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2010 | ®

Vancouver/Clark County, washington

Finely Tuned Senses School for the Blind trains piano technicians

Time for Enjoyment Esther Short Park hosts multiple activities

What’s Online  Take a tour of the Pearson Air Museum

sponsored by the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce

2010 edition | volume 6 ®

The definitive relocation resource

What’s Online Vancouve r /Cl ar k Cou nt y, Washington

picture perfect We’ve added even more of our prize-winning photography to the online gallery. Go to and click on photos.

relocation Considering a move to this community? We can help. Use our Relocation Tools to discover tips, including how to make your move green, advice about moving pets and help with booking movers.

facts & stats Go online to learn even more about: • Schools

F e atu r e s 4 time for enjoyment

• Health care

Vancouver and Clark County parks and recreation centers add to quality of life.

• Utilities • Parks • Taxes

6 Three Port Harmony

Images Vancouver/Clark County is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by e-mail at

For more information, contact: Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce 1101 Broadway, Suite 100 • Vancouver, WA 98660 Phone: (360) 694-2588 • Fax: (360) 693-8279 Visit Images Vancouver/Clark County online at ©Copyright 2010 Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Member

Magazine Publishers of America


Custom Publishing Council

Member Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce On the cover The Salmon Run Bell Tower In Esther Short downtown Photo by Jeff Adkins

co nte nt s

Clark County ports have it all, from manufacturing to railways.

d e pa r tm e nt s 2 Almanac 8 Biz Briefs 9 Chamber Report 10 Local Flavor 11 Health & Wellness 12 Education: Finely Tuned Senses All or part of this magazine is printed on recycled paper containing 10% post-consumer waste.

Please recycle this magazine

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Welcome to Vancouver, USA An introduction to the area’s people, places and events

Peaceful Crossing Officials are being proactive with the Columbia River Crossing project. The bridge, transit and highway improvement project is being administered by the Oregon and Washington transportation departments and federal officials. It’s a long-term, comprehensive solution to address the safety and congestion problems on I-5 between Portland and Vancouver. The project will affect people’s safety, quality of life, the regional economy and environment.

Who’s Playing Tonight? Live music by major recording artists such as Coldplay, Pearl Jam, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Sheryl Crow and Sarah McLachlan fills the open air at the Sleep Country Amphitheater in Ridgefield. Concert-goers can make it a full night of entertainment during events at the facility, as a variety of food and drink is available, from hot dogs and burgers and soda, to Asian food paired with a Northwest microbrew or wine from local vintners. A plus for the community: nonprofit groups staff the concession stands, raising funds for their respective causes.

Turn Up the Volumes It’s easy to lose yourself in a good book, or even just a good library, in Vancouver and Clark County. Fort Vancouver Regional Library District includes 13 libraries, three bookmobiles and a Vancouver operations center; it also offers Internet access. And a new library is being built. The district serves Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties, as well as the city of Woodland in Cowlitz County. In addition to providing information resources and services, community and cultural events, the district offers research databases and a library collection with more than 721,000 books, magazines, videotapes, DVDs, and audio book CDs and tapes.


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n The Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival celebrates its 12th anniversary this year. The event is held in August at Esther Short Park.

Delightful Denim Luxury apparel company Agave now calls Ridgefield home. CEO Jeff Shafer relocated his family from California and eventually brought his business with him. Agave opened its 16,000-square-foot warehouse and 6,500-square-foot office in Ridgefield – leaving production in California – in winter of 2008. Agave’s first outlet opened at the company’s headquarters in summer of 2009. Clark County’s workforce, great location for distribution, affordable land, and the fact that brands such as Nike and Columbia Sportswear are located in the area persuaded Shafer to move the company here, he says.

n Vancouver’s weather bucks the stereotype of the rainy Pacific Northwest. Average annual rainfall is 36 inches – less than that of Atlanta, Dallas or Indianapolis.

