable people 13
  • See also 14
  • References 15
  • External links 16


Vancouver shares its name with the larger city of Fort Vancouver trading post on the Columbia River. City officials have periodically suggested changing the U.S. city's name to Fort Vancouver to reduce confusion with its northern neighbor. Many Pacific Northwest residents distinguish between the two cities by referring to the Canadian city as "Vancouver, B.C." and the United States one as "Vancouver, Washington," or "Vancouver USA." Local nicknames include: "Vantucky" (though the nickname is often used as a derogatory term)"[9][10][11][12][13][14][15] and "The 'Couv(e)".[16] In 2013, the nickname "Vansterdam" surfaced as a result of the legalization of marijuana in the state of Washington. This nickname has also long been used to refer to Vancouver, B.C. as well. This name is a clear reference to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.[17]


The Marshall House in George C. Marshall.

The Vancouver, Washington, area was inhabited by a variety of Native American tribes, most recently the Chinook and Klickitat nations, with permanent settlements of timber longhouses.[18] The Chinookan and Klickitat names for the area were reportedly Skit-so-to-ho and Ala-si-kas, respectively, meaning "land of the mud-turtles."[19] First European contact was in 1775, with approximately half of the indigenous population dead from smallpox before the Lewis and Clark expedition camped in the area in 1806.[18] Within another fifty years, other actions and diseases such as measles, malaria and influenza had reduced the Chinookan population from an estimated 80,000 "to a few dozen refugees, landless, slaveless and swindled out of a treaty."[18]

Meriwether Lewis wrote that the Vancouver area was "the only desired situation for settlement west of the Rocky Mountains." The first permanent European settlement did not occur until 1824, when Fort Vancouver was established as a fur trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company. From that time on, the area was settled by both the US and Britain under a "joint occupation" agreement. Joint occupation led to the Oregon boundary dispute and ended on June 15, 1846, with the signing of the Oregon Treaty, which gave the United States full control of the area. Before 1845, American Henry Williamson laid out a large claim west of the Hudson's Bay Company (including part of the present-day Port of Vancouver), called Vancouver City and properly registered his claim at the U.S. courthouse in Oregon City, before leaving for California.[20] In 1850, Amos Short traced over the claim of Williamson and named the town Columbia City. It changed to Vancouver in 1855.[21] The City of Vancouver was incorporated on January 23, 1857.[22]

Based on an act in the 1859–60 legislature, Vancouver was briefly the capital of Washington Territory, before capital status was returned to Olympia, Washington by a 2–1 ruling of the territory's supreme court, in accordance with Isaac Stevens' preference and concern that proximity to Oregon might give its southern neighbor undue influence.[23][24][25]

U.S. Army Captain (and future President)

  • City of Vancouver official website, including sesquicentennial timeline
  • Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
  • Vancouver Chamber of Commerce official website
  • Vancouver USA Regional Tourism Office

