Vancouver, Washington

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What's it like to live in Vancouver?

What is it like to live in Vancouver, WA?

Originally Answered: What is Vancouver, Washington like?
Vancouver, WA is the country cousin of Portland, OR, located just across the river. Vancouver is more conservative than Portland and Portlanders stereotype Vancouver residents as monster truck driving rednecks with mullets. Most Vancouver residents are just normal people who live here for a lower cost of living and more house for the dollar.

Downtown Vancouver is very nice and up and coming (and houses and apartments are much more expensive than the rest of Vancouver). It has older buildings, many restaurants and breweries. A recently developed waterfront area was specifically built to attract more people to Vancouver than Portland on the weekends.

East Vancouver is very new. It has many apartments and single family homes. Its characterized by strip malls and chain restaurants.

What do I need to know before I move from Portland, OR to Vancouver, WA?

You will likely never drive to Portland again unless absolutely necessary or on Sunday at 6am. Why? Traffic. Both the 5 and 205 bridges are nightmares one direction or the other virtually all the time. Then, there’s parking in Portland which you already know about.

You will LOVE that there is no state income tax after OR’s high taxes, of course, you’ll now pay 9% sales tax and pump your own gas.

The housing costs are significantly lower. Rents for apartments are a nice 2 bedroom under $1600, 3 - bedrooms under $2000. Houses a little higher. To buy is significantly less - you can buy nice houses in the $400K price range. You get more space for your dollar as well.

You may have a negative preconceived notion of the Vancouver downtown, but it’s really happening lately. Lots of bars, restaurants and shops. Lots of new building for housing and retail, especially at the waterfront where a huge development of both is underway. It’s not Portland yet, but you’ll be able to chill and hang out at lots of cool places.

It’s not as weird, though still liberal. Vancouver went 90% for Bernie.

The crime and homeless problem is nothing like Portland. I feel very safe here and am rarely hassled by homeless folks.

We also have the Columbia River, and a nice river walk with stunning views of Portland. You can also drive the Gorge on the WA side which is more forest-y and curvy roads. Cross over on 5 or 6 bridges, including Bridge of the Gods, to OR.

All in all, I’m glad I live here. It’s nice. :)

What is it like to live in Vancouver, WA?

I live in East Vancouver and travel to Portland at least two times a week. There is a big difference between Portland and Vancouver, from my perspective. Vancouver is more of a young family town, with good schools, and kid oriented activities. Portland is more of a singles' city, with a lot of cultural activities. In addition there is a feeling of community in Portland that I don't feel in Vancouver. Each little sub section of Portland has its own unique personality. There are plenty of independently-owned businesses, and great food. Where as in Vancouver, there are numerous strip malls with national franchises. Public transportation in Portland is great, where as in Vancouver, it takes a long time to go from one side of the city to the other. Vancouver people don't want Portland people coming across the river to disrupt their suburban lifestyle. Most Vancouver people don't venture across the Columbia River into Portland. Politically, Vancouver is much more conservative than Portland. You might ask why don't I move into Portland, which is a great question. The reason is taxes. It is much less expensive to live in Vancouver, and there is no state income tax in Washington.

As someone considering a move to the Vancouver area, how concerned should I be about what's going on in Portland or in other parts of WA?

You have to understand that 'what's going on in Portland' is vastly blown out of proportion by right wing assholes, Fox News and opportunistic vloggers.

While bad and growing, Portland's (and Vancouver's via spillover/proximity) homeless and crime problems are minimal compared to other major US cities (Oakland, SF, Chicago, etc.).

I know enough to not take what either side has to say as the gospel truth and that both sides are either overblowing or downplaying how things are depending on which side they're on.

I moved to Salmon Creek (Vancouver) from Los Angeles last year. It's nice, and relatively quiet/boring. It's definitely cheaper than LA, but not mind-blowingly cheaper. I have several friends that moved from Los Angeles to Portland last year and love it. I honestly don't think crime should be a factor in your decision as it doesn't seem, to me anyways, to be that prevalent here. However, I do think the cost of living here should be something you need to look into. It's not the worst I've seen, but it's not exactly cheap either.

As someone also from LA, although 8 years ago now, I laugh when people are paranoid about crime. Vancouver is a safe place to live. If you're a victim of a crime it's probably just going to be someone digging through your car or stealing the cat convertor. I've lived in the "worst" part of Vancouver and it was so much better than living in Inglewood.

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