Saturday, April 21, 2012

Vancouver Trip

Washington not BC. Was in Vancouver for an educational seminar put on by the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters (WSCFF). I have been to a few of these over the years, but I don't think I had been to one in Vancouver. The picture above is a WSCFF rally where we endorsed Jay Inslee for governor.

When all was said and done, those of us from Spokane had to stay not where the classes were, at the Hilton, but at the Red Lion at the Quay. This Red Lion has an Expo 74 look to the architecture. The restaurant hovers above the Columbia River. The bar and restaurant look as if a pirate ship have rammed them. I have a fondness for tiki bars, and this rekindled the flame. It was fantastic!
The classes were pretty good. During a lunch break I took a walk around Downtown Vancouver. If you were at a conference in Downtown Spokane, within a few minutes walk, you would be deep in the heart of restaurants, condos, department stores, bars, restaurants, movie theaters, museums, etc. Not so Downtown Vancouver. There are towers upon towers of condos, Downtown (a lot of people live there - no state income tax - and then travel across the bridge to work/play/shop in Portland - no sales tax). There was a movie theater, a few bars, coffee places and a Subway, as well as a very nice park. And that was pretty much it. Weird. There is a really extensive trail system by the river too.

When you walk across the bridge into Oregon and then take the light rail into Portland, you can see the population increase - more shops, more fun, more noise and you feel bad for Downtown Vancouver. Vancouver is in a great location. There were a lot of bicyclists there too - riding to Portland. It's amazing how a different tax structure and a different political mindset can really push or pull populations.

I know that this is a pretty broad statement, and I apologize to my Conservative friends in advance, but every city that I have been in that is perpetually thriving is one that is perpetually politically Progressive, environmentally-aware, justice-oriented, diverse, open-minded, taxes progressively, etc. etc. Maybe Portland and Vancouver need each other to exist.

Nice people in Vancouver and a great bunch of firefighters who hosted us. Thanks and we'll be seeing you later!

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