External links

  1. ^ "Vantucky Police Blotter: Best of 2010". 
  2. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  4. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  6. ^ "City Charter – Article I Government". 
  7. ^ "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder.  
  8. ^ "Best Places to Live". CNN Money. 2005. 
  9. ^ Robison, Peter (29 March 2012). "Fisher Lured to Washington Woods Offering Tax Haven".  
  10. ^ "Vantucky meets Tin Pan Alley". June 1, 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Cafe offers 'Vantucky Strikes Back' T-shirts, humor along with coffee".  
  13. ^ "Vancouver coffee shop Strikes Back and Abides with latest Couve T-shirt promotion". The Oregonian News Network ( 
  14. ^ "Portland's wacky and wonderful neighboring cities.". Stumped in Stumptown. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  15. ^ Jayne, Greg (5 June 2011). "Maneuver by council makes county look like Podunkville (commentary)".  
  16. ^ "Welcome To The 'Couv". 2007-03-21. Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  17. ^ "High-5 North to Vansterdam". 2012-10-05. Retrieved 2013-12-06. 
  18. ^ a b c "History of Vancouver – Early Northwest Native People". City of Vancouver. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  19. ^ "– Native Sons 1900". Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  20. ^ "Images of America DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER," Pat Jollota, p 42
  21. ^ Item 9101.
  22. ^ "History of Vancouver – An Overview of Vancouver's History". City of Vancouver. Retrieved November 18, 2007. 
  23. ^ "Single Vote Robbed Vancouver of State Capitol". The Columbian. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved November 18, 2007. 
  24. ^ "Governor Isaac Stevens selects Olympia as capital of Washington Territory on November 28, 1853.". Retrieved November 18, 2007. 
  25. ^ "Senate Resolution 8636" (PDF). Washington State Legislature. Retrieved November 18, 2007. 
  26. ^ "About Vancouver's 150th Anniversary". City of Vancouver. Retrieved November 18, 2007. 
  27. ^ Annexation History, City of Vancouver website, accessed 2010-07-30.
  28. ^ "Annexation Would Make Vancouver State's Second Largest City". December 23, 2005. Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  29. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  30. ^ "City of Vancouver, Washington, USA". Home page. Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  31. ^ "Access Washington - Welcome to the State of Washington". Home page. Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  32. ^ "Columbia River Bridge Crossings: Historical". Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council. Retrieved November 18, 2007. 
  33. ^ "Climatology of the United States No. 20: VANCOUVER 4 NNE, WA 1971–2000" (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2004. Retrieved 2011-12-08. 
  34. ^ "October Daily Averages for Vancouver, WA (98685)". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-12-08. 
  35. ^  
  36. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  37. ^ Link text, additional text.
  38. ^ "Tax Policy Washington". The Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
  39. ^ "Tax Policy Oregon". The Tax Foundation. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
  40. ^ Jollata, Pat (2004). Images of America: Downtown Vancouver. Arcadia Publishing.  
  41. ^ Vancouver Business Journal Book of Lists 2007, p. 24.
  42. ^ Strombom, Phd., Bruce; Schatzki, Phd., Todd (1 September 2014). "Vancouver Energy Project to Generate $2 Billion in Economic Value". The National Law Review (ANALYSIS GROUP). Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  43. ^ "City of Vancouver Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" (PDF). p. 186. Retrieved 2013-09-19. 
  44. ^ Allan Brettman (June 3, 2010). "City of Vancouver agrees to buy Columbian office building for $18.5 million". The Oregonian. Retrieved April 20, 2012. 
  45. ^ "Quick Facts". SW Washington Convention and Visitors Bureau. Retrieved November 18, 2007. 
  46. ^
  47. ^ http://www.cityofvancouver.uss/default/files/fileattachments/city_council/calendar_event/14776/00_min_-_minutes-april_28_2014.pdf
  48. ^
  49. ^ Mize, Jeffrey (March 18, 2009). "Many mourn loss of Vancouver's Mr. Fireworks".  
  50. ^ Damewood, Andrea (July 27, 2010). "Fourth at the Fort recovers costs, generates warm feelings".  
  51. ^
  52. ^ "Annual Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival 2011". Clark County Live. July 25, 2011. 
  53. ^ Vorensburg, Sue (August 28, 2012). "Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival draws about 13,500 attendees". The Columbian. 
  54. ^
  55. ^ Stewart, Bill (February 8, 1995). "Clark County turns down north-south light rail." The Oregonian, p. A1.
  56. ^ Church, Foster (March 26, 2001). "Vancouver mayor revives discussion of light rail." The Oregonian.
  57. ^ Hamilton, Don (April 19, 2002). "Cities take a second look at light rail/Anti-MAX cities reconsider views".  
  58. ^ Hamilton, Don (April 30, 2004). "Making tracks to the MAX".  
  59. ^
  60. ^ "Updated: Vancouver passes all-ages helmet law". [1]. February 25, 2008. 
  61. ^ "Vancouver city council enacts helmet law".  
  62. ^ "Organizations". Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  63. ^ Rice, Stephanie (February 15, 2013). "Seeking a sister-city bond with Croatia". The Columbian. 
  64. ^ "Vancouver and Dubrovnik to establish a sister-city relationship". Croatian Times. February 13, 2013. 
  65. ^ a b Rice, Stephanie (May 17, 2013). "City has one sister, not sure it can handle another". The Columbian. 
  66. ^ Thomas, Mark (May 30, 2013). "Vancouver becomes Dubrovnik’s twelfth sister city". Englishman in Dubrovnik. 
  67. ^  


See also

NASCAR driver Greg Biffle is a Vancouver native.

