Vancouver is a city along the Columbia river in South-West Washington, directly across the river from Portland, Oregon in Clark County. The fourth largest city in Washington state, Vancouver is part of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area. It has a vibrant waterfront area and access to a greater metropolis. It is  but a half-hour drive to the magnificent Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and a ninety minute drive west to the Pacific Ocean. Mount St. Helens and Mount Hood are also less than two hours away.

Both Vancouver, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia are named for George Vancouver, a captain in the British Navy and explorer. Though Vancouver, WA was founded and incorporated before Vancouver, BC, the two names are often confused.

Vancouver was first inhabited by the Chinook and Klickitat Native American tribes. Fort Vancouver was established as a trading post in 1824. The city was incorporated in 1857. According to the 2000 census, it has approximately 163,650 residents.

Vancouver has been rapidly growing and annexing near-by communities.  The city is a blend of residential areas, commercial and agricultural and is considered by some as a bedroom community to nearby Portland. The agricultural area produces and exports crops of apples, strawberries and prunes.

The Port of Vancouver USA operates a port on the Columbia River and handles more than 400 ocean-going vessels a year. With convenient access to marine, rail, highway and air cargo transportation, the port is vital in the Pacific Northwest.


Vancouver is served by two interstate highways. Interstate 5, the major North-South highway which takes motorists to Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle and onto Vancouver, BC.  The Interstate 205 runs somewhat parallel to Interstate 5, also running North-South.


The city is served by two school districts:

  • The Vancouver School District has six high schools including Hudson's Bay High, Columbia River High, Fort Vancouver High, Lewis and Clark High, Skyview High and the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics.  This school district serves most of west Vancouver.
  • The Evergreen School District serves east Vancouver and has six high schools: Evergreen High, Mountain View High, Heritage High, Union High, Legacy High and Vo-tech Skills Center.

The Washington School for the Deaf and the Washington State School for the Blind are both located in Vancouver. Clark College, a two-year school and Washington State University Vancouver, are two institutions of higher learning in the city.

Major EmployersEmployers with major sites are company headquarters in Vancouver are: