In: Uncategorized

Washougal Wash. – December 11, 2018 – The Port of Camas-Washougal is pleased to announce it has chosen a Port Owner’s Representative to assist in selecting a Waterfront Developer – The Leland Consulting Group based out of Portland, OR.

The Leland Consulting Group is a team of strategic advisors focused on urban real estate, economic development, and public-private partnerships. Their expertise in balancing rigorous analysis with candid advice for strategies that will enhance our community and create lasting value make them an ideal choice.

Next steps include determining the scope of work, cost proposal and submitting the contract to the Commission for approval at the January 7, 2019 Commission Meeting. On December 14, the Port will send out a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to all of the interested developers with a deadline of January 31, where the Port will continue the conversation with prospective developers.

“We are very excited to be moving forward with the Leland Consulting Group,” reported David Ripp, Port CEO. “Their involvement in the Port of Vancouver’s Waterfront Revitalization and like-minded vision for keeping the waterfront a thriving and vibrant destination will make for a great partnership.”

Upcoming Waterfront projects already in process include the finished grading and clearing of the 26.5 acres of prime real estate to make way for the development to continue. The Waterfront Park Natural Play Area, which is due to begin construction in February 2019 by lowest bidder, Keystone Contracting; and the construction of the connecting trail between the Port’s Waterfront property and the City of Washougal Downtown in the summer of 2019.

For more information and to follow the Waterfront Development progress, go
to Port’s website at Portcw.com.

By Adam Littman, Columbian Staff Writer

Published: September 16, 2018, 6:00 AM

thumbnail of 09-16-port-of-cw-site-plan

Port of Camas-Washougal officials took the next step toward waterfront development this month when they sent out a request for proposal for plans to build out the 26.5 acres it owns east of Waterfront Park.

The request was distributed locally, as well as in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver, according to David Ripp, executive director of the port.

“I feel very confident in doing industrial development,” Ripp said. “I’ve been doing it 24 years. I have not done a commercial or waterfront development.”

Port officials are looking for mixed-use development on the waterfront, with early visioning for the site calling for residential and commercial development, with plenty of open spaces and landscaping. Some design plans for the space have shown the possibility of a plaza with nearby retail space and a hotel, as well as an office park.

Ripp said the port will have some flexibility when it comes to working with a developer; the port would be open to a developer purchasing property, a long-term ground lease or a public-private partnerships.

Along with the 26.5 acres of port property, Killian Pacific owns about 8.5 acres to the east of the waterfront property, where the Vancouver-based commercial real estate developer will develop a residential complex. The overall project will consist of 150 to 250 units, potentially developed in phases, according to the request. The port finished building the Washougal Waterfront Park and Trail in 2016, connecting the port property to downtowns in both Washougal and Camas.

According to the request for proposal, the former Hambleton Bros. Lumber Co. site was appraised at $13,734,000 in May 2017. Roughly $16.3 million has been invested in the waterfront so far, according to the proposal. The property cost $12 million, building the waterfront park and trail cost $3.3 million, a Department of Ecology cleanup of the site cost $785,000, and conceptual design, master planning and infrastructure design for the site cost $215,000.

Ripp said there isn’t a timeline for the development. Responses are due by Oct. 19, and port officials will review the submissions from Oct. 22 to 31. The port will interview developers Nov. 5 through Nov. 16 and choose someone shortly after, Ripp said.

Construction could start in 2020, with completion of the first phase in 2021, Ripp said.

“It’s going to take 18 months to get something designed, permitted,” Ripp said, “and we don’t even know what we’re going to do yet.”

Ripp said he wouldn’t be shocked if things moved faster than expected. He said port officials gave themselves five to seven years to complete each phase of the port’s industrial development, and each phase has been done in about three years. He said the project could be completed in as few as 10 years.

Regional outlook

Paul Dennis, CEO of the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association, said the waterfront property should help improve the economy of east Clark County, working in partnership with Camas’ destination downtown and Washougal’s burgeoning business scene.

“This property developing is bridging what’s happening in Camas with what’s percolating in downtown Washougal,” Dennis said. “It can help strengthen the local economies. It can become its own specialty district, like what you’re seeing in Portland with places like Sellwood, Northwest 23rd and Mississippi.”

