Vancouver, Washington is a beautiful place to live, but it is not perfect. I lived there for sixteen years, from ages 3-19 and it will always have a special place in my heart. However, there are many negatives to living there.
I’ve contacted and talked to many locals from this area and these are the top reasons to NOT move here.
The amount of traffic in Vancouver is always slightly crazy. Even in the suburbs, there is almost always traffic. It is nearly impossible to get anywhere around 5 o’clock because everyone is trying to get home.
A trip that would normally take 10 minutes can take up to 45 minutes if there is an accident on the road, or it is around 5 o’clock, which is just ridiculous in my opinion.
Although many places have traffic, here it is particularly annoying because it is everywhere.
16. The Number of Hills
There are so many hills. And they are not small hills either.
They are massive and frequent. It can be a pretty sight but if you get motion-sick very easily, I would not recommend moving there because you will become sick, even if you are only driving for five minutes.
15. Amount of Movie Theaters
There are so many movie theaters. In the area that I grew up in, there were at least three in a five-mile radius of each other.
While I do enjoy watching movies, I also think that there should only be one or two within walking distance of each other. If there are any more than that, then it is very hard to decide on which movie theater you and your friends should go to and easier to mix up locations and find yourself at the wrong one entirely.
Some find it better to just wait until the movie that you want to go see comes out on DVD or becomes available on your chosen streaming platform.
14. Population Growth
Vancouver is a growing city, and the city officials have not been able to accommodate that growth fast enough.
So, it has become hard for people to move around in the city and find housing that they can afford. There are still many one-lane roads, even in busy areas where there is constant traffic which only slows things down more.
13. Small School Sizes
Although the population has grown in recent years, the school sizes have not.
Even though class sizes have grown, and it has become more difficult for teachers to handle all of the children that they have to take care of, the schools have not built any additions or made any of the needed repairs that are needed to sustain the school, especially as they take care of more kids.
Also, because the schools have been required to take care of more kids, but are not getting more funding, they have begun to cut school programs.
The Marching Band at Evergreen High school won state multiple times and was one of the largest after-school programs at the school. However, in May 2017, they decided to cut the program altogether because of how expensive it was to support all of the marching band students.
While I am happy that they are currently planning on building another high school, I wonder if it will be enough to help the teachers and staff keep up with their workloads.
12. Stifling Large City
Vancouver is the fourth largest city in Washington, with Seattle being the largest. And, since the population is steadily growing, it may go higher in the ranking. While many people like living in big cities, I am not one of them.
I was lucky enough to grow up in an area that was more suburban than a big city, but that area is steadily growing and is becoming stifling to live in.
There are always people around, and there seems to be no escape.
However, the people that live there tend to be very friendly, and they tend to mind their own business, so you may be able to find places to be alone if you try hard enough.
I do find that even though a lot of people live in Vancouver, I almost always see someone that I know while I am out shopping, and I don’t know a lot of people who still live there.
11. Distant from Any Beaches
Even though Vancouver is many times considered to be on the coast, and is part of the Pacific Northwest, it is nowhere near any beach.
While there are lakes and rivers in the area, they are sometimes not safe to swim in, or may not have an area that is designated for swimmers. Lacamas Lake, only a few minutes from where I grew up, does not have an area where people can go swimming and is considered to be unsafe for swimmers for most of the year.
Even though there are a few lakes and rivers that are safe to swim in and have areas that are designated for people to go swimming, they are very cold and windy, even in the summer.
On the warm days, where the wind is not blowing as cold as it usually does and it is not raining, then it seems as if every single person that lives within an hour of the lake has the same idea; go to the lake or river.
When that happens, it is almost impossible to enjoy your day at the ‘beach’ because of how many people are there.
10. Limited Number of Things To Do
Vancouver, Washington is known for its trails and the amount of nature that has been preserved. However, that also means that there are many trails to choose from and not a lot of other activities to choose from that other big cities have.
While it is nice to be surrounded by nature, and the views are absolutely amazing, if you do not like to hike or go walking on trails, then you are out of luck if you live in Vancouver.
If you are someone who likes staying indoors, especially while it is raining, you may find it kind of annoying that one of the only things to do is to go on a walk.
Now, Vancouver does have areas without a lot of nature, but they are mainly for fast food restaurants or grocery stores.
There are not a lot of places to go out and do something with your friends, which is sometimes frustrating.
9. Tough Job Market
It is very hard to find a job in Vancouver unless you work in the medical field, or in the technology industry.
