The Vancouver 180º

Wind back the clock a few decades and Vancouver was home primarily to suburbanites of which a fair percentage of roughly 35% commuted to jobs in Portland and even a few over to Nike and Intel in Washington County, OR. Downtown Vancouver was in pretty rough shape and the city was the butt of fair number of jokes around the metro area most notably coming from Portland. That all changed in the mid to late 1990s when the city led by Mayor Royce Pollard decided to turn things around in the heart of city.

Here we are back in 2023 and Vancouver has become a popular hot spot for residents and tourists alike. The Waterfront is just the latest in the renovations that have brought a legit urban buzz to our once dingy and frankly, sleazy Downtown.

Last week the Couv Life blog posted an article about Vancouver’s recent surge in local and regional popularity, a link here to that article. One of the drivers of this newfound popularity mentioned in that article is the disturbing rise in violent crime in Portland. The nation as a whole has seen a significant uptick in crime overall in the last few years, but Portland went from one of the safest big cities in America to one of the more violent in recent years.

Now if we are honest Vancouver has seen an uptick as well but Portland went from below the national average to nearly three times the national average on murders and in fact has a higher homicide rate than New York City right now! Vancouver has not been above the national average in the last decade at all. Murders are something that can make people decide to leave a community. Vancouver has benefitted from Portland ‘Flight’ in recent years. Vancouver however has also suffered a bit from at least a little bit of Portland spillover issues with the homeless population and some crime issues meandering across the river.

Thus far the 180º change is that Vancouver’s Downtown is now the clean, sleek, and fun place to be and Portland’s is looking like a third world nightmare. Vancouver has also been steadily adding jobs and that is taking some pressure off the bridges into Portland. People who live in Washington State definitely prefer to work here as well, since commuting sucks, and Oregon squeezes that extra 9%-11% out of your paycheck with the income tax for which Washingtonians have no representation. Hmm, didn’t we fight a revolution in this country largely over taxation without representation?

It is imperative that our local city leaders pay close attention to regional dynamics with crime, homelessness and other important trends as Vancouver’s policies can lead us in the wrong direction despite the fact they have been leading us in the right direction over the last 20 years. We the people need to keep a sharp eye on the city council an pay attention to the policy moves. Politicians are not to be trusted they must be closely monitored and when they foul up, the ballot box is our solution. We should also pay very close attention to local elections for District Attorney. Look at Portland, 20 years ago it was America’s darling, today it is a sad sack of failure. That all happened over a short two decades, glory to catastrophe in 20 years. Let’s make sure we don’t make the same mistakes.

OK enough of that, condo activity was light last week and I will be resuming the community spotlight series soon with the Columbia Shores area up next.

2 thoughts on “The Vancouver 180º

  1. Rod great message this week. The number one thing we need is a couple of good business-minded people running for City Council. I enjoy your weekly articles. Keep up the good work.

    Fingers crossed we will have a performing Art center in the downtown core to announce soon.

    Kathy McDonald

    Executive Director

    SW WA Center for the Arts

    360-607-8959 cell

    360-218-7133 office




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