Dennis said each area having its own unique characteristic can draw people in, while their connectivity can help bring people from one spot of east county to another.

“Those people will find other areas to explore in Camas and Washougal,” he said. “It’s the entry to the Gorge. They’ll find all those natural amenities to explore, too.”

Dennis praised port officials for getting the property ready for development, and for working to ensure whatever is developed at the site will fit in with the surrounding areas. With the new park, already-popular marina, and soon-to-open revitalized Black Pearl, Dennis said people are visiting the waterfront in east county more. The port’s waterfront property will help drive even more people to the area, he said.

“This becomes a nice add for the activity that has been occurring within the area,” Dennis said. “The timing is about right (to develop).”

Request for proposals to be released soon

The road ends, at least for now, near the Western entrance of Washougal Waterfront Park and Trail, 335 S. "A" St., Washougal. Individually, Port of Camas-Washougal commissioners envision a cultural center, corporate office park, restaurants, coffee shops and a boutique hotel to be built on the vacant site. (Dawn Feldhaus/Post-Record) (Dawn Feldhaus/Post-Record)

With the Port of Camas-Washougal’s recent finalized purchase of land on the waterfront, the next step is to issue a request for proposals from developers.

The port purchased 11 acres — located on part of the former Hambleton Lumber Company property, at 335 S. “A” St., Washougal — from Killian Pacific for $5.98 million. After that purchase, the port owns a total of approximately 31.5 acres of waterfront land zoned highway commercial.

Port of C-W Executive Director David Ripp mentioned to port commissioners during their Monday, Aug. 6, meeting that he plans to have a request for proposals ready for the commissioners to discuss during their next meeting at 5 p.m., Monday, Aug. 20.

Ripp said the developer will help the port in the development of the site — potentially through land purchase, lease or a public private partnership.

“The greatest help will be from their vast experience from other projects as well as their clientele list,” he said.

Ripp said in a news release the port’s mission and intention is to maintain public access to the waterfront in any future development.

Killian Pacific, a commercial real estate development and investment company based in Vancouver, bought 8.5 acres, located on the east end of the waterfront, from the port for $2.53 million. Killian Pacific plans to develop 150 to 250 rental units that will probably be apartments, located adjacent to the port’s pedestrian waterfront trail, as well as the future natural play area and a one-acre park.

Ripp said the port paid more per acre than Killian because of the location and proximity to infrastructure.

“The property the port purchased is more desirable for commercial development,” he said. “Even though it’s zoned the same, there is a value difference when it comes to the type of development you are placing on the site. Commercial is more valuable than residential.”

Art advocates favor cultural center near Columbia River

Port of C-W Commissioner Bill Ward is hoping the future waterfront development will include a place where the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and other musicians, actors and actresses can perform.

Ward, a season ticket holder and contributor to the Vancouver Symphony’s annual campaign, remembers visiting the Sydney Opera House, in Sydney, Australia, while on vacation 25 years ago.

“We have an opportunity to do something equally novel and iconic,” he said.

Ward said a cultural center, combined with a conference center, would complement and encourage development of a corporate office park that would bring good paying jobs into the community.

“The center would provide common space for business conferences and expositions,” he added.

Ward said the port would probably own and manage the cultural and conference center.

“A large contribution would be inherent from interests in the community (for) naming rights,” he said.

Ward said restaurants would complement the office use and provide a reason for people to visit the waterfront.

He does not want to see any shops on the waterfront, describing retail as “a dying breed.”

“And we don’t want to compete with our downtowns,” Ward added.

Port Commissioner John Spencer said he likes the idea of a cultural center on the waterfront, in principle, but he would need to see a proposal.

“I doubt the port has the (financial) capacity to build one, so it would probably need to be a private venture or a public private partnership,” he said.

Spencer’s wish list for the Washougal waterfront includes shopping, restaurants and offices.

He envisions, 20 to 30 years from now, the waterfront will be “an important satellite community, recreation and tourist center to the two towns.”

“It will no longer include a boat launch, and the boat parking area will have become a more recent, phase II of the waterfront development,” he added. “A new boat launch will be located somewhere along the Camas slough. Camas will be developing a new showcase community along its waterfront with the port as an active partner.”

