Port of Camas-Washougal Commissioner John Spencer concluded his speech at the grand-opening ceremony for Washougal’s newest park by sticking out his elbows to mimic a bird’s wings.
“We’re all here at Eagle View Park. Doesn’t anybody want to do an ‘eagle cry’?” he asked the gathered crowd.
The Port of Camas-Washougal commissioner flapped his “wings” up and down, screeched twice, then smiled and said, “There you go,” before turning away from the podium.
Local residents and community leaders laughed at Spencer’s momentary display of enthusiasm, which segued into a more formal introduction of Washougal’s newest park, the 1-acre Eagle View Park on Sept. 7.
Nestled between the new Ninebark Apartments complex and the Columbia River riparian area along the Washougal riverfront, the new park features a concrete paved walking path, trails, artwork, and community gathering spaces.
Washougal Mayor David Stuebe recalled that the area used to be “just a little cement strip” that held no promise of what the future park might offer.
“It was pretty, but we didn’t have the vision,” Stuebe said. “(Now) it’s come to reality. This looks really gorgeous. This is going to be a great addition to our community. This is a perfect way to utilize our space for our community to enjoy the river.”
Organized as a “nature-based experience,” Eagle View Park contains three primary gardens, each with elements that celebrate local ecology, culture and commerce. Through the use of regionally specific plants, locally sourced materials and the reuse of native site boulders, the park’s character “is an homage to the river landscape,” according to a news release issued by the city of Washougal.
The park also features a piece of artwork titled “Quaytskin,” created by Grand Ronde, Ore., resident Travis Stewart, a contemporary Northwest artist of Chinook, Rogue River and Kalapuya descent.
“ ‘Quaytskin’ is a contemporary interpretation of a ‘welcome figure,’ a traditional marker of place and true land acknowledgement for the Chinook people who have called the villages along the Columbia River home for thousands of years,” said Chelsea Rooklyn, brand manager for Killian Pacific, the Portland-based real estate company that developed the park. “It offers the opportunity to revitalize a nearly forgotten art form that originated in this region, bringing attention to its earliest inhabitants while acting as a signal of goodwill to all those who call this place home.”
Killian Pacific partnered with the Port of Camas-Washougal to exchange land for the park. Killian Pacific and Ninebark will manage the park for the next eight years, then turn over maintenance responsibilities to the city of Washougal.