Vancouver Mall; Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver Mall in Vancouver, WA

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.

Vancouver Mall Meier & Frank in Vancouver, WAOpened 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. 

Vancouver Mall Meier & Frank in Vancouver, WA Vancouver Mall in Vancouver, WA Vancouver Mall in Vancouver, WA 

Vancouver Mall in Vancouver, WA Vancouver Mall in Vancouver, WA Vancouver Mall in Vancouver, WA

Vancouver Mall in Vancouver, WA Vancouver Mall in Vancouver, WA

65 Responses to “Vancouver Mall; Vancouver, Washington”

  1. Nothing too exciting left about this mall, but I absolutely love that retro Meier & Frank logo. It is about as 70′s as you can get.

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  2. Well that food court sign’s pretty cool looking, but other than that there’s nothing noteworthy I can say about the looks of this mall.

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    Daniel Reply:

    @DRoman,
    the food court used to have giant swordfish, done in a similar style as the sign, hanging from the ceiling. The entire far wall of the food court is glass too, overlooking the surrounding area.

    The whole mall used to be very cool, but little by little, Westfield has turned it into another generic, boring, tired old shopping mall.

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  3. I like the food court sign. The rest is…well… Westfield. So Westfield owns Vancouver now?!

    What’s the deal with these play pen areas for kids? When I was a kid, I didn’t really want a play area at a mall. The atmosphere and just being there was the “magic” if you will.

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  4. I actually saw the coolest play area ever at Westfield Fox Valley Center in Aurora, Illinois recently. It is a two level center, and on the bottom level is a “tree” which has tiers of carpet you can climb and toward the top you are higher than the second level. I would have loved that.

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  5. Fox Valley, huh. Check out the Malls of America commercial:

    http://mallsofamerica.blogspot.com/2007/05/retro-mall-video-fox-valley-center-aka.html

    I love it!

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  6. That is absolutely amazing! It pretty much looks like that now with a bit of retouching, and is still uber-dominant in an underserved area. Naperville + Aurora are over 300,000 people, and plus it serves tons of suburban area around it. Easily one of the best commercials ever. But wouldn’t that fox puppet eat his wife or companion or whatever? I wouldn’t trust him if I were her.

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  7. I know, the mall is fairly uninteresting in design. My specialty (see University Mall entry) is photographing department stores. I have thousands of them. But if I went to the Vancouver Mall and saw that vintage Meier & Frank sign it would have certainly made my day! I’m sorry that my M&F trip to Portland in 1998 didn’t include a stop in Vancouver. Oh well.

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  8. I’m loving the gigantic food court sign, the old Mier & Frank logo outside, the light boxes in the pillars, and whats that I see? the 1984 Sears logo!

    dang the parking lot lighting is so groovy!

    I can’t find anything to hate about this mall! Don’t take it for granted Vancouver!

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  9. “Hey, can you tell me where the food court is?”

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  10. Fun fact: to my knowledge, the GameCrazy store in the mall is the only one in the Portland area that isn’t attached to a Hollywood Video.

    And yeah, Vancouver Mall is pretty average looking, but that food court sign is pretty cool. Wonder where that awesome retro Meier & Frank sign went when Macy’s took over…

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    Frank Reply:

    M&F signage was all scrapped, unfortunately, including the HUGE one that was located on the roof at Lloyd Center Mall in Portland (about 15 miles from Vancouver Mall).

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  11. I forgot to mention that the mall used to have a movie theater (owned by Moyer Theaters, can’t remember if it had 3 or 4 screens) across the parking lot. I know I watched something there once in my childhood, but I can’t remember what. That closed sometime in the mid to late 90s.

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  12. Ah, Van Mall…I remember going there as a kid, before the ’94 remodel.
    It was wonderfully late ’70′s in decor. Dark red brick flooring, semi-rough cedar walls and support columns, smoked-glass globe lighting extending off the sides of said columns. There were 4 or 5 fountains in the dept. store courts , each uniquely terraced in sculpted concrete, uplit, filed with dropped-in pennies, and landscaped with moss, ferns, and small willow(?) trees. During Christmas season, they’d be turned into vignettes of winter wonderlands, with animatronic ice-skating children, etc.
    In the years prior to the remodel, I worked at the Nordstrom there (which, at 70,000 sq. ft., the smallest in the company). It had ‘lovely’ wood parque floors, burnt orange carpet, and mirror-walls. On my lunch break, I would walk out into the mall and find one of the restaurants interspersed among the retail stores (before the food court was installed).
    Lots of good memories…I’ve been back since the remodel, and although it was a necessary updating in decor, I do miss the fountains. Who knows, maybe mall fountains will become chic again and make a comeback…

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  13. When MAXcomes it will do wanders for business. There’s a new theatre with 16 screens owned by cinemark. Let me ask, what is so bad about westfield or any mall owner having play areas?

