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About Vancouver

Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington is a city on the north bank of the Columbia River, in the state of Washington, USA. It is the county seat of Clark County. As of July 1, 2005 it had a population of 157,493 making it the fourth largest city in Washington state. It is part of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area.

Downtown Vancouver, showing the round "Smith Tower"

Downtown Vancouver, showing the round "Smith Tower"

The larger city of Vancouver, British Columbia is located 305 miles (491 km) north of Vancouver, Washington. Both cities were named for sea captain George Vancouver, but the Canadian city was not incorporated until 1886, nearly thirty years after Vancouver, Washington, and more than sixty years after the name Fort Vancouver was first used. City officials have periodically suggested changing the city's name to Fort Vancouver, Vancouver USA or even Old Vancouver to reduce confusion with Vancouver, British Columbia. Washington residents distinguish between the two cities by referring to the Canadian Vancouver as "Vancouver, B.C."


At censusGR2 of 2000 , there were 143,560 people, 56,628 households, and 36,298 families living in the city. The population density is 1,295.4/km² (3,354.7/mi²). There were 60,039 housing units at an average density of 541.7/km² (1,403.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.81% White, 2.50% African American, 0.97% Native American, 4.51% Asian, 0.54% Pacific Islander, 2.86% from other races, and 3.80% from two or more races. 6.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

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.

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.

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. 12.2% of the population and 9.4% of families were below the poverty line. Of the total population, 16.1% of those under the age of 18 and 8.2% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

The banner of the Uptown Village neighborhood.
The banner of the Uptown Village neighborhood.


The economy of Vancouver has parallelled that of the region generally. 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 to market and export crops such as apples, strawberries and prunes. Largely bypassed by the railroad in the 1880's, 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 1940's, including the Kaiser shipyard and Alcoa, as well as a Boise Cascade paper mill, just west of the Interstate Bridge.[5]

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, Oregon. As of 2007, the largest employers in Clark County are government agencies (including school districts) and Kroger corporation's Fred Meyer grocery stores. Rouding out the list are "high tech" manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard, WaferTech, SEH America and labor subcontractors such as Volt Services Group. Vancouver also contains the corporate headquarters for Nautilus, Inc. and The Holland (parent company of the Burgerville, USA restaurant chain). [6]

Downtown is home to a variety of independently-owned small businesses, while outer areas are dominated by clone town strip malls and franchise stores.

Vancouver is also increasingly popular with retirees, partially because of its proximity to Portland and Washington's lack of a state income tax.


Public schools

Vancouver has two school districts:

The Vancouver School District covers most of west Vancouver and has six high schools: Hudson's Bay High School, Columbia River High School, Fort Vancouver High School, Lewis and Clark High School, Skyview High School, and the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics (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.

The Evergreen School District covers most of east Vancouver and has four high schools: Evergreen High School, Mountain View High School, Heritage High School, and Union High School.

Vancouver is also home to the Washington School for the Deaf and Washington State School for the Blind.

Private schools

Colleges and universities

Architecture and Notable Buildings

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 "McMansions" 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.[7]

Other notable buildings in Vancouver include:

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. It was moved to its present location at Esther Short Park in 1966 and now houses a community theatre company.[8]. The Carnegie Library was expanded in the 1940's, becoming the Clark County historical museum after a new library was built in 1963.[11] Other buildings have been torn down for urban renewal or renovated to house professional offices such as lawyers and accountants.


Annual events

Each Fourth of July, Vancouver hosts a fireworks display on the grounds of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site that draws many people to the city. The display, which typically runs for 45 minutes, is the largest west of the Mississippi River.

Late August features the Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival in Esther Short Park, the largest jazz festival in SW Washington.

Each September sees St. Joseph Catholic School host the Vancouver Sausage Fest, drawing attendance upwards of 100,000 over three days.

Arts groups

Major newspapers

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Vancouver, Washington

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