Port Commissioner Larry Keister said the focus of the local waterfront development will be to provide jobs and business opportunities.

“The development will not be like Portland’s South waterfront or Vancouver’s waterfront,” he said. “The port waterfront is unique and will be developed with the needs of Camas and Washougal in mind.”

Keister referred to the direct access to the Columbia River and a walking trail that will connect the port development with downtown Washougal.

He envisions restaurants, coffee shops and locations where people can enjoy the waterfront views, as well as a boutique hotel with a conference center, office space and co-op offices that can be used by business people who work out of their homes and need a temporary space to meet clients or hold meetings.

Keister would also like to see a festival street that can be blocked off for special events, farmers markets or art and craft fairs.

“Along this street would be retail opportunities on the ground floor and offices on the second floor,” he added. “It would be ideal for dental or medical or law offices.”

Keister said a performing arts building would be a benefit to the community by providing rentable space for live theater performances or musical events, classroom space for art, music, photography and dance lessons or rehearsals and a location for local artists to display their work.

This site map, created by PBS Engineering, shows a potential layout of buildings on 26.5 acres of waterfront land owned by the Port of Camas-Washougal. The port plans to issue a request for proposals from developers later this month, to help the port in the development of the site located on part of the former Hambleton Lumber Company property, at 335 S. “A” St., Washougal. (Contributed photo by PBS Engineering, courtesy of the Port of Camas-Washougal)

Port acquires 11 acres of waterfront property and sells 8.5 acres to Killian Pacific

WASHOUGAL  — The Port of Camas-Washougal announced this week the finalized purchase of 11.0 acres of waterfront property along the Columbia River, formerly known as the Hambleton Lumber Company site.

This artist rendering shows the master plan for the Port of Camas-Washougal waterfront development. Rendering courtesy of Hansen Design

The property is located adjacent to the existing Port recreational boating marina. As part of a Purchase Sale Agreement, Killian Pacific sold 11.0 acres to the Port and bought approximately 8.5 acres from the Port.

The Port of Camas-Washougal paid $5,981,262.50 for the 11 acres of waterfront property and sold the 8.5 acres to Killian Pacific for $2,533,445.67.

David Ripp, executive director of the Port of Camas-Washougal stated, “I’m pleased we have been able to secure public access to the waterfront. What’s more, this purchase will enable the port to directly connect our existing land to the east and provide a way for the community to enjoy amenities along the length of the port-owned waterfront once the Waterfront is developed. The Port’s mission and its intent is to maintain public access to the waterfront in any future development.

The property is designated Highway Commercial and with the addition of the 11.0 acres totals approximately 31.5 acres of Port holdings.

Killian Pacific purchased a portion of the eastern boundary of the Port’s original 14-acres and is developing a residential housing element to the Parkers Landing mixed-use expansion. The property is adjacent to the Port of Camas-Washougal’s pedestrian trail and soon to be constructed Natural Play Area fronting the Columbia River with a 1-acre park inclusive in the design.

By Adam Littman, Columbian Staff Writer

Published: March 21, 2017, 9:46 PM

3-D rendering shows what officials hope becomes destination after development is built in phases

Even with development, Port of Camas-Washougal officials want to make sure the waterfront property stays green.

After a year-plus of discussing ideas for how the 40-plus acres of waterfront property should be developed, and what that should look like, the port received a 3-D rendering of its Washougal Waterfront Vision and Master Plan from Hansen-Design President David Hansen earlier this month.

The plan calls for a mix of residential and commercial development, with plenty of open spaces and landscaping throughout the 40 acres. The port owns about 27 acres of the property, while the remaining 13 acres are owned by Parker’s Landing, which is represented by Vancouver-based commercial real estate developer Killian Pacific.

Killian will handle developing the east side of the property, where the residential portion will go. That part will be developed first, with a plan in place and construction starting in the next 12 to 18 months, according to David Ripp, executive director of the port. The commercial development will follow the residential.

Getting the residential piece in place first is intended to help drive the commercial side, Ripp said, since there would be a built-in base of people nearby. Still, he knows that for the development to live up to its potential, it can’t rely only on people who live there.

“Anything we do, I believe it has to be a destination,” he said. “When I say destination, I don’t mean like Disneyland. We need restaurants, a great movie theater. We need the type of businesses that are going to drive people down here. You’re not going to put a Red Robin or Qdoba, or other businesses just down the street on (Southeast) 192nd (Avenue).”

