Vancouver

Vancouver

Vancouver is the fourth largest city in Washington State with over 167,000 residents according to the US Census. It is the county seat of Clark County and is part of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area. The mighty Columbia River borders it to the south which divides Washington and Oregon. Mount Hood and Mount St Helens as well as other Cascade mountains are visible from Vancouver.

Named after explorer, George Vancouver, it shares the name with Vancouver in British Columbia. Explorers Lewis and Clark camped here in 1806 when Meriwether Lewis claimed that the Vancouver area was “the only desired situation for settlement west of the Rocky Mountains.” After settlement in the 1800s, Fort Vancouver was established as a fur trading post for Hudson’s Bay Company and was the center for fur trading in the Pacific Northwest. Vancouver was jointly occupied by US and England until the US was given control over the area up to the 49th parallel in 1846. Vancouver boasted a strong military reservation and to this day, 22 Victorian homes remain which were built to house the US Army officers who were stationed at the Vancouver Barracks. These homes, also known as Officers Row, are on the National Historic Register.

The Columbia River was the main attraction to getting Vancouver established and that attraction continues today. Recreational opportunities abound on the river from boating, to some of the best fishing around. There is currently an effort underway to reconnect Downtown Vancouver with the river which includes a 35 acre private waterfront development project, 7 acre waterfront park, and access infrastructure. Abundant hiking trails such as the Columbia River Renaissance Trail and bike trails are found throughout the area. In fact, Walking Magazine awarded Vancouver the Walkable Community Award. There is a thriving community garden program with opportunities to plant your own at one of several gardens: Marshall Community Park Garden, Haagen Community Park Garden, Campus Garden, Ellsworth Road Garden, and Fruit Valley Park. The urban forestry movement is focused on expanding tree canopy coverage for recreation, stormwater management, and other ecological purposes. There is also a thriving farmers market downtown from spring to fall.

Vancouver has a mix of older homes in established neighborhoods, mid-century homes on larger lots, and new construction neighborhoods which include both single family homes and townhome communities. There are also a number of condo buildings available in both the downtown area and further out.