The Port of Vancouver’s grand vision for its Terminal 1 site, once a dreary stretch along the Columbia River, is slowly emerging into existence — one section at a time.
Vancouver Landing, the western half of the project, made its debut Thursday, making it the first completed project of the Terminal 1 development.
“Terminal 1 was just an idea, and now it is becoming a reality,” said Julianna Marler, Port of Vancouver CEO.
Terminal 1, a 10-acre space between The Waterfront Vancouver development and Columbia Street, will feature mixed-use buildings, office space, apartments, stores, restaurants and a public market. The pier is slated to become an active public space similar to Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
The port and its partners hosted a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the landing’s evolution from an empty concrete amphitheater to a green space with a boardwalk, interpretive signs and seating areas.
Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, praised the achievement while noting the “countless hours of work and effort” that contributed to the project’s actualization.
“All we have to do is look around to see benefits of this effort: families enjoying time together, children playing (and) people recreating and enjoying the outdoors,” she said. “This is what makes a community.”
In 2019, Cleveland and other Southwest Washington delegates secured $4.7 million in the state’s capital budget for the port’s redevelopment project. A year prior to that, the budget allocated $1.3 million to the Terminal 1 project that was used for ground stabilization and part of the Waterfront Renaissance Trail.
Makeover, future outlooks
New sections of the Renaissance Trail, funded by a $485,000 grant from the Regional Transportation Commission, weave through the open space to encourage foot and bike traffic.
When pedestrians look at their feet, they will see a timeline chronicling prominent moments in Clark County’s history, such as when Vancouver’s first Black council member was elected in 1971. Some events even date back to the 1400s. The Rotary Club of Vancouver provided $500,000 for the boardwalk, also called Rotary Way, to commemorate its centennial anniversary in 2021.
Interpretive panels positioned throughout the space display Indigenous and port history, created in collaboration with local tribes and historical societies.
Some signs touch on the port’s beginning operations at the site in 1925 and how it became a hub for international trade — including its status as the prune capital of the world. Others address the location’s significance as the site of the Standifer shipyard, where wooden World War I vessels were built.
Tanna Engdahl, Cowlitz Tribe elder and spiritual leader, described past activities at the site — spanning from canoe races, children’s games and wedding ceremonies — and how the site renovation is restoring this lost liveliness.
“Time has folded back on itself to the inhabitants who did the same thing centuries ago,” she said.
Port Commissioner Jack Burkman said Terminal 1 will enhance local economic development with the introduction of more jobs and businesses, such as Vancouver-based software company ZoomInfo.
“This is indeed a really great day,” he said. “The importance of this day can’t be overstated.”
Later in the year, crews will complete their deconstruction of the Red Lion Hotel at the Quay and remove the aged dock the structures sat on. Construction on a new dock will begin in fall 2023, where the eventual public market will be placed. The latter project is expected to begin in 2025.
The AC Hotel by Marriott, which sits adjacent to the landing, is anticipated to open later this month. The Port of Vancouver’s partner, Lincoln Property Co., will break ground for its upcoming mixed-use development nearby.
Terminal 1 project renderings can be viewed on port partner GreenWorks’ website.