Notable people

Vancouver previously had a sister-city relationship with Arequipa, Peru, between 1961 and 1993, but that relationship ended.[65]

The Vancouver City Council recently reviewed a plan to make Dubrovnik, Croatia another sister city for the city. The city council voted on the issue in May 2013. Bravo! Vancouver, a music group responsible for the Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival is reportedly responsible for the relationship, as they have created a wine and jazz festival in Dubrovnik.[63][64][65] On May 29, 2013, the city council unanimously voted to approve the relationship.[66]

Vancouver has two sister cities:[62]

Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Croatia is a sister city to Vancouver.

Sister cities

In 2008, Vancouver passed a citywide law requiring anyone on a wheeled device such as a bicycle, skateboard, scooter or skates to wear a helmet while on any sidewalk, street, trail or other public property. Many local cyclists opposed the law as a misuse of city funds and police efforts, as well as encroachment on personal freedoms. Despite opposition from the public, the Vancouver City Council passed the measure 5-1 with then Mayor Royce Pollard saying, "[S]tatistics be damned. I support this."[60][61]

Pearson Field, located near downtown Vancouver, is the main airport serving the city. The airport is intended primarily for general aviation without any commercial air service. The nearest commercial airport is Portland International Airport (PDX).

Vancouver has always been well served by rail; current freight railroads operating in Vancouver include the BNSF, Union Pacific, and the local shortline Lewis and Clark Railway. Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Vancouver Station. Three routes, the Coast Starlight, the Empire Builder, and the Amtrak Cascades, serve the city.

In 1995, Clark County voters defeated a ballot measure that would have funded extension of Portland's MAX Light Rail system north into Vancouver.[55] Opposition to paying for light rail was strong at that time, but slowly declined over the following several years, eventually leading Vancouver officials to begin discussing the idea again.[56][57] Meanwhile, TriMet reconstituted its planned MAX line to Vancouver as a shorter line running only within Portland, which potentially could later be extended across the river and into Clark County. This extension of the MAX system opened in 2004 as the Yellow Line,[58] running as far north as the Portland Expo Center, approximately 1 mile (2 km) south of downtown Vancouver. Vancouver voters have rejected light rail operations monies in connection with the Columbia River Crossing proposal.[59]

Token coins used in Vancouver during the mid-20th century, including a state sales tax token, private bus fare tokens and one used to pay toll on the Interstate Bridge.

The area's mass transit system is C-TRAN, the Clark County Public Transportation Benefit Area Authority, which operates 135 buses, vanpools, and paratransit vehicles. There are also a number of express routes into Portland's downtown.

Vancouver has two interstate freeways, I-5 and I-205, both of which run north–south, across the Columbia River into Portland and toward Seattle. It also has two heavily travelled state highways within the city limits. SR 14 begins at I-5 in downtown Vancouver and makes its way east. It is a freeway all the way until Camas. SR 500 begins from I-5 at 39th Street in north Vancouver, travels east connecting with I-205, and continues east into the suburb of Orchards where the freeway terminates at Fourth Plain Boulevard, and meets with the south end of north-south-oriented 117th Ave., SR 503. A third state highway, SR 501, starts at I-5 and heads west through downtown and continues along a path that runs between the Columbia River and Vancouver Lake. Route 501 – SR501 dead ends a few miles north of Vancouver.

Vancouver's public transit is serviced by C-TRAN.


  • The Columbian
  • The Independent: A student-operated newspaper of Clark College published weekly during the Fall, Winter and Spring terms of the academic year.
  • The Oregonian (based in Portland, Oregon; this paper also covers some southwest Washington news)
  • The VanCougar: Weekly newspaper of Washington State University Vancouver
  • The Vancouver Business Journal covers local business news[54]
  • The Vancouver Voice was southwest Washington's only alternative periodical, published from 2006 to 2011.
  • The Vancouver Vector is Vancouver's newest alternative newspaper, beginning publication in February 2013.
  • Vancouver Social is a news/media website utilizing social media to cover Clark County.

