Waterfront project aims to connect port with downtown Washougal

PSU students are involved in community outreach efforts

Students in the Portland State University master of urban and regional planning program attended the First Friday festivities in downtown Camas, to ask area residents what they like to do outdoors. Responses included hiking, fishing and biking. The grad students also interacted with the public Saturday, during the grand opening of Hartwood Park, in Washougal. The students are tasked with developing a vision for the waterfront that connects and complements downtown Washougal.

Six Portland State University graduate students are partnering with the city of Washougal and the Port of Camas-Washougal to create a plan for the waterfront.

Project Manager Shannon Jamison and Engagement Coordinator Julia Metz spoke during the March 4 port commission meeting.

The students, in the master of urban and regional planning program, are expected to have the waterfront vision plan completed by June 9. Tentatively, that will include an April 5 kickoff and a May 3 recognition event.

“This is their thesis project for their graduate degree,” said Port Finance Director Kim Noah.

The goal of the project is “to develop a community vision for the waterfront that connects and complements the downtown, and supports the creation of a local and regional identity for the City of Washougal.”

A recreational lands and facilities plan element was recently added to the port’s comprehensive plan. The element includes the revitalization of the 13.25-acre former Hambleton Lumber Company site at 335 S. “A” St., Washougal.

The series of development projects includes shoreline public access facilities and a waterfront trail, with a proposed time line of 2015 to 2016. Construction of the .83-mile trail would include port properties at South Sixth and South “A” streets.

The port is eligible to apply for grants administered by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, to cover a portion of the costs of constructing the waterfront trail and park.

A mixed-use development, with the potential for condominiums and townhouses, is expected to be among the components of the Parker’s Landing LLC project. The LLC is represented by Lance Killian, of Killian Pacific, a commercial real-estate development and investment company.

Noah and Washougal Community Development Director Mitch Kneipp have met with the students.

During the port commission meeting, Mariann Guetter, co-owner of Riverside Marine Service, said she was upset that Camas is not named in the project title.

“I’m a business owner in Washougal, but I’m a Camas taxpayer,” she said. “I live in Camas.”

Some downtown Camas business owners have previously expressed concerns about the potential impacts a waterfront project could have on their companies’ revenues.

Noah mentioned the waterfront is in the city limits of Washougal.

Washougal Councilwoman Joyce Lindsay said the grad students could provide “fresh eyes looking at the community.”

Several of the grad students were at the First Friday festivities, in downtown Camas, to ask where area residents like to spend their time outdoors. Saturday, they attended the opening of Hartwood Park, in Washougal, and asked residents about the types of businesses they like to visit.

The port has allocated up to $3,500, and Washougal has allowed a budget of up to $1,500, to pay for materials and supplies, posters, prizes, refreshments and travel expenses associated with the project.

A photo contest is ongoing through April 27, with entries accepted by email and on Facebook and Instagram. All entries will be entered into a raffle for a gift card to a local business.

For more information or to view the draft work plan, visit www.washougalwaterfront.com.