Work began today to replace three pilings on a dock at Steamboat Landing Waterfront Park that were damaged in the summer.
On Dec. 21, the Washougal City Council unanimously approved a $26,016 contract with Washougal-based Ballard Marine Construction to make the repairs.
According to Public Works Director Trevor Evers, in September consultants from Otak completed an investigation and assessment of the dock and pilings, which determined that the repairs were needed.
“Ultimately the dock in its current state could be a liability for the city, making this a high priority project to be completed,” he said.
Due to the spawning patterns of a variety of Columbia River fish species, the work must be completed by Jan. 1.
City officials believe that the pilings were damaged when a large watercraft collided with the dock. The vessel and its owner have not been identified.
“We checked with the Port of Camas-Washougal, as well as the Marine Board,” Evers said. “We didn’t have any findings, or any type of evidence that would lead us to the individual who struck the dock itself.”
Steamboat Landing and the nearby Cottonwood Beach are popular spots during the summer boating season. The areas are used by vessels of all sizes.
“[The watercraft must have been] fairly robust, to be able to compromise the pilings and basically pull those away from their anchors that are imbedded in the river bottom,” Evers said. “It was a fairly significant, abrupt crash.”
Despite the piling damage, the dock at Steamboat Landing remained open until Dec. 22 when it was discovered that vandals had removed a critical piece of steel that connects two sections of the dock together.
The city then announced that access to the dock would be closed until all repairs are completed.
According to Evers, the city’s contract with Ballard does not include repair of the steel sheeting that ties the two floating docks together.
“We are currently working on a small-scale change order to address this specific issue,” he said. “We anticipate access to Steamboat Landing within the next two weeks.”
The riverbank now called Steamboat Landing Waterfront Park was used by early settlers as a natural boat landing. The 1.6-acre area was purchased by the city in 1992, and the floating dock was subsequently constructed.
The wooden walkway running east and west is supported by seven piles with a triple-pile at each end of the dock. Floating gangplanks are located at both ends.
The park connects visitors to the Dike Trail and downtown Washougal, and an adjacent observation deck provides opportunities for panoramic views of the Columbia River.
City Council approves purchase of land for downtown park
Meanwhile, the City Council also approved a purchase and sale agreement, subject to contingencies, for a potential property acquisition at 2036 Main St., in the downtown core.
According to Evers, if the purchase is finalized, the land would be used by the city as a park. Although the $188,000 purchase price was not specifically identified in the 2016 budget, park impact fee funds are available to support the acquisition.
The agreement was added to the agenda of the special meeting Dec. 21. Councilman Brent Boger questioned the issue’s urgency.
“The property is for sale,” Guard responded. “There have been multiple showings of the property. We are just trying to make sure that we secure it.”
The land and the house located on the one-tenth of an acre site, is assessed at $145,500. According to Clark County property records, it is currently owned by Walter Lester III.
Following the appraisal process, the purchase will go back to the City Council for final approval.
“The appraisal will be conducted during the feasibility-contingency period,” Evers said.
Councilman Paul Greenlee indicated that he is comfortable with the process.
“It sounds to me like the contingencies are such that if we aren’t happy with it once we look at it in anymore detail, we can conclude the deal and at no cost to ourselves other than we’ve paid for an inspection or an appraisal,” he said. “I support this.”
Councilwoman Joyce Lindsay said she is happy to see a move toward acquiring land for a park.
“I have long felt that a downtown park is very important to our community, and this seems like the first step to start making this happen,” she said. “It is right on main street and will enhance our city.”
According to Guard future plans for the structure, which was built in the early 1900s, have not been determined.
“The parks staff is very interested to get in and see the inside of the building and the potential usability of the building,” he said. “I believe when it was originally constructed, it was 1910, that was the original home of the Washougal telephone exchange. [That is what] it was built for.”
Guard added that the property could potentially be added to other parcels in the future to create a larger park