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  14. Lived in Van, WA as a kid in the 70s and remember when this place was brand-new and state-of-the-art. But we never shopped there as tax-free Portland was across the bridge. One of my favorites was Jantzen Beach Center, a traditional indoor mall that’s been torn in favor of an outlet center. I would give a limb for any old pics of that one. Anyone? Jantzen Beach Center, Portland, OR?

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    Frank Reply:

    Jantzen Beach (original Mall) is now gone, ALL of it save for what used to be K-Mart (now Burlington) and one other (forget now). The plan is to build all stand-alone facilities. Very sad… JB was so great back in the late 70′s and early 80′s when I was a kid.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @Frank, I think you are refering to Target, as they are building a new store there.

    FYI, as part of the reconstruction of the Columbia River Crossing, TriMet’s MAX
    Yellow Line is being extended to Clark College & will have a stop near Janson Beach Supercenter on Hayden Island.

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  15. Two things,

    One, the M & F was completely remodeled in a gray and silver theme about a month before the macy conversion so the retro logo (and the new one) are gone.

    Two. If you want to see an older Sears logo, go to the Grays Harbor Mall in Aberdeen, WA. It’s from the late 70′s.

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  16. The locals refer to it as “the mall” as it is the only one in Vancouver. When I moved here there was a fish sculpture hanging from the ceiling in the food court. It was sort of a head and then bones and then the tail. It disappeared one day and I haven’t seen it since. In addition, Meryvn’s has closed and there is a semi-thriving library location located in the mall.

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  17. Since late 2006, the mall has gone through many updates and changes, including Meier & Frank, being updated to their new owners name, Macy’s. May want to update your website for their new updates remodel and all their new stores. As a local, who travels for business, this is one of the best and easiest access malls. May not be as large as some of the others in the area (Washington Square to Clackamas Town Center) but there is always parking and plenty of stores to choose from. Like the convienence and ease of the Vancouver Mall that you rarely see now in the new models (aka Bridgeport).

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  18. I grew up in Vanc, Wa. I remember the pastures that were there before Vancouver Mall. I remember being so excited that I didn’t have to ride my bike over to Jantzen Beach to go to the mall. Our house was about two miles from the mall. I worked in the McDonalds before it moved to the Food Court. I played Space Wars and Space Invaders at “Aladdin’s Castle” (it’s now a “Tilt” which only has fighting games, racing games and shooting games). I saw “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” at the Vancouver Mall Cinemas (long gone). After he retired, my dad was a faithfull mall walker there every morning before they opened the retail stores. On a clear day, the food court provides a nice view of Mount Hood. Good times.

    The funny thing is, everyone in Vancouver, calls it “Vancouver Mall”. If you tell them that the name of the mall is “Westfield Shoppingtown – Vancouver”, they really don’t know what you are talking about.

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  19. Like Randy, I remember when there was just an empty field where the whole sprawling mall complex now exists.

    The reason Penney’s and Mervyn’s were added later is that the mall actually doubled in size around 1980 or so. The Aladdin’s Castle that Randy mentions, and the Radio Shack across from it, marked the end of the original mall. The Mervyn’s and Penneys were added as the new cornerstones. This created an odd lack of symmetry, which the later addition of the food court somewhat fixed. Before the food court, various food locations were scattered throughout the mall. McDonald’s was the big franchise, with the rest of the establishments being odd B list franchises like The Taco Maker and Pizza Haven. There was also an Orange Julius, Hot Dog on a Stick and a couple of deli’s. An attempt was made to start a more upscale restaraunt near Penney’s as well.

    It is hard to believe the now closed and demolished four screen theater was once state of the art. I also saw Star Trek TMP there (had to sell five new subscriptions to The Columbian and got tickets when the newspaper rented the theater) as well as Raiders and more.

    It was a big deal when the C-Tran transit mall was opened up near Mervyn’s in ’84 or so. It meant you could hop a bus instead of riding your bike. The bike ride back then was pretty nice though. The side streets were stil somewhat rural.

