The Heat is On

Jet skier on Columbia, 2009

Well hello summer, what’s got you so hot under the collar? Upper nineties yesterday and a little more of that today! Yikes it IS July, isn’t it? Too bad we can’t capture this heat and convert it to energy, anything over 90° is wasted heat in my opinion. Alas, we can’t really do that, but we can take a great sigh of relief knowing that this kind of 90 plus weather is short-lived round these parts. Yay!

I had a late lunch with the family over in Portland Saturday. What! Portland! Egad man, what was I thinking? Don’t forget, I did write a post about occasionally driving past the SR-14 interchange, remember? Terror of the Bridges. I’m no hypocrite 😉

Saturday Afternoon, Hidden Bay Cafe, Portland, OR

Anyhow, we went to a little marina cafe called Hidden Bay Cafe that serves one of the yacht marinas on the island. You know what is really cool about all the stuff on the north shore of Hayden Island and Tomahawk Island? You get to look across the Columbia River at the ‘Couv’ 🙂

With the new waterfront coming online, Vancouver’s urban skyline is taking on some size. It isn’t that our buildings are super tall, they aren’t, but they are tall enough to rise up well above the trees and other obstructions to create an identifiable urban skyline. Now that skyline will stretch further west to give Vancouver USA a larger footprint on the horizon, so to speak.

Vancouver Waterfront from Hayden Island, Winter 2018

Several riverfront places on Hayden Island offer up nice views of our ever-increasing cosmopolitan landscape. I do so enjoy the river vistas from both banks. It will be interesting to see what Portland decides to do with the property immediately across from the Port of Vancouver USA Terminal One. That used to be part of a Hotel Complex including the infamous Thunderbird Hotel that was destroyed in what Portland fire officials called “a suspicious fire.” Portland was going to have a retail complex on that spot and that is just ridiculous. Honestly, Oregon should just cede that Island over to us. Here they have this amazing urban island in the middle of the Great River of the West, and what do they think they should do with a premium waterfront view parcel? Retail. A Target store was proposed and got some serious looks from the city. Brilliant, what a bunch of idiots.

When America’s Vancouver got an opportunity to recapture our Columbia River waterfront, they knew exactly what to do. It will be interesting to see how that former Thunderbird site ultimately develops now that we are pushing forward with a spectacular one-two punch of the Waterfront and the Terminal One projects.

Ah the ‘Couv’ life; it is good. Still better than Portland.

Vancouver from east end of Hayden Island, Winter 2018
Winter 2018 from Hayden Island



My Birthday in the ‘Couv’

Living in the America’s Vancouver is pretty good, but today I am livin’ in the ‘Couv’ and it’s my birthday! What to do tonight, where to go, who’s got the best free birthday drinks? My wife banged up her knee over the weekend so I’m not sure about what we are doing tonight. Whether it’s birthday at home or somewhere in Vancouver USA, it will be fun.

Over the weekend I posted some pictures of Mount Hood from behind the Walmart Super Center on 4th Plain at Ward road. How many places have Walmart with a view? Some I’d reckon but few and far between I’m certain.

I was showing a house to a prospective buyer over the weekend and I noticed a two mountain peek-a-boo vista from the two back bedrooms upstairs. This was not fancy home on the hill, just a 25 year track home priced well under the county-wide median. But there was both Adams and St. Helens with their thin summer snow caps glistening in the sunshine.

All over Clark County you find these glimpses of nature’s grandeur. Smack dab in the middle of a city there it is, the mountains or trees, ferns and creeks, rivers and lakes. Damn, we got it good here friends.

There will come a time when you can’t get a good shot from behind that Walmart. One of these days they just might build on that grassy field between 162nd Avenue and 137th in the Orchards area. But for now it’s a great spot to bird watch or gawk at the mountain 😉

Well if you want to park you car and look at the view or watch the birds, this is a decent spot in the Orchards area in NE Vancouver. This is just one of scores of little places you can soak up some delicious Northwest scenery and let go of that big sigh of relief… Ahhhhh thank God I don’t live in Portland 🙂

You can park on the waterfront trail just east of Who Song and Larry’s restaurant and watch the sailboats glide along the Mighty Columbia River, or even sit in the little amphitheatre near the cruise ship dock and watch the new Waterfront buildings rise up over the river. There are wonderful vistas all over this town.

Or you can hang out on the WSUV central ‘quad’ where you can peer down the Mount St. Helens corridor or the Mount Hood Corridor and enjoy majestic views of those two mountains with the sound of fountains splashing and the bustle of students scurrying about; or children in the summertime.

The ‘Couv’ has a little bit of something for everyone, and for a guy like me that likes a nice view, we have a great deal of those to share.

Meanwhile, on the waterfront… no not the Marlon Brando movie silly, Vancouver USA Waterfront! It seems that the 6th and 7th buildings on the new waterfront are underway. Those steel pilings bottom right in the photo, will be driven into the ground to create a ‘cofferdam’ to keep the water from the Columbia River from seeping into the 30 foot deep hole they are digging to erect the 12 floor Kirkland Tower and it’s 8 story companion Indigo Hotel. Besides the seven buildings now done or underway, the Grant Street Pier and the city park on the shore, only one project from Phase One has yet to break ground and that is the Timberhouse.

Timberhouse is one of the most unusual projects because it will be constructed from cross laminated timber and become the tallest wooden building in the US surpassing Portland’s under construction 11 story CLT building when it tops out at 12 floors. Neither building will match Vancouver BC’s 18 story CLT building however.

From Summit Development website

Timberhouse is planned for block three directly behind (North of) Kirkland Tower and Hotel Indigo. I’m not sure where the Mayor’s office is in the City Hall building, but if it faces the river, she might lose her view.

Ah, the ‘Couv’ life; it is good, and it’s my birthday 🙂

Mid-Week 4th

Oh the dreaded Wednesday Independence Day. No real holiday weekend when this happens. But none-the-less we shall celebrate our independence mid-week with as much of a frenzied jubilee as ever. Inside the incorporated city limits of Vancouver the fireworks portion will be severely neutered as the ordinance banning most fireworks is in play this year.

As is typical a few idiot yahoos that couldn’t control their inner six-year-old destroyed the crazy and fun celebrations of the other 99%. So pets will be happier as well as the ‘get off my lawn’ crowd. But the “Couv’ is much more than the incorporated city of Vancouver, Washington. As I have oft pointed out, nearly half of our citizens reside in urban unincorporated neighborhoods governed by Clark County which does allow the fireworks of a more robust style.

Well, Madam Mayor, perhaps it’s time to exercise the city’s claim on Orchards and complete the annexation that was supposed to happen nearly 20 years ago. Then you can avoid the Independence Day war-zone in that area of some 70,000 people next year. You won’t be able to get Hazel Dell or Felida that easy, but you know, trying to pitch it on July 5th, might work with the whole fireworks angle in your pocket 😉

I like fireworks, I like the crazy ‘Couv’ 4th of July celebrations of past years, but I was among those that grew weary of the morons that started mid-June and continued through mid-July. One or two days of crazy fireworks is more than enough, yet some could not restrain themselves.

So it will be interesting to see how much more quiet this year will be. I live right on the boundary between the unincorporated greater Orchards and the City proper. I would imagine the booms and bangs will be north of me and the more silent areas to the south. We shall see.

Whether you reside in the city proper or one of her many neighborhoods in the UGB, have a wonderful Fourth of July. Because the with or without home fireworks the ‘Couv’ Life is good.