Vision for C-W Port takes long-term view

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

Published:

 
photoThe modification will help the port "become more efficient when we're trying to plan for our capital projects," said David Ripp, Port of Camas-Washougal's executive director.

(/The Columbian)

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The Port of Camas-Washougal is revising its comprehensive development plan to include a new recreational element aimed, in part, at snaring state funding for a new park and trail.

The change is part of the port's larger ongoing effort to transform 40 acres of waterfront property into a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts and for a mix of residential, commercial and office buildings.

The port's proposed "recreational lands and facilities" element outlines capital improvements to be made within the next six years. They include everything from dock and marina upgrades to parking and security facilities, and redevelopment of a former lumber mill site. The modification will help the port "become more efficient when we're trying to plan for our capital projects," said David Ripp, the port's executive director.

The port has decided the change isn't likely to generate major adverse impacts to land, air and water. As a result, the port says, it won't need to produce an environmental-impact statement. The port has collected written comments in response to the proposed change and to the port's "determination of non-significance" under the state's Environmental Policy Act.

Port commissioners are expected to approve the revision in February.

That would clear the way for the port to apply for grant funding from the state Recreation and Conservation Office to help build a waterfront trail and a park. The proposed 0.83-mile waterfront trail would run in the vicinity of the marina, port office, former Hambleton Lumber Co. site, and the South Sixth Street and South A Street properties. The proposed 3.44-acre park would be built next to and south of the waterfront trail.

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 under way by summer 2015.

Those and other public amenities would complement a longer-term initiative: building a mixed-use development, including new residences, restaurants and offices. To that end, the port owns 13 acres of the 26-acre former lumber mill site, as well as 14 acres immediately east of the site, putting a total of about 27 acres under port ownership.

Killian Pacific, the Vancouver-based commercial real estate and investment company, owns the other 13-acre half of the former mill parcel.

An environmental cleanup of the mill property is expected to begin in 2014. The port and Killian Pacific plan to work to transform the entire 40-acre waterfront site into a point of destination.

Ripp said a market analysis is underway to "open the door (to) what we need to be marketing toward" in terms of the businesses that would likely set up shop there.

"We want to put in a building as soon as possible," Ripp said. That could be 2015, he added, but it's likelier to occur in 2016.