Port of Ridgefield may lure Fish and Wildlife

State agency’s Vancouver office could relocate

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian business editor

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The state of Washington is considering relocating the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s southwest region headquarters from Vancouver to the Port of Ridgefield’s new 30-acre Discovery Ridge office park at Pioneer Street and 45th Avenue in Ridgefield, the port said in a news release on Monday.

The port and the state wildlife department are discussing an agreement under which the port would finance and build a 38,000 square-foot building on 5 acres to house up to 100 employees.

The development would include outdoor storage space for boats and field equipment, and would have 150 parking spaces for employees and the public.

The facility also could be used by the state Department of Ecology and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It would be designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, silver certification standards.

Long-term lease

The estimated cost of a Fish and Wildlife office in Ridgefield is $9.2 million, and financing would likely come from either revenue or general obligation bonds, said Randy Mueller, the port’s director of business development. The port would offer a long-term lease at a rate that initially matches Fish and Wildlife’s present lease rate, and would include a purchase option. The proposal is being reviewed by the state Office of Financial Management.

Mueller said he can’t speculate on when state officials will make a decision.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife regional headquarters serves Clark County as well as Cowlitz, Lewis, Skamania, Klickitat and Wahkiakum counties. It’s currently located in a former Fred Meyer garden center at 2108 Grand Blvd., Vancouver. The lease at that site will expire Nov. 30.