Thursday, December 2, 2021
Dec. 2, 2021

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In Our View: Visiting Vancouver even better after pandemic

The Columbian

It is nice, we suppose, to be well thought of — even if those thoughts might have us confused with somebody else.

You see, Forbes magazine last month ranked Vancouver as the second-best place in America to visit during the pandemic, and it had some nice things to say about our own little slice of heaven. The author mentioned items such as Vancouver’s population of 34,000 and its location east of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Which probably comes as a surprise to both longtime and short-time residents of the city, considering neither of them are remotely true.

Vancouver, of course, has closer to 190,000 residents and densely populated areas just outside the city limits. We also are a bit west of the Gorge, not east.

Oh, well.

“Was it Walla Walla instead?” Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle wondered in an email to The Columbian. “Any press is good press.”

But it’s best if that press is accurate. McEnerny-Ogle counted six errors in the 141-word article, and sent an email asking for corrections. Some were fixed in the online story, some were not, but the gist remains the same: Vancouver has a lot to offer, including “a thriving historic downtown and endless opportunities for outdoor exploring and water sports activities.” There also are nearby mountains and Washington’s burgeoning wine industry.

While you probably knew all that, it’s nice to get the word out to Forbes readers all over the country — and beyond. And it’s nice to add to Vancouver’s remarkable list of national endorsements.

In 2017, Vancouver was dubbed the No. 1 hipster city in America, (to which McEnerny-Ogle said, “I had to figure out what a hipster was”). It also has been picked in recent years among the best cities in the United States for romance and for staycations and for retirees to live without being retiring (which means “reserved, shy,” according to Webster’s).

The Waterfront Vancouver, development on the eastern edge of the city, Uptown Village and a variety of vibrant neighborhoods also add to the attraction, along with the wondrous outdoor luxuries.

Wrapping it all up, last year ranked Vancouver as the 59th-best place to live in the United States, trailing only Bellingham and Spokane among Washington cities. Olympia and Tacoma also ranked among the top 100.

“Your family will love the access to nature, the outdoorsy culture and the stunning views of Mount Hood, which never gets old,” the website wrote about Vancouver.

And it never gets old talking about the amenities of Vancouver and Clark County as a whole. It is, indeed, a special place to live.

It’s also pretty great to visit, as Forbes noted, even with some coronavirus restrictions still in place. But caution is warranted before you invite friends or relatives from far-flung places.

“Any travel — even to destinations with lower or decreasing COVID-19 activity — puts you at risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 to others,” Marissa Armstrong of Clark County Public Health wrote to The Columbian. “We should all be taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while we wait for more people to get vaccinated.”

That probably is a good idea. While the region’s relatively low coronavirus rates contributed to its ranking among the best places to visit right now, that doesn’t mean we should ignore the risk.

Vancouver, after all, still will be a great place to visit after the pandemic has passed.