Vancouver At A Glance population Vancouver: 164,500 Clark County: 431,200

William Clark, had explored the area. The city is named after Capt. George Vancouver, a British explorer who sailed to the area in 1791 in search of the Northwest Passage.

location Vancouver is on the north bank of the Columbia River, directly across from Portland, Ore., and about 90 miles from the Pacific coast.

for more information Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce 1101 Broadway, Suite 100 Vancouver, WA 98660 Phone: (360) 694-2588 Fax: (360) 693-8279

beginnings Vancouver was incorporated in 1857 after several Americans and Britons, including Meriwether Lewis and



What’s Online 






Take a virtual tour of Vancouver, courtesy of our award-winning photographers, at





La Center Ridgefield River Columbia

Fast Facts

Battle Ground


CLARK Hazel Dell Orchards

14 4 500

Vancouver Camas

Vancouver 140

Washougal 14

n Residents of Clark County are surrounded by beauty, with Mount St. Helens to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Cascade Mountains to the east. n Enjoy a scenic stroll along the Waterfront Renaissance Trail, a 4-mile, 14-foot-wide path along the Columbia River. n The Vancouver Farmers Market brings fresh produce, quality artisans, entertainment and a variety of gourmet products to downtown from mid-March to early November. n For a day-trip sure to provide breathtaking sights, visit the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, just 30 minutes to the east of Vancouver.


Portland nd


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Treasures Vancouver and Clark County Parks and Recreation Centers Add to Quality of Life


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Story By Amy Stumpfl | Photography By Jeff Adkins

ith breathtaking mountain views and towering evergreens, the Vancouver area is widely known for its natural beauty. But along with picturesque scenery, this bustling community offers a thriving collection of parks and recreation venues. In fact, the Vancouver-Clark County Parks and Recreation Department oversees roughly 7,000 acres of parkland, more than 44 miles of trails and a comprehensive network of facilities that includes pools, a tennis and racquetball center and various community centers. “The Clark County Park District offers programs and services for people of all ages,” says Jane Tesner Kleiner, planning and development manager for the VancouverClark County Parks and Recreation Department. “We get calls from newcomers all the time who are looking for ways to get involved and meet new people in their community. They tell us that our parks really add to the local quality of life.” The Firstenburg Community Center offers the perfect case in point. Situated on the east side of town, this popular 80,000square-foot multi-use facility offers everything from an indoor leisure pool and Nautilus fitness center to a climbing wall and juice bar/deli. On the west side, the Marshall Community Center has been a mainstay in Vancouver since 1965. “We have adults who learned to swim at the Marshall Center now bringing their own kids for swim lessons – it’s really a community treasure,” Tesner Kleiner says. “The facility underwent major renovations in 2007, including a new fitness center, an arts and crafts studio and complete ADA features. One of the most popular additions is the

Teen Lounge, which provides a safe, supervised environment for young people to hang out with friends.” Likewise, the Luepke Senior Center – located adjacent to the Marshall Center in Central Park – offers a wide range of services and activities designed to promote an active lifestyle among older residents. “The Luepke Center offers a number of programs designed especially for seniors,” Kleiner says, noting that the facility welcomes approximately 100,000 seniors each year. “There are fitness classes, bridge clubs, dance parties and travel groups – plenty of opportunities for recreation and socializing. Plus, the Loaves and Fishes volunteer organization – which provides meals to homebound seniors – operates out of the Luepke Center.” One of the newest additions to the local park system is the Extreme Sports Park, a 10,000-square-foot area featuring both bowl/vert and street terrain. Open to skateboarders, BMX bicyclists, inline skaters and non-motorized scooters, the Extreme Sports Park is part of the 56-acre Pacific Community Park. “The great thing about the Extreme Sports Park is that while developing the park, the Greater Clark County Parks District requested feedback from the skating and biking community to see what they really wanted. The result has been such a positive addition to the community. And because it’s part of the larger Pacific Community Park, there’s plenty of more passive recreation available too. So parents can let their older kids skate while the little ones play on the playground or enjoy a picnic.”

Left: Aimee Gonzales plays with her children Zavier, 3, right, and Zoe, 5, at Esther Short Park. Below left: A cyclist practices at the Extreme Sports Park. Below right: A father and daughter fish at Battle Ground Lake State Park.

