Port may condemn property

The Port of Camas-Washougal is pursuing legal means to acquire a 12,000-square foot, vacant parcel south of Route 14 at Seventh Street.

Port commissioners voted 3-0 during a regular meeting Tuesday, to authorize Executive Director David Ripp and legal counsel to “exhaust reasonable efforts through direct negotiations to acquire the property fee interest.”

If the negotiations are not successful, the commission could move to “condemn, take, damage and appropriate the real property fee interest necessary to carry out the provisions of the resolution.”

Ripp said the land has been for sale, but there is no agreement about the purchase price with the property owners, Mike and Tammy Ledington. Ripp said the port offered an amount that is 10 percent above the appraised value of the land.

That amount is $187,000, according to Mike Ledington. He and Tammy are seeking the amount proposed by their attorney — $315,000.

Mike Ledington said, during a phone interview after the commission meeting, a “for sale” sign has been posted on their property for about a year.

He said the Port has purchased five properties that border the Ledingtons’ land for about $30 per square foot.

“They are offering us $15 per square foot,” Ledington said. “The other properties were sold in 2006 to 2013. The market has gone up quite a bit since then. We’re just asking they pay us what they paid them.”

The Port Commission resolution mentions that the port purchase of the land is needed for economic development and enhanced public access to the waterfront.

During public comments, Bruce Fuerstenberg said he hates condemnation of land, and hopes Ripp is able to successfully negotiate with the property owners.

Acquisition by eminent domain could occur if additional negotiations do not result in a sale.

The desired land, zoned highway commercial, involves four parcels containing brush.

If the land sale issue goes to Clark County District Court, Ripp said the court would decide the amount of the purchase.