Even jobs related to fast-food and retail are hard to get because there are so many other people who are trying to get the same job that you are applying for.
Unless you have previous job experience in that field, it is unlikely that you will quickly find a decent paying job that you will want to stay at for a long time.
However, it is also hard to find another job that is better suited to your interests and career goals, so it is hard to leave a job that makes you miserable.
Many people choose to work in Portland rather than Vancouver because of how difficult it is to obtain a job.
8. Proximity to Portland, Oregon
Vancouver is very close to downtown Portland, which is an even bigger city than Vancouver. The area that I grew up in was only 20 minutes away from the heart of downtown Portland.
The traffic on the bridge between Portland and Washington is always congested and is almost at a standstill around 5 o’clock.
While it is nice to have a big city close by, to remind you why you don’t like living in a big city, the roads are confusing, and it almost never worth the drive across the bridge. However, Voodoo Donuts is a very tasty tourist destination that many Washingtonians take advantage of.
Also, many people take advantage of Oregon’s close proximity because they do not have sales tax in stores. They have income tax instead.
This makes it easy to buy expensive items in Portland, where it ends up being cheaper and there is a larger variety of items to purchase, instead of Vancouver, where sales tax is enforced and the options may be limited.
Since Vancouver is very close to Portland, the politics of both cities, and states, are very similar, and they almost always end up passing similar laws.
It was always hard to differentiate Portland, Oregon’s politics from Vancouver, Washington’s politics.
If Oregon passed a law, we heard about and discussed it. The citizens of Vancouver act like Portland laws affect Vancouver laws because it is very likely that they will affect Vancouver laws eventually.
If you disagree with the politics, it is hard to blend in.
There is a massive homelessness problem in Vancouver.
There are always at least two or three homeless people on every busy street. Even the slightly less popular streets tend to have a couple of people begging for money or food, if there is a popular store in the area.
Also, the government never seems to do anything to help them. I have seen the same homeless people on the street for years, and have been unable to help them.
5. Rainy Weather
It is always raining. Well, almost always. There is almost no rain from June to August, but every other month is full of rainy days.
If you love the rain, then this is great! Whenever people ask where I am from, I say that I am from Washington, where the weather is trying to wash the people out.
However, it almost never snows, which is disappointing in December around Christmastime. However, when it does snow, it tends to melt quickly and freeze overnight, which makes it almost impossible for people to drive safely.
Many people say that Washingtonians can’t drive in snow, which I do admit, they don’t know how to drive in the snow, but I also know that no one can drive on ice.
4. Lack of Public Transport
There is almost no public transportation.
The public transport that is available tends to go towards Portland instead of any of the local areas. The buses that are responsible for local transport are often late and have very few stops. This makes it almost impossible for people to go places without a car.
While car services such as Uber or Lift are useful, they can become very expensive, and it is hard to avoid those expenses if you do not own a car because of the lack of frequent public transport.
3. High Crime Rate
The crime rate has risen at an alarming speed over recent years. The crime rate is currently 37 per one thousand residents, which means that Vancouver has one of the highest crime rates in America.
When I lived there, the neighborhood mailbox was broken into multiple times, and multiple items have been stolen from people’s porches. I am lucky enough to never have been robbed or harmed by a criminal, but I am one of the lucky ones.
I had a dog while growing up that was able to scare off anyone who wanted to rob the house, and my parents believe that she did scare off multiple robbers because of how loud and aggressively she would bark in the middle of the night when she sensed someone coming to the house.
2. Easy Drug Access
When Oregon made Marijuana legal, Washington quickly followed suit.
Since the law was passed, multiple dispensaries have opened. While that is very helpful for those people who use it for medical purposes, it also helps people use it for recreational purposes. There is also easy access to hard drugs, like heroin.
When I worked in a fast-food restaurant in Vancouver, many homeless people would use the bathrooms in the restaurant to use drugs.
We would find used needles all the time while cleaning them, which is very dangerous.
1. High Housing Prices
The price of housing has gone up exponentially as the Vancouver population has increased.
Because of how quickly the population has increased, the housing market has not been able to keep up. Even though many houses and apartment buildings have been built, they are very expensive to live in.
The cheapest 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment is around $800 a month and can go up to $1,300 a month. Houses are even more expensive, especially if you want to live in one of the recently built houses that are in a nice neighborhood.
It is very difficult to find a home under $200,000, even if it only has one bedroom.
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