Vancouver is located within the Portland media market for print, radio, and television media. It does however serve as the hometown for some media.

Local media

Late August features the Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival in Esther Short Park, which brought 13,500 attendees and which is considered the largest jazz festival in the Pacific Northwest.[52][53]

Since the mid-1960s, Vancouver hosted a poor economy, the show was not held in 2009.[49] A shorter, redesigned show debuted in 2010 and brought in approximately 35,000 people. [50] The annual event is now managed by the Fort Vancouver National Trust and features live music, food and entertainment all day on the Fort Vancouver parade grounds, along with a fireworks display synchronized with music.[51]

Annual events

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra first formed in the late 1970s and has been delivering world-class symphonic performances ever since. Conducted and directed by Dr. Salvadore Brotons, the Symphony performs regular season concerts, a chamber music series and occasional theme concerts throughout the year.[48]

The Kiggins Theatre located within the Downtown Vancouver Art District, was built in 1936 by architect Day Hillborn. It was named for J.P. Kiggins, an entrepreneur and politician who cut a swath through town in the early 20th century, serving as Vancouver's mayor for 15 non-consecutive years between 1908 and 1935. It was renovated and reopened in 2011 as independent film and community event venue.

In the early 2000s, Vancouver began seeing a revitalization of local art scene and cultural events. In 2010 there was a movement among local artists to form cooperatives and meet with established local gallery owners for a monthly forum known as "Art Conversations." Many of Vancouver's art galleries are located in downtown Vancouver, and in 2014, the City Council formally designated an "Arts District" in the downtown core.[47]

Kiggins Theatre was designed by architect Day Walter Hilborn.

Art and culture

Many of these buildings have been re-purposed. The 1867 Slocum House, an Italianate villa style residence originally built one block south of its current location in Esther Short Park, was moved to its present location in 1966 and now houses a winery and art gallery.[46] The Carnegie Library was expanded in the 1940s, becoming the Clark County Historical Museum after a new library was built in 1963. Other buildings have been torn down for urban renewal or renovated to house professional offices such as lawyers and accountants.

Other notable buildings in Vancouver include:

Mother Joseph was one of the first architects in the region, and because of its relatively long history, Vancouver contains a variety of buildings. Homes vary from Victorians and craftsman bungalows downtown, to small wartime tract housing and ranch-styles mid-town, with rural styles and larger homes in the outer ring. In addition to the reconstructed Fort Vancouver at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, the city was named one of the National Register of Historic Places' "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" for 2003.[45]

Architecture and notable buildings

Colleges and universities

Vancouver is also home to the Washington School for the Deaf and Washington State School for the Blind, and Home Choice Academy, a school for home-schoolers.

Evergreen School District's elementary schools include Burton, Hearthwood, Ellsworth, Image, Orchards, Sunset, Silver Star, Sifton, Pioneer, Burnt Bridge Creek (BBC), York, Crestline, Riverview, Marrion, Fisher's Landing, Mill Plain, Columbia Valley, Harmony, Illahee, and Endeavour.

The district also consists of six middle schools: Covington Middle School, Cascade Middle School, Frontier Middle School, Pacific Middle School, Wy'East Middle School, and Shahala Middle School.

The Evergreen School District covers most of east Vancouver and has seven high schools: Evergreen High School, Mountain View High School, Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School, Heritage High School, Union High School, Legacy High School, and the Clark County Skills Center.

Vancouver Public Schools' elementary schools include Sarah J. Anderson, Chinook, Eisenhower, Felida, Ben Franklin, Fruit Valley Community Learning Center, Harney, Hazel Dell, Hough, Martin Luther King, Lake Shore, Lincoln, Marshall, Minnehaha, Peter S. Ogden, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sacajawea, Salmon Creek, Truman, Walnut Grove, and Washington.

The Vancouver Public Schools cover most of west Vancouver and has seven high schools: Hudson's Bay High School, Columbia River High School, Fort Vancouver High School, Lewis and Clark High School, Skyview High School, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, and Vancouver iTech Preparatory (grades 6–12). It also has six middle schools: Alki Middle School, Discovery Middle School, Gaiser Middle School, Jason Lee Middle School, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, and McLoughlin Middle School.

