County’s port leaders set legislative priorities

State Route 14 improvements, Washougal trail project get thumbs up

Port of Vancouver Commissioner Eric LaBrant (left) talks to Port of Camas-Washougal Commissioner Bill Ward, after a meeting of the ports of Vancouver, C-W and Ridgefield, Monday, at the Port of C-W office. The regional port leaders discussed legislative priorities for 2018.

Representatives from the ports of Camas-Washougal, Vancouver and Ridgefield plan to present a united front to area legislators again in 2018.

Commissioners and staff from the three ports met Monday night at the Port of C-W office to discuss their legislative agenda. Many of them visited with legislators during the Washington Public Ports Association’s “Port Day” in Olympia in January of this year, and they plan to return Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018.

Port of C-W Executive Director David Ripp said representatives from the three ports in Clark County might also go to Olympia on an additional day.

Legislative priorities for the three ports include improvements on State Route 14 near the Port of C-W. Those would involve roundabouts at 15th Street and SR-14 and 32nd Street and SR-14.

Ripp said a roundabout at 32nd Street would improve access in and out of the port’s industrial park.

Supporting the city of Washougal’s trail project, connecting to the Port of C-W, is another legislative priority for the three ports.

The city is in the final design and permitting stage of the project, which would start at the trailhead at the eastern end of Washougal Waterfront Trail and connect to Steamboat Landing Park. The trail would connect the waterfront to downtown Washougal via the pedestrian tunnel and to the levee trail, according to Washougal City Administrator David Scott.

State legislators have not approved a capital budget this year. That budget includes $1 million for the Washougal trail project, which would also involve $500,000 to $600,000 from the city of Washougal. Scott said construction is likely in 2019.

Another joint three ports’ legislative agenda item involves supporting improvements to the I-5 corridor that facilitate freight mobility. That would involve replacement of the I-5 bridge, according to Nelson Holmberg, vice president of innovation for the Port of Ridgefield.

Additional legislative agenda items, supported by the three ports, include the Port of Vancouver’s Terminal 1 mixed-use development.

The 2018 Washington State legislative session is scheduled to begin on Monday, Jan. 8.

Also during the three ports meeting, Port of Vancouver Commissioner Jerry Oliver announced his resignation as the port representative on the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council (RTC), effective Dec. 31, 2017.

Commissioners from the three ports approved the appointment of the current alternate, Port of Ridgefield Commissioner Scott Hughes, to serve on the RTC, and Port of C-W Commissioner Larry Keister, to be the alternate.