Port of Camas-Washougal receives $500,000 for commerce center

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

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An industrial project aimed at bringing new jobs to the Camas-Washougal area has received state funding to start work on its first building.

The Port of Camas-Washougal announced Monday it has been awarded $499,000 from the Washington State Community Revitalization Board, which will take care of constructing Phase I of the Steigerwald Commerce Center. The 120-acre master-planned industrial tract is situated west of the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge on the north bank of the Columbia River. It is the largest undeveloped industrial parcel in Clark County, a site port officials hope will one day support between 300 and 400 jobs.

The port has already invested $2.5 million to develop infrastructure for the project, including street access into the site, which will connect to state Highway 14.

Longtime port tenant Foods In Season, a gourmet fresh food supplier, has signed on to relocate its operation to the business park’s first building, a new distribution center. The company expects to add 10 new jobs as a result of its expansion.

“In a period of eight months, the port went from groundbreaking to signing the first tenant for Steigerwald Commerce Center,” said David Ripp, the port’s executive director.

Ripp said the port would construct the shell of the new building — dubbed Building 15 — for Foods In Season and the private company would complete the interior to fit its production needs.

The state Community Revitalization Board is focused on creating private sector jobs in partnership with local governments by financing infrastructure improvements to encourage business development and expansion. The port expects to match the state investment with $1.85 million in local funding to complete the distribution center.