I took my first ride on light rail this month and I’m more convinced than ever that light rail should be extended to Vancouver. Everyone in Clark County should try out light rail sometime. It’s a smooth ride and only makes a few stops between Delta Park and downtown Portland.
Vancouver is part of the Portland metropolitan area. Vancouver will grow as Portland grows. But, Vancouver has something to offer that Portland doesn’t have — its history. Vancouver is the oldest, continuously occupied non-native settlement in the Pacific Northwest. We can capitalize on that by developing the historic reserve to the fullest and then promoting light rail as a way for Portlanders to visit the reserve. The historic reserve needs visitors to succeed and light rail is one way to bring visitors to Vancouver.
If we have the vision, we can develop the reserve, fill empty storefronts downtown with history-related businesses, and tie the historic reserve, the Academy, the history of Mother Joseph, the Clark County Historical Museum, and light rail with a transportation link provided by C-Tran or the historic reserve.
The economy may be depressed now, but we need to look forward to see what may be possible if we lay the groundwork while we have the chance.
Philip S. Parker