Vancouver, Washington is a city with about 150,000 people located immediately north of Portland, Oregon and directly across the Columbia River from it. Vancouver and Portland share a census-defined metro area, which contains over 2 million residents. They also share shopping areas and a generally unified economy. Most notably, over 70 percent of Vancouver residents travel into Portland for work each and every day.
Interestingly, because Oregon does not have a sales tax and Washington does, many Vancouver residents choose to cross the bridges and shop in the many malls on the Oregon side. However, in doing so many Washington residents are breaking the law by not paying Washington’s use tax on goods purchased in Oregon. Thus, the retail offerings on the Washington side are relatively meager in comparison to those on the Oregon side. As such, Vancouver only has one mall, the Vancouver Mall or Westfield Vancouver as it is technically known today.
Opened in 1977, Vancouver Mall was originally by May Centers, Inc. and debuted with Meier & Frank, Nordstrom, and Sears east of downtown Vancouver along I-205. JCPenney and Mervyn’s were added later, and in 1994 the mall was purchased by Westfield America and renamed Westfield Vancouver because the Westfield company likes to totally rebrand their malls under a unified theme. In 2006, Meier & Frank, which was a May company store, became Macys with the rest of the May stores. In January 2007, the Mervyn’s store closed and also in 2007 Westfield announced plans to renovate the aging center.
Now that Westfield has finally put graphic mall directories on their website, I can remember that Vancouver Mall was a straight shot between Meier & Frank and JCPenney, and Mervyn’s, Nordstrom and Sears were located along the corridor which connected them. Old Navy also serves as a junior anchor on the lower level near JCPenney, and there’s pretty neat food court and carousel too.
I visited Vancouver Mall once in November 2005. It rained. And rained. And rained. Then, when it was done raining, it rained some more. So, forgive the rather lacking outdoor photos here. And, as always, feel free to leave your own comments and anecdotal stories about this mall.