Ripp would also like to see businesses come in that will allow residents to interact with the property, like a place where visitors can get stand-up paddleboards.

The plan partly comes from residents and ideas discussed during three public meetings the port hosted to ask residents what they want out of the new development.

“What we heard from the public is ‘we don’t want industrial here,’ ” Ripp said. “We heard, ‘some business, retail or commercial. The biggest thing is we want access to the river.’ ”

The open spaces throughout will help guests get right up to the water, and it can lead to the port hosting a variety of city events and festivals. There is already some recreational space down at the waterfront, as the port opened Washougal Waterfront Park, 56 S. First St., Washougal, in September.

One of the main features of the park is a concrete compass rose overlooking the Columbia River, and a trail that is already seeing heavy use, Ripp said. Plans also call for an interactive play area along the trail.

The city is trying to secure funding to extend that trail over to Steamboat Landing Park, and if it can connect the two, visitors would be able to take the trail from the waterfront park property to downtown Washougal.

“That connection between the port and the downtown is a critical piece to connect Washougal to the river,” said Suzanne Grover, the city’s parks, cemetery and facilities manager.

Grover said the city applied for some grants for the $1.7 million project, and is waiting to hear if the project is included in any state funding.

Additions to Steigerwald Commerce Center are also addressed at capital planning retreat

The immediate priority for the Port of Camas-Washougal is getting the waterfront development off the ground.

That is according to Port Commissioner John Spencer.

“It will improve revenue flow [for the port],” he said during the commission’s strategic and capital planning retreat Jan. 27, at The Heathman Lodge. “The waterfront will have the biggest impact on the community. It will bring jobs, and Washougal needs the sales tax.”

Spencer said later he expects the port will lease land for development and build commercial/retail buildings for lease.

“The port’s primary job is economic development,” he said. “We build buildings and infrastructure so that private industry can flourish, thus bringing new jobs.”

The port owns 27 acres, and Parker’s Landing LLC owns 13 acres of the former Hambleton Lumber Company property at 335 S. “A” St., Washougal.

Parker’s Landing LLC is represented by Killian Pacific President Lance Killian.

Killian Pacific is interested in purchasing some of the port-owned land on the east end of the waterfront. That area is expected to include rental residential development.

The port is not chartered to be involved in residential development that does not have commercial or retail businesses tied to it.

Multi-family and single-family residential are among the development options mentioned by David Hansen, a Seattle architect hired by the port to create a master plan for the land.

Port Executive Director David Ripp said options include the port swapping, leasing or selling land to Killian Pacific. Commissioner Bill Ward has said he would favor swapping or leasing land.

Spencer and Commissioner Bill Macrae-Smith have indicated they are open to the potential of selling some of the waterfront land for residential development.

Ward said the port should request proposals for competitive pricing from companies interested in buying, leasing or developing some of that land.

“We should avoid sole source procurement and insure the value of the property would be realized,” he said.

Spencer said regarding a land transaction with Killian Pacific he wanted to “make this thing happen.”

Killian was present for some of the discussions during the retreat.

Port Attorney Carolyn Lake recommended further discussions occur during an executive session.

Those talks are expected to occur during an executive session Tuesday, Feb. 7, following the port commission’s next regular meeting at 5 p.m., in the port office meeting room, 24 S. “A” St., Washougal. Executive sessions are closed to the public.

During the retreat, Ward said the port should watch out for “gifting public assets.”

Ripp said selling land at market value is not gifting.

He referred to the Steigerwald Commerce Center where there is an asking price per square foot.

“We are not taking bids,” Ripp said.

He mentioned the uniform look of commercial, office and retail buildings, as the port partners with Killian.

The waterfront developments are expected to be built in phases and blocks.

“Residential is priority one for commercial,” Ripp said.

Killian said residential development will provide “built in customers” for the commercial and retail businesses.

Industrial park developments

Ripp said there is a potential $1.5 million sale of approximately six acres in the Steigerwald Commerce Center.

A manufacturing company is interested in locating there.

“There has been 100 percent occupancy for almost four years,” Ripp said regarding the port’s industrial park.

