Vancouver, Washington, is located on the north shore of the Columbia River and has an estimated population of 158,000 residents, many of whom commute to neighboring Portland, Oregon. Often confused with the city of the same name in British Columbia, Canada (though it is 305 miles south of the border) residents and city officials have suggested changing the name to Fort Vancouver, Old Vancouver or Vancouver USA.
The area was first inhabited by Chinook and Klickitat, who still have a presence and influence in the area. This influence can be seen mostly in cultural restoration, environmental, and over-development issues. The city has recently experienced conflicts with other Clark County communities because of rapid growth in the area. Due to urban growth and annexation Vancouver is often thought of as split between East and West Vancouver, divided by NE Andresen Road. East Vancouver is going through a transition from rural farmland to suburban development. If the proposed Burnt Bridge Creek annexation is approved by residents, Vancouver will surpass both Tacoma and Spokane to become the state's second-largest city.
Vancouver is home to Washington State University and Clark College. Students and faculty in the area have had a great deal to do with supporting performing and visual arts organizations and locations. Some of these are Vancouver OnStage Productions, Magenta Theater Company, the Felida Players Group, and the Old Slocum House Theatre Company- the oldest nonprofit community theatre- with performances presented at the historical landmark theater house. The city also hosts annual festivals and events like a fireworks display near Fort Vancouver, the St. Joseph Vancouver Sausage Fest, and the Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival which is the largest in SW Washington.