    I worked at a few stores in the mall and used to bike there all the time. I walked the mall so many times I can still draw a map of the retail store layouts from 1980-1986. Going back now, after being away for so many years, is like entering an alternate universe.

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  20. Big news, Westfield Vancouver Mall is getting a new movie theater. The Mervyn’s closed a few months back and finally a decision has been made as to what to do with the space. They are going to demolish the mervyns store and build a huge new space which will have room for new stores and a movie theater will go in as well!

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    Yanna Reply:

    @Jeff, How do you know this?

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  21. Has the vacant Mervyn’s been filled yet?

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  22. I remember Bob’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, karmelkorn, Square Pan Pizza, IHOP, the diner in Meier and Frank and Orange Bowl, MusicLand, B.Dalton. There is still some odd remnants of the old mall scattered about re: Tenants. Excalibur Cutlery looks the same as it has since the early 80′s. Alley Cat Pet Center’s mascot parrot Rocky turns 30 this year. I also remember America the Beautiful Dreamer, See’s Candy, some weird western garb store with a wooden indian, Puttin’ Around……the fountains…..WOW! Nostalgia Overload. I would love to see some pics of the old Jantzen Beach Mall, like the arcade and the waterslides.

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    Tim Reply:

    @werd, I wanted to add to your list of stores
    Jean machine, Squire shop, Hatch,s there used to be a bakery rght next to Bob,s old fashioned
    ice cream, but I cant remember the name.
    Also there was the Toychest toy store.

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  23. Werd caused some more brain cells to fire about early Van Mall stores.
    There was a Mr. Rags, and early Gap store near Meier and Frank that had the craziest signage. I think it was just pairs of jeans stapled to the wall outside. Foot Locker was up next to the McDonalds, across from the Bob’s Ice Cream. Let’ see, oh yeah, there was a Spencer’s. MusicLand has a competitor, The Wherehouse and so did B.Dalton. Waldenbooks? There was another woman’s clothing store down near Meier and Franks on the bottom level, Foxmoor maybe? It would be cool to see a directory from that era.

    One thing I miss about the 70s/80s Jantzen Beach was the big water fountain that had a giant airplane propeller as the center piece. I wonder where that went to?

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    Tim Reply:

    @Gene, I think the clothing store was Lerners

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    Tim Reply:

    @Gene, Also there was Foxmore clothing store

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    Kyle Silverton Oregon Reply:

    @Gene, Sounds like it flew away! :(

    Man I wish I was in Oregon/Washington during the 80s!

    It sounded like an awesome time to grow up!

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  24. As previously mentioned (above), I remember Vancouver Mall from its early days. We moved to Vancouver in 1978 when I was just 10 years-old and “The Mall” (as it’s ALWAYS refered to) had just opened.

    I could go on and on about all of the old stores that were there back in the day (many of which have been previously mentioned), but I’d be tyoing all morning. The one thing I will mention is the Pet Store is still there and Rocky the Parrot is in the same same cage he’s occupied since about 1979 or so. If you visit this mall be sure to stop in and say hello to Rocky… he’s a mainstay

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  25. The ‘early Gap store next to M & F’ was a Jean Machine store, I think. The storefront had a bunch of cogs and gears next to the entrance.The Gap was downstairs.

    I remember my parents treating us to ice cream bars dipped in chocolate and nuts at Bob’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream on the upper level! Also, shopping for shoes at Gallenkamp Shoes and climbing all over the display in the back of the store (obviously when I was much younger).

    My older brother would go to the Squire Shop, with its walls full of jeans (San Francisco riding gear and Lawman, I bet).

    Speaking of Jantzen Beach, that propeller fountain was awesome!

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  26. Vancouver Mall was where Tonya Harding’s truck was stolen in 1997. Does this type of thing happen normally?

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    kitty Reply:

    @Jonah Norason (Pseudo3D),
    Just to Tonya Harding…and we hope she don’t come back!

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  27. Yeah the Vancouver mall, right now plans are under way to demolish it and build a big movie theater in it’s place.

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  28. En la búsqueda de sitios relacionados con el alojamiento web y en concreto la comparación de alojamiento web plan de Linux, el sitio se acercó.

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  29. wow, was just there recently. this place is as good as dead, I counted over 30 temporary (seasonal) tenants or vacated stores. and how does unified branding help you Westfield? just pure vanity. no one cares.

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    kitty Reply:

    @kitty,
    slightly overstated…30 vacant? nope.