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Port 3

Harmony Clark County Ports Have It All, From Manufacturing to Railways

Story By Melanie Hill | Photography By Jeff Adkins


long the banks of the Columbia River, perpetual hums, horns and whistles announce the arrival of quality jobs and economic prosperity for the Pacific Northwest. In the ports of Ridgefield, Camas-Washougal and Vancouver USA, factories, railways and docks bustle with activity. Unlike traditional ports, these exist primarily to strengthen the local economy. They are regulated and audited by the State of Washington as separate entities, operating under their own charters, bylaws and elected board of commissioners. “The arrangement allows us to specialize in our business line, which is making investments that further the economic interest of the people in our district,” says Brent Grening, executive director of the Port of Ridgefield. Located in the northern section of Clark County, the Port of Ridgefield has been a vital part of the community for more than 60 years. The 57-square-mile district is home to an estimate 14,000 people. With a property value assessment of approximately $1.2 billion and a prime Interstate-5 location just minutes from Portland, Ore., the once-rural port is transitioning to suburban as private real estate is grabbed up by forward-thinking investors. Considered the gateway to the Columbia River, the Port of Camas-Washougal provides facilities and services for land, air and water use. The more than 30,000 who call it home appreciate its reputation as a preferred site for commerce and recreation. Nearly 80 hangars await aviators at the 105-acre Grove Field Airport, while the 432-acre Port Industrial Park’s 40-plus tenants employ more than 1,000 with a payroll of more than $27 million. Recreation at the port includes a

pleasure boat marina offering moorage for more than 350 boats, a four-lane launch ramp, two restaurants and more. There are also three parks. While the port has long served as a manufacturing hub, its low tax, operations and land costs are drawing the attention of prospective employers along with talks of mixed-use office developments. “We’re focused on growth and are open for business,” says David Ripp, executive director for the Port of Camas-Washougal. Also in Clark County, the multipurpose Port of Vancouver USA is a regional logistics load center for the transportation network of the Pacific Northwest and boasts marine, rail, highway and air cargo transportation connections. “The Columbia River is somewhat unique in that it allows the Port of Vancouver to be a deep water port serving international trade and ocean-going cargo vessels,” says Larry Paulson, executive director of the Port of Vancouver USA. The port serves as the west coast port of entry for Subaru and other manufacturers. Its location at the conjunction of Interstates 5 and 84 makes it ideal for truck access, while a significant increase in rail capacity will more than double rail capabilities over the next few years. While much of the port’s focus is maritime business, industrial property and tenants account for more than 2,000 jobs in the private sector, returning approximately $81 million in taxes to the community. According to Paulson, the port receives just over $9 million in property taxes, all of which goes toward capital improvements and environmental remediation. As for that humming and whistling? It sounds good from here.

Right: More than 500 oceangoing vessels, as well as river barges, pass through the Port of Vancouver each year.


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What’s Online  See why people enjoy living, working and playing downtown at

Va n c o u ve r


Biz Briefs Businesses – both large and small – that help define vancouver/clark county’s economic climate

Scorecard Business At A Glance

$1,809,783 Retail sales ($1000)

$12,102 Retail sales per capita

$225,035 Accommodation and food service sales ($1000)

11,244 Total number of firms

HEATHMAN LODGE Biz: Hotel Buzz: Heathman Lodge has all the ambiance of a rustic mountain chalet plus 182 rooms, atrium pool and spa, meeting facilities, gym, convenient location and all the casual luxuries of a modern hotel. Visitors can enjoy fine northwest cuisine by Chef Ray Delgado at Hudson’s Bar and Grill.

BEAUTIFUL BRIDES FOR LESS Biz: Bridal store Buzz: For wedding parties with a budget and an eye for quality, Beautiful Brides for Less is the ideal place. The store offers fine dresses between $99 and $399, including Moonlight Bridal and Forever Yours brands. Beautiful Brides also carries accessories, evening wear and faux fur.

HAZEL DELL BREWPUB Biz: Restaurant and pub Buzz: Hazel Dell Brewpub opened in 1993 and is a preferred pick for locally brewed ales. Patrons may view the brewing process as they dine. Taps are connected directly to the brewery’s large serving tanks to ensure the ultimate in freshness. 8513 N.E. Highway 99, Vancouver (360) 576-0996

BIG AL’S Biz: Bowling alley, arcade, sports bar, party center Buzz: Big Al’s entertainment center features 48 bowling lanes, a pro shop, five private party rooms, a 100-player arcade and a sports bar backed by 37 continuous feet of plasma screens simultaneously displaying up to 12 games. Big Al’s ultramodern 60,000-square-foot facility promises fun for everyone.

