Hambleton insurance issues to be researched

Port Commission approves contract for legal services

A contract recently signed by the Port of Camas-Washougal Commission is expected to identify insurance policies related to the Hambleton Lumber Company site.

The agreement with Chemlik Sitkin & Davis, of Bellingham, is expected to identify pre-1986 commercial general liability policies that may provide insurance coverage to the port for environmental work on the site at 335 “A” St., in Washougal. The law firm’s services will also include getting coverage decisions from carriers and, if needed, negotiating agreements with carriers.

The contract, approved Oct. 4, is not to exceed $15,000.

It involves use of the land before the mid 1980s.

“The land was covered for environmental cleanup without a rider [addendum] prior to 1986,” said Port Communications Manager Jack Hardy. “After 1986, the law changed and you had to have a special comprehensive liability rider for soil contamination. That’s why we’re looking at everything prior to 1986.”

Port Executive Director David Ripp said the property was owned by the port in the 1940s and leased to Hambleton from the 1950s to the 1970s. It was purchased by Hambleton in 1977.

“It could be a 12-month process, to deal with past insurance carriers,” Ripp said.

Mike Reinhart, a real estate consultant for Hambleton Brothers Lumber Co. LLC,, said a sawmill was on the land, prior to Hambleton.

Chemlik Sitkin & Davis provided similar services for the Port of Bellingham, regarding a Georgia-Pacific site. The Port of Bellingham acquired the 137-acre GP property in 2005.

The site was contaminated when Georgia Pacific released mercury into Bellingham Bay during the operation of its chlor-alkali plant between 1965 and 1971. The industrial land is also contaminated with petroleum compounds, metals and caustic soda.

The cleanup includes the removal of 530,000 cubic yards of contaminated material from a Bellingham waterway and basin, and the creation of salmon habitats, fish passageways and nearly a mile of public access around the breakwater.

The Bellingham plan will include housing, small business and new park opportunities. The $44 million project, with half the cost promised by the state, is estimated to take a total of eight years.

Killian Pacific is interested in buying the Hambleton Brothers Lumber Company site, which is approximately 25 acres. The commercial real-estate development and investment company located in Vancouver and Portland has created The Crossing and Evergreen Marketplace, in Washougal, as well as the Grand Central and Riverstone Marketplace developments, in Vancouver.

The port has received a $200,000 grant from the Washington Department of Ecology that could lead to the cleanup of the former Hambleton Lumber Company site. Port commissioners have approved a professional services agreement with the consulting firm of Maul, Foster and Alongi, to analyze the site and determine a cleanup plan. It may address habitat restoration, site work for recreational use and infrastructure development as part of the overall cleanup process.

In addition to collecting soil samples, Maul, Foster and Alongi has groundwater monitoring equipment at the Hambleton site.

Ripp has said the port was exploring the opportunity to acquire, cleanup and redevelop property along the waterfront that extends east of its existing marina and connects to port-owned property at Sixth Street in Washougal.

The Washougal City Council has approved the rezone of a parcel totalling almost 15 acres, previously occupied by the Hambleton lumber mill. The decision changed the zoning from heavy industrial to highway commercial. The mill, which closed in the summer of 2010, was operated by Hambleton Lumber Sales LLC.

An open house regarding potential development of the waterfront land is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 6 p.m., in the Camas-Washougal Municipal Court building, 89 ‘C’ St., Washougal. For more information, call the port office at 835-2196 or visit www.portcw.com.

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