Construction bids for Building 18 will be requested in mid-April or early May.

The project is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2018.

The 50,000-square-foot metal pre-fabricated building will be located east of the Waste Connections transfer station, 4020 S. Grant St.

The port has pre-leased 6,600 square feet in it.

“The building has not been constructed yet, and this company has advised they would like this space to lease before it’s available,” Ripp said.

The name of the interested company was not made public. The lease will be up for port commission approval in the late spring.

Another company is interested in leasing 3,300 square feet.

Johansson Architecture, PC, of Battle Ground, is the architect for Building 18.

Author: Alan R. Hughes, RG, LG, PG Published: September 22, 2016
Blogs, Engineering, Press Releases

Tomorrow the Port of Camas-Washougal will celebrate the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of the Washougal Waterfront Park and Trail. MFA is excited to see this project completed, which began with an Integrated Planning Grant that MFA assisted the Port in receiving from the Washington State Department of Ecology. This project was a great combination of public and private entities, working with Ecology to help a community develop a brownfield and establish public access to the Columbia River waterfront.

We hope to see you there to celebrate this monumental accomplishment! Click on the link to find out all the details of the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting.

http://www.washougalwaterfront.com/

By Aaron Corvin, The Columbian, Vancouver, Wash.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

June 18–If they wait a while, carefully pick the right strategy and if they hit the right market conditions, the Port of Camas-Washougal and a private developer may be able to transform 40 acres of waterfront property into a profitable destination point that draws visitors from the Portland-Vancouver region.

But that option carries problems of timing and risk. There are other, safer alternatives that could lead to the parcel’s redevelopment sooner, spurring new jobs and tax revenues.

Those assessments are just some of the major takeaways from a 63-page market analysis that was delivered to port commissioners Tuesday evening by Eric Hovee, principal of E.D. Hovee & Company LLC, based in Vancouver.

A decision on what direction the port should take with the property isn’t expected anytime soon.

“There’s no rush to judgment here,” port Commissioner Mark Lampton said as officials discussed the market feasibility study during Tuesday’s public hearing.

Hovee’s analysis focuses on the redevelopment potential of a 40-acre waterfront site that’s 1.5 miles west of Washougal’s downtown and bounded by Highway 14 and the Columbia River. The analysis, which spells out the advantages and disadvantages of various building scenarios, is intended to help the port and its partner — Killian Pacific, the Vancouver commercial real estate developer — achieve both public and private development goals for the site.

The port owns about 67 percent of the waterfront parcel while Killian Pacific owns 33 percent of the site through its affiliate, Parkers Landing LLC. As port officials discuss the site’s long-term development potential, they’re moving to accomplish other related tasks.

This week, for example, the port plans to formally request bids from companies on conducting environmental cleanup work at the site, a portion of which once housed a lumber mill.

The state Department of Ecology is picking up 90 percent of the $860,000 cost of cleaning up the site, said David Ripp, the port’s executive director. The port will use liability insurance funds it recovered to pay for the rest of the tab. The cleanup work is expected to be finished by mid-October.

The port also is seeking state grant funding to help pay for a new park and trail as part of the larger waterfront project.

‘A tough one’

One redevelopment idea is to sculpt the waterfront site into a “multi-use destination development,” a regional attraction featuring such uses as a resort or recreational water park or specialty retail outlet mall. If successful, such a project could create a visitor “gateway to (the Columbia River) Gorge scenic area,” according to Hovee’s analysis, with potential high spending and tax benefits. However, such a scenario requires an “experienced private operator or public financial support” and “may wait years for (a) qualified project to materialize.”

Another option would involve co-mingling a destination project with a lower-risk mixed-use development, which would allow building on half the site to proceed more quickly. However, Hovee’s report recommends no further consideration of either of those destination-oriented options, in part because “without an existing private commitment, land can be more productively used for community retail or mixed use.”

During Tuesday’s hearing, Hovee said it was possible to transform the site into a destination point but they’d have to define a vision, and find a company that not only agrees with that vision but can make a profit building it out.

Commissioners grappled with the destination scenarios.

Lampton said the waterfront site is a “jewel,” but that the question of how you make it into an attraction is “a tough one.” Most people in the area travel west, not east, to shop or to reach places, he said.

