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News / Clark County News

Off beat: ‘Other Vancouver’ vexes some visitors

The Columbian
Published: March 1, 2010, 12:00am

Another media outlet recently viewed us through the Winter Olympics lens of “the other Vancouver.”

That was the headline on a Feb. 7 Chicago Tribune story that explored how people who really are supposed to be here aren’t always quite sure where “here” is.

A week later, NBC aired a three-minute segment on the topic during the Sunday edition of its “Today” show.

It certainly made an impact on at least one viewer. A newsroom staffer returning from a week in Hawaii was going through airport security when a guard examined her ID.

The security guy proclaimed: “Vancouver, Washington! Did you know your town was mentioned on the ‘Today’ show?”

The lighthearted piece followed “Today” weekend co-anchor Jenna Wolfe as she pretended to confuse this city with the one in British Columbia.

That does happen, Chicago Tribune reporter Wendy Donahue wrote in her travel piece.

“I get a lot of folks who catch the shuttle from the Portland airport coming over here, and they think they’re actually going to Canada,” Brian Kaiser, hospitality specialist at Vancouver’s Heathman Lodge, told Donahue.

Last week, Kaiser recalled how Donahue laughed about that for quite some time. It’s not that people go to the wrong Vancouver; they’re just not sure where they were headed.

“It happens all the time,” Kaiser told The Columbian. “A lot of folks don’t know where they’re going. The trip was arranged by a secretary or a booking agent. They were meant to be here; they just assumed it was Canada.”

Nearby attractions

There was another message in Donahue’s story about “this Washington beauty.” It may not have a luge course, but there’s still plenty to do and see here.

However, none of the four big attractions mentioned by Donahue are in Vancouver, and Mount St. Helens is the only one in Washington.

Multnomah Falls and Timberline Lodge are in Oregon. Bonneville Dam links both states, but the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, which drew a plug, is in Oregon.

At least you don’t need a passport to go from Vancouver to Multnomah Falls. We can’t say as much for a current travel promotion sponsored by Washington’s official tourism Web site. The Bellingham-area getaway includes a visit to Victoria, B.C.

Passport (or similar ID) is required.

Off Beat lets members of The Columbian news team step back from our newspaper beats to write the story behind the story, fill in the story, or just tell a story.