A public hearing regarding the development of the former Hambleton Lumber Sales LLC site attracted more than 40 people to the Washougal City Council meeting last night.
After almost two hours of public comments and council discussion, council members approved a development agreement with the Port of Camas-Washougal and Parker’s Landing LLC, for the land located at 335 S. “A” St. The vote was 6 to 1, with the opposing vote issued by Caryn Plinski.
Prior to that, she and councilman Paul Greenlee voted to postpone a decision on the development agreement. That motion failed 5 to 2.
Earlier, Plinski said the waterfront development could be “an amazing thing to add to Washougal.”
“I want a park, trail, restaurants and shops,” she said. “I’m not sure I’m ready to pass it tonight.”
During the public hearing, Adam Taylor, a leasing manager for Lone Wolf Development, said he does not favor a phased project, which could result in a “half completed development.”
He described the Parker’s Landing plans as “misguided.”
When asked later by councilman Dave Shoemaker to explain that term, Taylor said it is “left up to market demand and the whim of what pencils for them.
“There is not enough information regarding what it will ultimately look like,” he added.
Larry Keister spoke in favor of “rejuvenating” the former Hambleton site.
“It is the first impression of our town [for visitors],” he said.
Charlie Bishop, vice president of mill operations at Pendleton Woolen Mills, talked about the undeveloped and unused commercial space available in downtown Washougal.
He encouraged council members to send the development agreement back to city staff.
“This is an important project,” Bishop said. “It deserves a lot more consideration.”
Roger Daniels presented a historical perspective of the area, by mentioning that a hotel, houses and a park were located at Parker’s Landing in 1853.
“I’m glad local people are taking an interest in this,” he said. “It could be a signature project for the Killians.”
Rick Thomas, of Washougal, said the development agreement process “feels very rushed.”
“I need to see how it would harmonize with the seeds planted in downtown,” he said.
Alex Yost, co-owner of OurBar, in downtown Washougal, talked about the former Hambleton property.
“I don’t see a vacant lot,” she said. “I see the river.”
Steven Clark, of Washougal, said the highway commercial zoning worries him.
“I can’t imagine how it won’t draw away from downtown,” he said.
Clark hoped the retail element would be withdrawn from the project.
Joseph Graves, of Washougal, said jobs with anchor and co-anchor tenants come and go.
“Market demands trump good intentions,” he said.
Lance Killian, with Killian Pacific and Parker’s Landing LLC, described the development as a “tremendous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the area.”
John Hartman, of Portland, works with an investments firm.
“Downtown Washougal is really special,” he said. “Washougal is rising in conversations. Go carefully with real estate developments.”
Hartman said the waterfront property sets the tone for the area.
“People can connect with the outdoors and the gorge or Target and Winco,” he said.Councilwoman Joyce Lindsay expressed support for the development agreement.
“I love downtown Washougal and what Wes Hickey and Lone Wolf have done, but we need more,” she said. “The trails and development will be an asset to the community.”
Killian expects the development process to begin in two to five years.