Commissioner Bill Ward said he doesn’t necessarily agree with that view. The waterfront site is unique, Ward said, as opposed to the standard commercial development you find along such corridors as 192nd Avenue in Camas and east Vancouver.

‘High amenity’

According to Hovee’s analysis, two other options — “community commercial center” and “commercial retail/office and residential mixed-use” — are feasible and merit more detailed evaluations.

The “community commercial center” scenario would include up to 350,000 square feet of commercial space, mostly for retail/service uses but with room for build-to-suit office space. It would create 720 jobs at full build-out, and generate $4.6 million in one-time state and local sales taxes, as well as $6.6 million in annual sales and property taxes.

That option “misses (a) major opportunity for waterfront living but avoids (the) risk of overshooting a not yet tested market,” according to Hovee’s analysis.

Under the “commercial retail/office and residential mixed-use” option, the site would become an urban village, with about half of the property developed for retail and office purposes and the other half for apartments and townhomes. It would feature about 175,000 square feet of commercial development, 370 “high amenity” condos/apartments and 115 townhomes.

That option “diversifies (the) housing mix,” the analysis says, “with new multifamily plus townhome options (and) multi-year project build-out.”

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(c)2014 The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.)

Visit The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.) at www.columbian.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

by AARON CORVIN / COLUMBIAN STAFF WRITER
The Columbian

Published on March 16, 2014 12:01AM

Port of C-W, city, PSU students team on plan to link parcel, downtown

The Port of Camas-Washougal’s plan to transform 40 acres of waterfront property into a pleasant mix of recreational amenities and residential, commercial and office buildings is no rush job.

On the contrary, since beginning to work on the project in earnest in the summer of 2011, the port has gathered extensive public input on what the former industrial site should look and feel like. It has teamed up with several partners — including the city of Washougal and a Vancouver-based commercial real estate developer — in hopes of eventually breaking ground on a project. A market study, a draft of which is due for review by the end of this month, is expected to show potential development scenarios. And the port, meanwhile, aims to secure state funding for a new park and trail.

Now, public planning for the site is entering a new phase with an ambitious mission: to ensure that redevelopment of the waterfront property doesn’t occur in isolation, that the site — about 1.7 miles away from Washougal’s downtown — complements and connects to that city’s core instead of subtracting from it.

To that end, the port has teamed up with the city of Washougal and Portland State University to generate a community vision for the waterfront parcel that not only augments the city’s downtown but also creates a local and regional identity for Washougal. The planning effort is led by a team of students from PSU’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning program.

Suffice it to say, it’s no small effort. The agreement signed by PSU, the port and the city outlines the problem to be overcome and the opportunity to be seized: “The waterfront is disconnected and detached from downtown Washougal and there are concerns that redevelopment will detract from downtown. There is existing momentum towards developing a strong community identity and vision.”

The project will unfold over several months, involving community events, surveys, opportunities for public input and progress reports. It’s expected to culminate in early June with a final community vision plan that will guide development of the waterfront site and, according to the project’s work plan, “lead to a more connected, accessible and vibrant Washougal.”

Victor Caesar, communications coordinator for the PSU team, said the group wants “to be visionary and inspire the community” but to do so in way that’s based on research and evidence. “In short,” he said in an email to The Columbian last week, “our hopes and dreams for the final product are something that is a clear recognition and integration of what the community wants to see on the site while also grounding it with real life, tangible recommendations that the port and city can use moving forward.”

&Fresh set of eyes’

The port and city are providing the PSU team with a budget of up to $5,000 (the port is kicking in $3,500, the city, $1,500) for materials, supplies, meeting space, travel and other costs associated with the project, dubbed “Washougal Waterfront: A Community Connected.”

The port and the city will provide the PSU team with relevant information, including past public input efforts, strategic plans, market analyses, maps and neighborhood data.

The PSU team, operating under the name Convergence Community Planning, will tackle an array of responsibilities. Those include:

n Researching and producing an “existing conditions” report that will include a summary of Washougal’s current physical, social, cultural and economic conditions, as well as planning efforts by both the city and the port. The idea is to identify the challenges and opportunities of the waterfront site and the community.

n Producing a case study and best practices report pinpointing successful recreational trail and waterfront redevelopment projects in small towns.

n Designing and carrying out a “stakeholder engagement process,” including reviewing and analyzing feedback from past public-input processes, planning and leading engagement events and activities — and integrating all of the community feedback into the final product.

n Producing a community vision plan, which integrates existing conditions, case studies and public input.

