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.