Source: U.S. Census QuickFacts


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Business | Chamber Report

Do You Get It, Vancouver? Greater Vancouver Chamber Wants Fewer Dollars Going to Oregon


im J. Capeloto is passionate – and concerned – about the $915 million that Washington residents spend in Oregon each year. The CEO for the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce says that because Oregon has no sales tax compared to Washington with a sales tax of 8.2 percent, Washington consumers often opt to purchase many products in Oregon to save money. In Greater Vancouver, the problem is magnified because 60,000 people cross the Interstate 5 bridge from Vancouver each day in order to work and shop in Portland and other adjacent Oregon cities. But that hurts the local economy to the point of actually costing Vancouver residents their jobs. “The $915 million going to Oregon each year works out to a $75 million sales tax hit for the state of Washington, and a $15 million tax hit for southwest Washington,” Capeloto says. “That $15 million conservatively equates to the creation of 5,500 jobs for this area. If Greater Vancouver citizens could just cut their spending numbers in Oregon in half, that would equate to 2,800 new jobs and the addition of nearly $8 million annually to our local tax coffers.” Capeloto says he wishes those shoppers would think more about spending their money at home in southwest Washington. “For that reason, nine Southwest

Washington Business Associations in July 2010 launched a ‘Do You Get It?’ campaign that asks citizens to think about how the money going to Oregon is hurting southwest Washington,” he says. “I understand that there are some great venues in Oregon and some stores that don’t exist in southwest Washington. I just want Vancouver folks to realize that when they spend money across the bridge, they are making a decision that negatively impacts where they live.” The goal of the “Do You Get It?” campaign is to get people to think

about their buying decisions. “If you drive through your neighborhood and notice anyone laid off or eliminated from their job, or having to take a salary cut or a salary freeze, the purchases over the bridge are a big reason why,” he says. “I realize that, for example, a Wii computer game purchased for $200 in Oregon will cost $216.40 in Washington, but how much is that $16.40 savings affecting the lives of Greater Vancouver residents? When you add everything up, it affects their lives a lot.” – Kevin Litwin

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Local Flavor

Not Your Average Burger W

ith a name like Burgerville, you might expect a generic fast food joint with the typical offerings. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since its 1961 founding in Vancouver, Wash., Burgerville’s standards for fresh, locally produced, sustainable food has set the Washington and Oregon-based chain of quick service restaurants apart. Only quality ingredients from responsible local farms make it onto Burgerville’s health-conscious menu. An average burger at any of the gourmet chain’s 39 locations might incorporate fluffy sesame seed buns from Franz Family Bakeries, fresh lettuce and tomato, crisp peppered bacon, seared Country Natural beef and savory artisan cheese from Tillamook Creamery. In place of mayonnaise, Burgerville Spread – a fiercely guarded secret recipe – is used. The crispy Onion and Spinach Turkey Burger consists of grilled Diestel turkey, provolone cheese, fresh baby

spinach, fried onions from Walla Walla and sun-dried tomato and spinach pesto, all sandwiched between artisan Frenchstyle buns. A portion of the proceeds from the turkey burger go to Zenger Farm, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating families and farmers about sustainable food development. The vegetarian Yukon and White Bean Basil Burger, made from Great Northern beans, mushrooms, brown rice, onions, oats, sun-dried tomatoes, molasses, basil and Yukon Gold potatoes, was recognized as the 2009 Culinary Creation of the Year by Nation’s Restaurant News. For a taste of Oregon, customers can try a Wild Smoked Salmon Salad with fresh greens, red cabbage, tomato and hazelnuts, which have, of course, been locally grown. Seasonal Offerings In-season strawberries, raspberries and blackberries from Liepold Farms

are the key ingredients for Burgerville’s unforgettable milkshakes, smoothies, lemonades, fruit teas and desserts. In the fall, customers can enjoy sweet potato fries and milkshakes and smoothies that incorporate cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and fresh Oregon pumpkin. Sustainability Sustainability is the umbrella term Burgerville uses to describe its environmentally sound business practices. This means using rangefarmed Deistel turkey, hormone- and antibiotic-free Country Natural beef and cage-free eggs from Stiebrs Farms. Sustainability also means using com­ postable cups and lids, supporting green power by matching the chain’s electricity consumption with windmill energy credits and recycling all of their restaurants’ trans- fat-free oil into about 3,400 gallons of biofuel each month. – Spencer Mohead

The Poblano Chicken Wrap is a seasonal menu item that contains chicken, corn salsa and more.


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photo by jeff Adkins

Health & Wellness

Complete Coverage Legacy, Kaiser Permanente and Southwest Washington Medical Center have it covered


esidents of Vancouver and Southwest Washington have their health-care needs covered, with Legacy Health System, Southwest Washington Medical Center and five medical offices operated by Oakland, CA-based Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plan.

