After a roller coaster ride of sunshine and showers the month of October is likely showing us a sunnylicious finish. But lurking beyond that gorgeous sunshine and clear skies are rather chilly nights dipping into the mid 20s overnight in the ‘burbs and low 30s in the city. The severe freeze in the rural areas will drop those aging leaves fast so you better soak up all this delicious autumn color now, it is not likely going to stay around past Halloween this year. We have very vibrant color this fall it is too bad that extra blustery weather stripped some of the leaves away prematurely, but overall a solid performance for the Southwest Washington Autumn.
Halloween is that holiday that all the kiddies love so much. C-A-N-D-Y and all that after treat or treat trading with friends and siblings. I’ll give you two Skittles for that Snickers bar! But it is sort of an unofficial seasonal change locally. Sub freezing temps are uncommon until late October but after Halloween they become fairly typical on clear nights. November marks that transition from nice mild weather to chilly late autumn weather and usually the wet season.
Saturday afternoon, my wife and I had a nice lunch at the Grant House on Officer’s Row at Fort Vancouver NHP it was a gloriously nice late October day with a cool autumn breeze and mid fifties for temps. October is definitely my wife’s favorite month and for me it is right up there. I love the colors.
I was at the waterfront earlier Saturday and the progress continues on development along the river. The Indigo hotel is fully topped out with the architectural crown above the eighth floor finished. The Kirkland Tower project right next door still has a floor or two to go. The FAA wants that Tower Crane down before the end of the month so they will likely top that tower out this week.
Vancouver will probably see at least two more tower cranes rise up in the next month or two as work is underway at Block 20 and the AC Marriott Hotel at Terminal One. Since the Kirkland Tower Crane will come down soon I doubt we will have the new cranes while that one is still up. Tower cranes are actually used as a metric of urban economic success. RLB an architectural and engineering firm actually has a “Crane Index” that tracks crane activity in North America’s busiest cities for urban construction. Despite our genuinely impressive construction boom, we will not be on that index anytime soon.
Seattle has been atop that list among American cities for more than three years with as many as 90 cranes in operation over the last several years. It continues to lead the US in crane count followed by LA and our neighbor Portland which has 30 according to the latest index report.
I have lived in the ‘Couv’ for 17 years and I can’t remember ever seeing more than three tower cranes at one time. Back in 2001 there may have been as many as four, two at Vancouver Center, one at 500 Broadway, and a fourth at the Clark County Administration Building, but I wasn’t here till the following year so I do not know for sure. Both Clark County Admin and 500 Broadway were completed in 2001 early 2002. However, we had three albeit briefly, in 2018 when Block 8, Block 4, and the Uptown all had tower cranes in operation. Were it not for the FAA rules we would have four or more early next year. The FAA isn’t the bad guy though, they gave Kirkland a height variance allowing them to push that crane up to 250 feet but only for the summer months. As winter comes apparently there is a safety concern for local air traffic with a crane that high in the Pearson Field flight path, so that crane is coming down too soon to join the Block 20 and Terminal One cranes likely rising in Q1, 2020. As a note, Holland Partner Group might have used a Tower Crane for the 4th Tower at Vancouver Center, but the underground sub structure was already in place so they have to use a mobile crane from the street, that’s why one of Washington Streets three lanes is blocked off during construction. As of right now there are two active tower cranes in Vancouver, one at Kirkland Tower on the waterfront and one at the Aria on west 6th near City Hall.
I mentioned earlier that cranes are a measure of economic prowess for a city and we should be proud of our crane count. We are not going to catch up with Portland but we are building a solid urban core that is providing new homes, businesses, and jobs for Clark County residents. Billions of dollars are pouring into Vancouver and this is a good thing for all of us.
Ah the ‘Couv’ life; it is good, and we have some new tower cranes too!