An opportunity to reminisce

Ceremony marking the Port's 75th anniversary includes past and present local officials and a time capsule

timestamp icon
category icon News
Local officials and business representatives filled the Port of Camas-Washougal meeting room Friday for a ceremony commemorating the port's 75th anniversary. The memorabilia on display included newspaper articles, photos of Grove Field Airport founder Ward Grove and a plaque that dedicated the marina in memory of Thomas Blair in 1972. A slide show featured images of the port's Industrial Park and Airport, as well as summer concerts in Marina Park, Capt. William Clark Park, Parker's Landing Historical Park and the flood of February 1996.

More than 100 people gathered Friday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Port of Camas-Washougal.

They included current and former local port commissioners and staff, as well as representatives from Clark County, the cities of Camas and Washougal, and the ports of Vancouver, Ridgefield and Woodland. Attendees included former Port of C-W Executive Director Sheldon Tyler and previous commissioners Ken Powell, Jean Moszeter, Donna Roberge Nozel and John Raynor.

Port Commission President Bill Ward commented that while 75 could be considered pretty old and people might think of “stodginess and stuck in the mud” as descriptions of something commemorating that many years, “there is a reinvention of the port with new directions and new initiatives.”

“We have a vision for the future, and the community is behind us,” he said.

Ward mentioned the commission’s strategic planning efforts to update the port’s comprehensive plan, which was last updated in 1999.

Washougal Mayor Sean Guard congratulated port officials for the anniversary, mentioning there must have been great optimism in 1935 when voters approved the creation of the local port district.

“It is a gorgeous morning,” he said while looking toward the marina.

Guard referred to the 350-slip marina, as well as Grove Field Airport, Parker’s Landing Historical Park and the industrial park as examples of the port’s success.

Port Planning and Development Director Scot Walstra mentioned several companies as success stories in the port’s industrial park. They included Foods In Season – a company that ships mushrooms around the world – whose growth has led to a need for additional square footage. Intech- a manufacturer of food processing equipment- was also noted, as well as Micro Machining.

Overall, Walstra said the industrial park is 89 percent occupied – with local, national and international companies.

Port Executive Director David Ripp said there would be a centennial celebration in 25 years. On Nov. 5, 2035, a time capsule – filled with an issue of the Post-Record, a letter from Ripp to the future port director and a map of the Camas-Washougal area – would be expected to be opened. The capsule, which is under lock and key at the port office, also contains letters written by Helen Baller Elementary School students to themselves and local residents in the future.

“One of them could be a future port director – whoever she might be,” said Port Communications Manager Jack Hardy. “In 2035, you’re all invited back.”

Camas City Administrator Lloyd Halverson said the city and port are “partners in progress.”

Camas, Washougal and the port each currently have money in their 2011 proposed budgets to form a local economic development commission.

Mark Lampton said it has been a great experience serving on the port commission for almost a year.

“There are good things going forward,” he said.

Bill Macrae-Smith highlighted the economic development efforts with Camas and Washougal.

“I hope to be here in 25 years – but not on the commission,” Macrae-Smith said. “I would like to come back for the reunion.”

Hardy said a treasure hunt would involve making one clue available for each of the next 10 months. The first clue, involving approximate GPS coordinates North 45.34.4, West 122.20.2, was provided Friday. Clues can also be found online at and in future issues of the Post-Record. The winner of the scavenger hunt will win an Apple iPad.

As part of the anniversary commemoration, there are also opportunities for area residents to have breakfast or lunch with Ripp. For more information, call the Port office at 835-2196.