Vancouver has two school districts: Vancouver Public Schools and Evergreen School District.

Public schools

Clark College chime tower, with the Cannell library in the background.


  • Library Square – Mixed use project which includes a condominiums building, hotel/condominiums building, offices building, and a new main library.
  • The Luxe – six-story offices and condominiums building.
  • Waterfront Redevelopment – Which include 10K Residents Envision, Retails, Offices, Parks, and more.
  • Prestige Plaza – six-story building which includes condominiums and offices.

The Fort Vancouver Regional Library District opened a new, award-winning library on C Street at Evergreen Boulevard in 2011. Future plans on C Street include a new Marriott hotel and roughly 250 new condominiums. Other planned projects in the downtown area include:

The Columbian newspaper finished building a new seven-story building adjacent to the Hilton in 2008. Early in 2010, The Columbian filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the building defaulted to Bank of America. In June 2010, the City of Vancouver agreed to purchase the former downtown Columbian office building for use as a new city hall. The City bought the two-year-old building and 5.14 acres (20,800 m2) for $18.5 million, a fraction of the $41.5 million sale price the owners of The Columbian office building had been asking prior to filing for bankruptcy. In 2011, the City consolidated five separate buildings housing 300 employees into one at the new City Hall, located at 415 W. 6th St. The move is saving the city approximately $1 million a year in facility lease and maintenance costs. [44]

The Clark County Historical Museum

In 1997, the city of Vancouver decided to dedicate the next 15–20 years to redeveloping and revitalizing the downtown core, west of I-5 and south of Evergreen Boulevard. The first projects started in the early 2000s with the construction of many tall condominium structures around Esther Short park. The most lauded outside investment was the construction of a Hilton hotel directly across from the park.

Downtown revitalization

# Employer # of Employees
1 PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center 2,841
2 Evergreen Public Schools 2,455
3 Vancouver Public Schools 2,203
4 County of Clark 1,561
5 Fred Meyer 1,500
6 Clark College 985
7 City of Vancouver 962
8 The Vancouver Clinic 912
9 BNSF Railway 800
10 Kaiser Permanente 724
PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center
The hospital is the largest employer in the city of Vancouver.

According to the City's 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[43] the largest employers in the city are:

Largest employers

The Vancouver Energy project is a proposed crude oil transport hub in the Port of Vancouver USA. It has a tentative construction start date of December 2014 and estimated operation date of 2016. It is estimated, that this project would produce the equivalent of $1.6 billion in employment income during the terminal's construction and for its first 15 years of operation. [42]

The Port of Vancouver USA operates a port on the Columbia River, which separates Oregon to the south and Washington to the north. It handles over 400 ocean-going vessels annually, as well as a number of barges which ply the river and its tributaries as far as Lewiston, Idaho.

As the old-growth forests were depleted and heavy industry left the United States, Vancouver's economy has largely changed to high tech and service industry jobs, with many residents commuting to Portland. Vancouver contains the corporate headquarters for Nautilus, Inc. and The Holland (parent company of the Burgerville, USA restaurant chain).[41]

The economic history of Vancouver reflects the region. Moving from a salmon- and trade-based indigenous economy by the Chinook people, the Hudson's Bay Company pioneered extractive industries such as the fur trade and timber. Subsistence agricultural gave way to market and export crops such as apples, strawberries and prunes. Largely bypassed by the railroad in the 1880s, when the Oregon Steam Navigation company would ferry trains across the river downstream from St. Helens, Oregon to Kalama, Washington, early downtown development was focused around Washington Street (where ferries arrived), lumber and Vancouver Barracks activities such as a large spruce mill for manufacturing airplanes. A 1908 railroad swing bridge across the Columbia allowed greater industrial developments such as the Standifer Shipyard during the first world war. With the Interstate Bridge and Bonneville Dam Vancouver saw an industrial boom in the 1940s, including the Kaiser shipyard and Alcoa, as well as a Boise Cascade paper mill, just west of the Interstate Bridge.[40]

The taxation and demographics of the area depresses the retail sector of Vancouver's economy. Oregon has stricter development laws to protect the timber industry; therefore, Vancouver tends to attract a higher proportion of the region's sprawling development. The voting base also lead to rejection of extension of Portland's light-rail system into the city for several years. In 2013, Washington transitioned away from being a control state.