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  30. Just found this page while cruising the web searching on Vancouver, Washington (where I live). And like most of you guys, I was raised up shopping at the mall. A lot of good memories were made there. I think my fondest memories were actually during the early-90s before the mall got revamped. I haven’t been back there since last year (2009), but from what I saw, most of the stores were just junk! How many privately owned-jewelry shop does that mall need? The employees at the stores were so depressed. Someones should tell them to smile a bit more. In addition, most of the “shoppers” I saw were young teenagers window shopping; and this was in an afternoon on a weekday. Should they be in school? The mall is no longer that fun and exciting. The employees and the stores were just boring. The shoppers did not even make the experience worth going, as well. Who wants to clothes shop with loud teenagers hanging around? Not me!

    I am hoping the mall get remodeled ASAP. Heck, the best choice should be to bulldoze it down and build another new mall without the Westfield name. One thing I am curious about, why are there so much parking spaces at that mall?

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    kitty Reply:

    @Robert,
    Christmastime it is full.
    Policemen wave the lines through!

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  31. I worked on construction of Vancouver mall when just the walls were up and the roof was going on. Don’t remember the name of the contractor I worked for. I was a plumber, Local #51 Portland. Probably only worked there a couple months and moved on. There was a lot of work back then and always looking for a job out of town and that extra travel pay. Retired now living in rural Arizona. It’s a dry heat…:o)

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  32. It’s a dry heat! Good one Paul.

    Did you work on the original mall, or on the extension? It is surprising to think how small the original mall was compared to some of the megamalls that I see down here in southern California.

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  33. I only went there a precious few times in the 80′s. I remember that there were really cool fountains. There was one really big installation in the center of the mall that had ramps though it, and you could walk through a maze of fountains. That was really fun for us kiddos! It’s probably gone now. That Meier and Frank logo was used up til the early 80′s. Lloyd Center used to have one on a pole waaaay above their M&F store and it was there until the Macy’s switch.

    Also, it was the only mall that had a McDonald’s inside of it in the Portland/Vancouver area for the longest time.

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    Kyle Silverton Oregon Reply:

    @AJ, Hmmm. Salem Center has a Mickey D’s in it and so does Lloyd Center.

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  34. it is owned by Austrailian company!
    That should be changed.
    They HATE the bus coming there…want more space for parking lots, I guess.
    Westfield wants to get C-Tran to move off their property…sad.

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  35. Whoa. There was another Randy frequenting Aladdin’s Castle at the same time as me? I found this page by trying to find old pictures of the original arcade. I blew a lot of money in the 80s in that place. It’s kind of freaky… I too played in the fields before they built the mall, My folks still walk the mall almost every day… small world. I remember when Aladdin’s had at least 3 pac-man machines lined up on the right side as soon as you’d walk in and you still had to get lucky or be there 15 minute before they opened to get a spot at one.

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  36. Tower Mall was the first mall in Vancouver WA. It was built at the intersection of Mill Plain Blvd and Devine road. It was named Tower Mall because it was build next to the cities water tower. My dad worked at the Safeway in tower mall for many years.

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    Frank Reply:

    I remember Tower Mall VERY well. Who could forget DIAMOND JIM’S? If you lived in Vancouver anywhere from the mid 70′s until about 1992 you’d know it was THE restaurant in town.

    I mean that’s where everyone wanted to go for their birthday, or anniversary and if you wanted reservations for prom you had better made them 6 months in advance! Yes, Diamond Jim’s was the restaurant for all the BIGg events.

    Used to be a couple of pizza places (outside the Mall, but in the adjoining parking lot) as well as a Skippers, OLD Chevron (was a Standard SAtation before the name change) and even the Department of Licensing where I got my first driver’s license back in 1984.

    Cool place back in the day, and yes, I remember the Safeway, V-Tran Video, pet shop (where we purchased our parakeet in about 1979) and even a PAY-N-PAK (much smaller version of a Home Depot type place) right there as well.

    Vancouver HEIGHTS was cool back then… and Tower Mall was right in the middle of it all.

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  37. i used to work there at Mama Berti’s Italian Restaurant and being the usual kid I did not notice much then, Does anyone know what happened to the restaurant? I was there in ’82-84 . I live in Vegas and so miss Vancouver. Hopefully going back this year to visit.

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  38. You must have went in fall/winter of 2005! That was a VERY unusually wet fall! We had several mini-wind episodes that year with gusts higher then 40mph but below 50mph.

