Autumn Flashing Some Color

We are still a week or more away from peak fall color and this year seems to be a tad muted. Some professional reports suggest that a less vibrant display is likely due to our dry May and June. None-the-less we have a nice display coming into “bloom.”

This latest batch of sunny and warm weather has produced a golden opportunity to walk through the many parks and along the scores of local trails and soak up the autumn beauty of Vancouver USA.

The ‘Original’ Vancouver has a wonderful mix of evergreens and deciduous trees and the vibrant autumn hues contrast so well against the dark evergreens. Fall is so gorgeous but unlike spring, it is a bit fleeting with a two-four week period of glorious display before we plunge into the darkness of late autumn and winter.

My wife and I took a peak at the Cedar Creek Grist Mill about 20-30 minutes north of the America’s Vancouver on Sunday. That is a wonderful little treasure we have here in Clark County, isn’t it? It was built in 1875 and is run by volunteers today still operating as it did in the 19th century. They grind flour and corn or press fruit to make cider using the power of water flowing in Cedar Creek. I encourage any and all that have yet to visit this charming place, do so and if you can, check it out this weekend or next where the fall color should be at or near peak.

I also took a walk in Moulton Falls Park near Yacolt last week and the color is starting to pop there as well. We are so very lucky here in Vancouver with a nice city vibe locally and the rest of Clark County at our doorstep!

Another fabulous fall color opportunity lies just east in the Columbia River Gorge.

Ah the ‘Couv’ Life; it is good.


Waterfront Still Buzzing

Here we are two weeks post Grand Opening and the waterfront is still buzzing. The two restaurants that are open are backed up with crowds of hungry folks clamoring for the riverside tables. Hundreds if not thousands of people continue to flock to the new park and walk along the water and the Grant Street Pier.

I came back from my long road trip and this past weekend things were still hopping. This is a good thing since the waterfront’s success is riding on the ability to maintain a buzz long after the initial excitement wanes.  As more of the businesses and apartments come online that urban busy vibe should continue and I think the waterfront is destined to become the hot spot for the whole metro area over the next few years.

Our illustrious city leaders need to hit the road and start getting some heavy hitting employers to move in. So far the most activity in the new “Murdock” building is just downtown transplants, MJ Murdock Trust, Fidelity Title and Chicago Title. That’s all fine, but that is a lateral move and the office space they occupy now will be vacant when they move to the waterfront. We can’t just swap local space, we need an influx of new blood.

We can EASILY tap the Portland market because Portland hates business 😉 They really kind of do hate biz over there. It is like a necessary evil to them. The ‘Couv’ needs to harvest some of that Portland business crowd that is frustrated with the Portland anti-business scene. Then they can work on the rest of the USA.

The Pacific Northwest is one of America’s favorite locations right now. This strong economy means business is expanding and the Northwest is a target for many CEOs. Vancouver cannot afford to sit by and wait for the ‘overflow’ from Portland. The ‘Couv’ needs to take the lead and go after it aggressively. We have so much MORE to offer than Portland. Vancouver is a much more mobile city with a diverse mix of housing from urban to classic suburbia. Driving across Vancouver is relatively easily compared to Portland. Living and working in Vancouver carries huge tax benefits to both companies and employees.

We have a fantastic port with excellent rail and sea access, in very close to the new waterfront and Downtown. This amazing setup up we have needs to be pitched all across the fruited plain. We can add 10,000 new jobs that have well above average salaries to help feed the local economy.

Vancouver has both a city manager and an elected mayor. The city manager runs the day-to-day operations while the mayor is tasked with being the public face of the city. That includes going after the business and bringing home some bacon! Go get some sizzlin’ bacon, Madam Mayor!

Ah the ‘Couv’ life; it is good.

It’s Good to be Back in the ‘Couv’

I mentioned last week that I was embarking on a long journey across the USA with my son Kyle who has completed his service in the Army. What a road trip. He started the trip in Fort Polk, Louisiana and I flew in to Memphis, Tennessee where we met for the long journey back. This was no straight shot short distance between two points arrangement. No my friends this trip weaved and bobbed its way through sixteen of these United States. All counted, there was more than 3,100 miles of pavement gobbled up over 6 days.

We saw some great country, cities, and natural wonders along the way but in the end Vancouver USA still reigns supreme. I found a genuine fondness for Kansas City, MO during our brief stay there. They don’t have the benefit of the spectacular scenery of Portland, OR but they could offer some solid advice to the leaders of the Rose City about how to clean up some of the urban blight many cities still have lingering. Portland tends to be a dirty feeling city where as KC seemed to be light and bright with a very “clean” look and feel. That of course is anecdotal evidence from what amounted to a day trip to the city. I have written ad nauseam about Portland vs X.

All across America the “Downtown” scene is returning to prominence. Maybe some modern Millennial band will record a cover of Petula Clark’s classic: “Downtown.” I believe that the Millennial generation has played a large roll in this very positive trend. Many reports show that Millennials tend to prefer the urban setting much more than Gen X or Baby Boomers. Even now as the “older” half of Millennials are reaching the age that traditionally favor a suburban lifestyle, large numbers are sticking with the big city. This is driving up demand for urban apartments and condos in a city setting. Us older peeps, you know us Baby Boomers and the older half of Gen X tend to complain about the Millennials, but to their credit the preferences they are showing towards a more in the city vibe is helping to bring back the classic downtown experience that has been sorely missing for some 40 years. The older half of the Baby Boomers are largely responsible for the suburban boom of the post war period, and the subsequent sprawl it produced. This new urbanism movement is one Millennial driven concept I can salute.

The ‘original’ Vancouver is all over this trend with the revitalization of Downtown, Uptown, and the new waterfront. It is truly wonderful to see the aged and decrepit core down towns of the 70’s and 80s coming back with a mighty roar.

Picture of City Scene
Kansas City, MO Power and Light District

I saw it in cities and towns, large and small, all across the fruited plain. It was a delight to see a huge chunk of our great nation and to see how so much of it seems to be in a state of renaissance. From the revitalization of the Kansas City Market District and Power and Light District to the vibrance of a renovated “Old Market” in Omaha. Smaller cities like Rapid City, SD and Bozeman, MT also had a fresh vibe and a hip scene.

Picture of town scene
Rapid City, SD Firehouse Brew Pub

America is on the move and strong as the proverbial ox. Our cities are coming back with that classic excitement that the lovely Petula Clark so wonderfully sang about some 54 years ago. Our amazing Vancouver is right in the thick of it and I like it!

Ah the ‘Couv’ life; it is good, and good to be back.