The Vancouver economy is characterized by border economics with neighboring Portland, Oregon. The state of Washington levies no individual or corporate income taxes and levies a property tax below the national average and a sales tax above the national median.[38] The State of Oregon has even lower property taxes and no sales tax but one of the highest state income taxes.[39] As a result, many Vancouver residents prefer to shop in neighboring Portland where they do not pay sales taxes then live and work in Vancouver where they do not pay state income tax. (Washington residents who work in Oregon must pay Oregon income tax.) For the same reasons, the city is popular with retirees. Conversely, the city is less favored by students and young adults. In 2003, 70% of workers in Vancouver worked in Clark County. There is a risk in sales tax avoidance because Washington has a use tax due on all purchases made in Oregon that are then returned to Washington. Vancouver residents "shop at their own risk" when attempting to avoid the sales tax in Washington, although the rule is rarely, if ever, enforced except for purchases requiring registration, such as motor vehicles.

The banner of the Uptown Village neighborhood


The median income for a household in the city was $41,618, and the median income for a family was $47,696. Males had a median income of $37,306 versus $26,940 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,192. 9.4% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.1% of those under the age of 18 and 8.2% of those 65 and older.

In the city the population was spread out, with 26.7% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 32.1% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 96.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.

There were 56,628 households out of which 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.3% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.06.

As of the census of 2000, there were 143,560 people, there were 56,628 households, and 36,298 families living in the city. The population density is 3,354.7 people per square mile (1,295.4/km²). There were 60,039 housing units at an average density of 1,403.0 per square mile (541.7/km²). According to the 2010 US Census, The racial makeup of the city was 76.2% White, 2.9% African American, 1.0% Native American, 5.0% Asian, 1.0% Pacific Islander, and 4.80% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.4% of the population.Page text.[37] 16.4% were of German, 9.2% English, 8.4% Irish and 7.9% American ancestry. 89.2% spoke English, 5.1% Spanish, 3.2% Russian, 1.4% Ukrainian and 1.1% Vietnamese as their first language. A large increase in persons with Russian or Ukrainian as their primary language has occurred.

2000 census

The median age in the city was 35.9 years. 24% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.9% were from 25 to 44; 25.3% were from 45 to 64; and 12.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.8% male and 51.2% female.

There were 65,691 households of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.7% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.02.

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 161,791 people, 65,691 households, and 40,246 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,482.4 inhabitants per square mile (1,344.6/km2). There were 70,005 housing units at an average density of 1,506.8 per square mile (581.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.9% White, 2.9% African American, 1.0% Native American, 5.0% Asian, 1.0% Pacific Islander, 4.3% from other races, and 4.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.4% of the population.

2010 census


Climate data for Vancouver, Washington
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 65
Average high °F (°C) 45.6
Average low °F (°C) 32.4
Record low °F (°C) −8
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.81
Snowfall inches (cm) 3.2
Avg. precipitation days 24 19 18.9 18 17 9.3 4.6 5.0 8.6 13.0 25.0 19.8 182.2
Avg. snowy days 0.8 0.9 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 0.8 2.7
Source: NOAA [33] The Weather Channel (Oct record low) [34]

Because many Vancouver residents work in Portland, there is typically significant rush hour traffic congestion on two bridges that cross the Columbia River — the Interstate Bridge and the Glenn Jackson Bridge. In 2006 there were 278,043 weekday vehicle crossings on the two bridges.[32]