The project’s work plan establishes numerous potential stakeholders. They include: Killian Pacific, the commercial real estate and investment company that is partnering with the port to redevelop the waterfront parcel; Washougal-based Lone Wolf Development Corp., which has publicly voiced skepticism that the waterfront plan would align with Washougal’s downtown projects, including ones built by Lone Wolf; the U.S. National Park Service; Parkersville National Historic Site Advisory Committee; Friends of the Columbia Gorge; the Columbia River Economic Development Council; city of Camas; the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association; and local businesses and neighborhood associations.

Tapping PSU to engage the community so comprehensively — and in ways the port and city haven’t necessarily contemplated — will help draw people into the planning process who might not otherwise feel their input counts, according to Mitch Kneipp, Washougal’s community development director.

It’s also about putting “a fresh set of eyes” on the waterfront project and how it relates to Washougal’s downtown development activity, Kneipp said. There “could be something that none of us have seen before,” he added. “Only time will really tell.”

A thoughtful approach

The work of the PSU students to link the waterfront project’s future to that of downtown Washougal’s is part of a larger effort by east Clark County government and business leaders to encourage thoughtful economic development.

An important piece of that effort came in July 2011, when the Port of Camas-Washougal secured a $200,000 grant from the state Department of Ecology to accomplish several tasks, including crafting a plan to clean up contaminants at the waterfront parcel — the site of the former Hambleton sawmill — producing strategies for redeveloping the site, restoring natural habitat in the area and providing public access to the waterfront.

Since then, the port has collected plenty of public input, including by way of community meetings and surveys. At one public workshop, for example, area residents said they didn’t want big-box stores at the waterfront site. They also said they wanted to see the property become a destination point woven into the existing downtowns, streetscapes and trails of Washougal and Camas.

In November 2012, the port purchased about 13 acres of the 26-acre former Hambleton parcel from Killian Pacific. That $6 million acquisition added to the 14 acres the port already owns immediately east of the former lumber mill site. Killian Pacific retained the other 13-acre half of the former mill parcel.

Together, the company and the port hope to redevelop the entire 40-acre waterfront site into a place to live, work, play.

As part of that overall plan, the port wants to build a waterfront trail and park. Both projects would cost an estimated $2 million. The port has budgeted $1 million toward completing them. It hopes to secure another $1 million from the state Recreation and Conservation Office.

If all goes as planned, construction of the park and trail could be underway by summer 2015. The new waterfront trail could one day connect Marina Park to the Washougal levee and points east. The proposed 3.44-acre park would be built next to and south of the waterfront trail.

Meanwhile, the board of the Camas-Washougal Economic Development

Association is expected on March 27 to review a draft market analysis of the waterfront site’s potential development alternatives. Paul Dennis, president and CEO of CWEDA, said the analysis will turn up “different use options” and speak to “what is feasible from a market standpoint.”

That analysis will help inform the PSU students’ work, Dennis said.

Dennis said he doesn’t think rejuvenating the waterfront property will make it a direct competitor to either Washougal’s or Camas’ downtown business districts. Each site has its own opportunities and challenges, he said. At 40 acres, the waterfront site has “limited acreage,” Dennis added. “You can chew that up pretty quick.”

Downtown Camas has “a number of well-established medium to upper-income neighborhoods surrounding it,” Dennis said. “It’s tight-knit.” By contrast, Washougal’s downtown — while it has seen several new tenants move into newly constructed buildings along Main Street — would benefit from more people living near the core, Dennis said.

At some point, he added, you need a “housing strategy that begins to develop a more localized consumer base for those businesses.”

Although the PSU team’s effort focuses on linking the waterfront site to Washougal’s downtown, said David Ripp, executive director of the Port of Camas-Washougal, Camas will be heard, too.

“We’ll touch upon that,” he said, “and have Camas tied in as well.”

Aaron Corvin: http://twitter.com/col_econ; http://on.fb.me/AaronCorvin; 360-735-4518; aaron.corvin@columbian.com