Friday, October 23, 2020

Will Vancouver Answer the Call?

The phone is ringing... opportunity is calling... will our fair city pick up? Vancouver has an amazing opportunity right now for both jobs and residents across the spectrum of suburbia and urbanites alike. Our neighbor to the south has been shedding people to the suburbs for several years and this year other issues are pushing residents out in droves. Meanwhile urbanites in Portland are now witnessing the rise of the Vancouver urban city scene and for the first time, maybe ever, they have an alternative to Portland's "big city" neighborhoods like the Pearl and South Waterfront.

Now let's be clear, Vancouver USA will not replace Portland as the center of the metro area anytime soon and probably not ever. But that city has really set itself up to attract a specific type of resident. Basically those looking for the walk, bike, and transit only lifestyle. Vancouver can appeal to some of those people but also to those that still want to at least own a vehicle and travel independently when they want to. Portland's lackluster effort on the city highways and freeways is a clear indicator that travel by car will not improve anytime soon.

Vancouver finds itself in a prime spot to attract both residents and employers looking for tax savings and a more traditional lifestyle for their workers should those workers choose. But they won't have to alienate the employees that want that sustainable walkable neighborhood. Vancouver has a downtown and waterfront area that still has usable land, and a council that is considered to be one of the easiest for developers to work with. A pro-business environment without sacrificing the common sense approach to a sustainable community.

Our city needs to go get em' so to speak. Developers and business leaders are sometimes operating in a bubble and if Vancouver USA is outside the bubble our local leaders may need to penetrate their market with advertising and committees designed to get the word out.

COVID-19 will pass and we will get back to a more normal pattern and our city needs to take advantage of our amazing setup to grab both residents and employers which help all of us enjoy a better lifestyle with a stronger economy and higher wages. 

For Portland they love having a workforce based in Vancouver, it helps pad their taxes with non-resident income. It is literally free money for them. But more and more Vancouver residents are seeking jobs on OUR side of the river as they grow weary of Oregon's egregious taxation without representation scheme. Furthermore Portland's tolling scheme is clearly aimed at Clark County commuters. Vancouver needs to hyper focus on employers, large employers that want their employees to have a great community to live in, with an easy commute, and low taxes. Vancouver is that community and we have the commercial, industrial and residential base to support whatever an employer needs.

Here's to a great 2021 and beyond.

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