    I once went into the Vancouver mall just to see what it was like and I think one half was two stories and the other half single level though I cannot fully remember.

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  39. i moved to vancouver back in ’84 when i was nine, from oakland CA. our home at the time was a small walking distance away. back then, i would go shopping at kay-bee, grocery shopping at Dick and Steves hang out at the arcades in aladdins. back in those days, when smoking was allowed, they had a smoking area outside Meier and Franks. right outside that store was a mattress store, to the other side, game crazy, which went out of business also. my school bus stop was behind skippers, which is now, if i’m not mistaken, is now a AM/PM. during the years of job finding in 2000-05, i recall seeing numerous changes, Mervyns going out of business, arcade replaced by a t-shirt store. Haven’t been there since maybe early ’06. The library used to be on the upper level outside M And F; the theater outside played movies (1985-ish) back to the future, three men and a baby, etc. JC Penneys was a fav to look at the xmas catalog of toys. there was a B.Daltons downstairs (got changed to a Borders, i think), and a Waldons, also a favorite place to go. Back in ’94, Gamestop was still Babbages, a common place to buy Nintendo and SNES games. The C-tran buses that were there always left 10 minutes prior to thier departure time . On the Big Lots side, i recall a small video store we always rented from before Target and Cub/Winco went in (who also speciallized in fixing VCR’s) Dick and Steves (back when i went to get bulk cat food) had one arcade….Breakthru ( car with guns, and jump capabilities) or Super mario/Contra. Back in ’84, i do recall Jantzen having a water slide, and of course, Montgomery Wards, the other new stores werent present (staples, camera world, Barnes and Noble, Comp USA, etc) it was a long walk to go from Wards to Toys r Us. CIrcuit City at the time was a Video City USA. In 2000-06, EB Boutique sold used pc games and movies. I was a late bloomer on game consoles, when most people were using Gamecube, i was still using SNES. Does anyone have old pics of vancouver mall or Jantzen beach when they had a waterslide?

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    David Reply:

    @eric,

    Vancouver Mall never had a water slide. The closest water slide that was near Vancouver Mall was located next to Golden Skate. The tower/building is still there, but the water slide is long gone.

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    Pseudo3D Reply:

    @David, I think he means Jantzen Beach when it had a waterslide.

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    Suzanne Reply:

    @eric, The Skippers building is there next to the am pm. It is now a mexican fast food place called Muchas Gracias

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  40. Is that guy serious about them deciding to demolish it??

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  41. A few months ago, a 23-screen cinema was added replacing another theatre that was half the size. http://www.cinetopia.com
    Cinetopia as of this post has three theatres in the Portland metro area. This particular location contains a bar & restaurant as well as specially designed auditoriums that have “super high-deffinition” screens while other auditoriums have more of a living room feel.

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  42. 23 screens!!!! How did we ever survive with just four meager screens at the original VanMall cinema?

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    SEAN Reply:

    @Gene, If you think that theatre is large, AMC has built 13 theatres with 30-screens each. One of these cinemas was constructed in Toronto & the rest were built in various US cities & suburbs. The one in Warronville was sold to Regal Cinemas & was cut to 17-screens, but the rest are ripe for conversion to Fork & Screen & Cinema sweets as several locations have already done. http://www.amctheatres.com/dinein A variation on the local Cinetopia brand I posted above.

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    Gene Reply:

    @SEAN

    And I thought Los Angeles, where I am now, was the capital of the megacineplex. The dine in concept is nice. Reminds me of an upscale McMenamins Bagdhad theater in Portland. That place was fun.

    http://www.mcmenamins.com/219-bagdad-theater-pub-home

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    SEAN Reply:

    @Gene, Dinner & a movie is the most recent trend in the cinema industry. In the L. A. market there are a pair of Rave Motion Picture theatres as well as several Pacific Theatres under the Arclight banner that have the dinner & a movie concept. http://www.pacifictheatres.com http://www.ravecinemas.com. FYI The AMC locations with 30-screens in the L. A. area are West Covina, Block @ Orange & Ontario Mills.

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  43. I remember Herfy’s Hefty Hamburgers being at Tower Mall. And I also remember Jantzen Beach mall being an amusement park before the mall

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  44. Oh, right. Herfy’s. It had the great sign with the cow head. Didn’t the Herfy’s turn into a Skipper’s later on?

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  45. I didn’t realize Nordstrom was closing both the Vancouver Mall & Lloyd Center stores in Febuary 2015.

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