Cleanup of Ridgefield site done

41-acre waterfront parcel eyed for mixed-use development

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The Port of Ridgefield, city of Ridgefield and the state Department of Ecology have reached an agreement that formally signs off on completion of the long-running environmental cleanup of 41 acres of port-owned waterfront property, slated to be redeveloped for a mix of uses.

The consent decree signed Oct. 23 by the two governments and the state environmental agency signals that the property on Lake River, a Columbia River tributary, is officially ready for nonindustrial development and installation of public amenities.

Indeed, the port’s long-term vision for the waterfront parcel is to transform it into a mixed-use development: Millers’ Landing. It would include restaurants, retailers, office space and, possibly, a boutique hotel. And it would make room for more public amenities and access to the river.

To be sure, more cleanup work needs to be done. While Millers’ Landing is open for development, “we do have some sediment dredging work in Lake River and Carty Lake that needs to be completed next year, as well as some confirmation soil sampling in a neighborhood adjacent to the site,” according to Brent Grening, the port’s CEO.

The consent decree marks yet another milestone in a $70 million, state-funded effort to clean up pollution left over decades by Pacific Wood Treating, which declared bankruptcy and shut down in 1993. Cleanup of the site has included removal of about 25,000 gallons of liquid contamination and 1.5 million pounds of toxic sludge.

In August, port officials and the public celebrated another milestone in the planned rejuvenation of the waterfront site: the opening of a three-quarters-of-a-mile-long paved walking path. It allows people to stroll along Lake River and to view Carty Lake and the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

As to the future of Millers’ Landing, the port is expected to seek a public-private partnership to redevelop the site. “That’s how I see this thing tracking forward,” Grening told The Columbian in August.