Proceed slowly with waterfront project

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category icon Editorials, Opinion

The idea of an active and bustling waterfront in Washougal is an exciting concept to think about, and efforts to make this happen in the future continue to take small, but important steps forward.

The Port of Camas-Washougal and the City of Washougal are currently working with Portland State University graduate students to create a vision plan for the waterfront. The next two months will be spent gathering information and opinions. In an article in today’s Post-Record, the Port says the goal 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.”

Elements that could be touched on in the plan are the revitalization of the 13.25-acre former Hambleton Lumber Company site, a series of development projects that include shoreline public access facilities and a waterfront trail, and a mixed-use development, with the potential for condominiums and townhouses.

If done well, when brought together these projects could dramatically change the city’s current waterfront layout, and with it bring a new infusion of business from local residents and tourists alike. But with this kind of vision, there is also the potential for negative ramifications. Legitimate questions have already been raised about how such a development could impact current businesses and how this newly developed area would fit in with the Camas-Washougal landscape.

In the end, a waterfront project and all of its facets will ultimately be successful if its planning is approached in a slow, balanced, methodical and thoughtful way, with a continued strong emphasis on consideration of the input of those who will ultimately be impacted.