Vancouver lies just north of Portland, Oregon and shares a similar climate. Both are classified as dry-summer subtropical (Csb) on the Willamette Valley, Vancouver has historically seen colder temperatures, including "silver thaw" storms where freezing rain cakes limbs and power lines. Such storms can paralyze Vancouver. This occasionally freezes the river, and in 1916 cut electric power in the city for almost two weeks. Rainfall occurs frequently throughout the fall, winter, and spring, but ceases around the middle of June, with dry and warm weather lasting through September. Average annual precipitation is 42 inches (1,100 mm). Heavy snowfalls are infrequent and snow often falls and doesn't stick, with major snowstorms only occurring every 2–4 years. Close proximity to the river was also a concern for flooding, before dams constricted the river, destroying features such as Celilo Falls. Periodic floods have been a nuisance, with two of the most destructive in June 1894 and May, 1948. The 1948 Memorial Day flood almost topped the Interstate Bridge's support piers and completely destroyed nearby Vanport, Oregon. Other unusual storms include the Columbus Day windstorm of 1962 and an April 5, 1972 tornado which rated F3 on the Fujita scale, striking a local school. A F1 tornado struck on January 10, 2008 just after noon causing moderate damage along a 2-mile (3.2 km) path from Vancouver Lake to the unincorporated Hazel Dell area.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 49.86 square miles (129.14 km2), of which, 46.46 square miles (120.33 km2) is land and 3.40 square miles (8.81 km2) is water.[2]

The Columbia River waterfront

Vancouver is located at 45°38′1″ North, 122°36′11″ West (45.633743, −122.603011)[29] just north of the Cascade Range and just east of where the Willamette River enters the Columbia. The city of Vancouver[30] is in the Western Lowlands region of Washington.[31] When clouds do not blanket the Puget-Willamette trough formed by the Cascade and Coast Range, Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens, Mount Jefferson and Mount Adams are all visible from Vancouver.

Geography and climate

More than one-third of the Vancouver urban area's population lives in unincorporated urban area north of the city limits, including the communities of Hazel Dell, Felida, Orchards and Salmon Creek. If county leaders had approved a major annexation plan in 2006, Vancouver would have passed Tacoma and Spokane to become the state's second-largest city.[28]

Vancouver has recently experienced conflicts with other Clark County communities because of rapid growth in the area. The city's first annexation more than doubled its size in 1909, with the largest annexation of 1997 adding 11,258 acres (45.56 km2) and 58,171 residents.[27] As a result of urban growth and the 1997 annexation, Vancouver is often thought of as split between two areas, East and West Vancouver, divided by NE Andresen Road. West Vancouver is home to downtown Vancouver and some of the more historical parts of the city, as well as recent high-density mixed-use development.

Separated from Oregon until 1917, when the Interstate Bridge began to replace ferries, Vancouver had three shipyards just downstream which produced ships for World War I before World War II brought an enormous economic boom. An Alcoa aluminum plant opened on September 2, 1940, using inexpensive power from the nearby New Deal hydropower turbines at Bonneville Dam. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Henry Kaiser opened a shipyard next to the U.S. Army base, which by 1944 employed as many as 36,000 people in a twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week production of liberty ships, LST's, and "baby flat tops." This influx of shipyard workers boosted the population from 18,000 to over 80,000 in just a few months, leading to the creation of the Vancouver Housing Authority and six new residential developments: Fruit Valley, Fourth Plain Village, Bagley Downs, Ogden Meadows, Burton Homes and McLoughlin Heights. Each of these was later incorporated into the city, and are well-known neighborhoods, while the neighboring "shipyard city" of Vanport, Oregon, would be destroyed by the Memorial Day flood of 1948.

Army presence in Vancouver was very strong, as the Department of the Columbia built and moved to Vancouver Barracks, the military reservation for which stretched from the river to what is currently Fourth Plain Boulevard and was the largest Army base in the region until surpassed by Fort Lewis, 120 miles (190 km) to the north. Built on the old company gardens and skirmish range, Pearson Army Field (later Pearson Field) was a key facility, and at one point the US Army Signal Corps operated the largest spruce cut-up plant in the world to provide much-needed wood for airplanes. Vancouver became the end point for two ultra-long flights from Moscow, USSR over the North Pole. The first of these flights was performed by Valery Chkalov in 1937 on a Tupolev ANT-25RD airplane. Chkalov was originally scheduled to land at an airstrip in nearby Portland, Oregon, but redirected at the last minute to Vancouver's Pearson Airfield. Today there is a street named for him in Vancouver. In 1975 an obelisk was erected at Pearson Field commemorating this event.

City of Vancouver as shown in 1888 map from Clarke County Auditor, Washington Territory.


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