Legacy Health Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center and HealthLink joined forces in 1989 to form Legacy Health. The Oregon-based system in a not-forprofit corporation comprising five full-service hospitals and a children’s hospital. Legacy Health offers an integrated network of health-care services – acute and critical care, inpatient and outpatient treatment, community health education and a variety of specialty services.

Southwest Washington Medical Center Founded in 1858, Southwest Washington Medical Center (SWMC) is considered the first permanent hospital in the Northwest territories. Since then, the hospital has been named a 100 Top Hospital six times by Thomson Reuters and is the flagship provider within the Southwest Washington Health System, a not-for-profit provider. Tertiary-level services are available at SWMC through its heart, cancer, brain and spine, bone and joint, and trauma centers. SWMC accepts nearly all insurance plans and also has an agreement with Kaiser Permanente, whose members may access the hospital for 24-hour emergency care for children and adults, emergency surgery and medical hospital care for adults, and low-risk obstetrical/neonatal care.

Kaiser Permanente Medical Offices Kaiser Permanente also has a long tradition of serving Clark County residents. More than 60 years ago, the prepaid health plan’s founders, Henry J. Kaiser and Dr. Sidney Garfield, aimed to provide high-quality, affordable health care to shipyard workers and their families. Today, Kaiser Permanente has an agreement with Southwest Washington Medical Center and operates five local medical offices in Vancouver to serve local residents. Vancouver Medical Office offers family practice, health appraisal, obstetrics/ gynecology, occupational health, social services and urgent care. Cascade Park Medical Office provides a variety of services including dermatology, family practice, internal medicine and pediatrics.

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Finely Tuned Senses School for the Blind Trains Piano Technicians


school in Vancouver has been in tune with the needs of blind students for more than 60 years. The School of Piano Technology for the Blind was founded by Emil Fries in 1949 to train blind and visually impaired people for careers in piano technology. Up to 12 blind students from throughout the United States enroll in a rigorous twoyear course that trains them to be piano tuners and rebuilders. “We train our students to eventually go into people’s homes if a customer’s piano string breaks, a key sticks, a pedal squeaks – students learn how to tune and repair pianos just like a sighted technician,” says Len Leger, executive director with the School of Piano Technology for the Blind. “Blind technicians are well thought of in this profession, because their extraordinary sense of feel and hearing is compensatory for their loss of vision.” So is there a demand for blind piano technicians these days? “There certainly is – there are 17 million pianos in the U.S., and 70,000 are sold every year, even in these difficult economic times,” Leger says. “Each piano has 20,000 parts that include wires, keys, strings, jacks, felts and other components, and all must be adjusted finely to the satisfaction of good pianists. Our students are the best at what they do.” Leger says students at the School of Piano Technology study Monday through Friday for eight hours each day

throughout the two-year course. In the last three graduating classes, 100 percent of the students have been hired in the industry. “Our students don’t pay any tuition – they receive various grants from the states they live in through the Vocational Rehabilitation Act,” he says. “Then the school receives $14,000 in grant money for each student, plus we earn money by having a staff member tune 1,000 pianos per year in Clark County at $100 a piano. We are also known around Vancouver as the Piano Hospital because we have a showroom where we sell parts and refurbished pianos.” Meanwhile, Vancouver is also home to the Washington State School for the Blind, which provides full academic programs to blind and visually impaired youth up to the age of 21. WSSB offers full educations to pre-K, elementary, middle and high school students, with high school diplomas accredited and recognized by post-secondary schools and colleges across the nation. Four dormitories are available to those students who want to say on campus during the 180-day school year. “The state of Washington certainly has a long and successful history of helping people who are blind or visually impaired,” Leger says. “And nowhere is that success more evident than in Vancouver and Clark County.” – Kevin Litwin

The School of Piano Technology for the Blind teaches piano tuning, servicing and rebuilding.


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Ad Index

C3 Holiday Inn Express

C2 Norris Beggs & Simpson

9 Opsahl Dawson & Company

11 Southwest Washington Medical Center

C4 Washington State University – Vancouver

Images Vancouver-Clark County, WA: 2010  

Located on the north bank of the Columbia River directly across from Portland, Ore., Vancouver offers convenience to urban amenities while a...

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