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News / Business / Clark County Business

Washougal, port leaders call for bike-friendly infrastructure

Councilor envisions ‘a safe way for people to get around locally’

By Doug Flanagan, Camas-Washougal Post-Record
Published: March 9, 2024, 6:10am

WASHOUGAL — When Recluse Brew Works opened at the Port of Camas-Washougal’s industrial park in November 2023, its founders hoped to attract recreational enthusiasts eager to take advantage of the pub’s location near Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

But owner August Everson and manager Richard LaRue quickly realized their establishment was missing something.

“Throughout our soft opening and grand opening, we did see a good number of cyclists coming in,” LaRue said. “Some folks locked their bikes to trees in the area, and some … turned them upside down on the sidewalk and locked them to each other. None of that is ideal, so we reached out to Derek (Jaeger) and Cassi (Marshall) at the port to discuss the potential for a bike rack.”

Marshall is calling for the port to install bike racks at the industrial park, including in front of Recluse Brew Works and 54-40 Brewing, as well as at the port’s waterfront area. It’s a project Marshall hopes could be complete by the end of this year.

The project could be a first step toward realizing Washougal City Councilor David Fritz’s proposal, which calls for creating a series of bike-friendly lanes that would connect downtown Washougal, downtown Camas, the port’s industrial park and other parts of east Clark County.

“My passion (is making) Washougal a desirable place to live,” Fritz said. “It’s a great place for a family, but I’d love to see, as part of that livability, a connection between key points for bikes and pedestrians. If we tie downtown Washougal to the port, to downtown Camas, that’s good for everybody.”

Marshall expressed approval for Fritz’s efforts during a port commissioners’ meeting Feb. 7.

Marshall said she thinks the connected bike lanes are a good idea, especially considering the summertime parking issues at several popular Camas-Washougal locations and parks.

“But if we’re going to get cyclists to come to the port — and we are having quite a few cyclists stop by our industrial park buildings, especially with the brew pubs off the levee trail,” Marshall said, the port should offer bike racks. “People have expensive bikes, and they don’t want to leave them unattended.”

“Besides the breweries, recent trail enhancements at Steigerwald opened additional bicycling opportunities as well as the multiuse trail connecting to the Ninebark apartments, Washougal Waterfront Park and the future Hyas Point waterfront development,” Fritz said. “The newer buildings in the industrial park are more office-like, and bicycling to work or during the workday is an attractive amenity.”

“The Washougal public works team has identified an upcoming project where a crew, that will already be deployed for another matter, will be able to take some street measurements in Washougal to help determine a test-fit for the possible addition of bicycle lanes,” Fritz said. Costs for re-striping lanes would come next.

“Looking forward to the spring and summer period, we think the ability to ride bikes here, and to the nearby parks and other businesses, will be a major plus for everyone in the Camas and Washougal area,” LaRue of Recluse Brew Works said. “That is going to require safe bicycle parking in the interim, and better bike lanes in the long term. There are also talks of extending and connecting the trails, so bicycle and pedestrian traffic will continue to be on the rise.”