Port of Camas-Washougal dedicates marina

‘Parker’s Landing Marina’ a nod to David C. Parker

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The Port of Camas-Washougal's marina is now called Parker's Landing Marina.

The Port of Camas-Washougal’s marina has a new name.

Port commissioners voted Aug. 5 to approve a motion to dedicate the boat basin “Parker’s Landing Marina.”

The Port’s executive director, David Ripp, had proposed “Parker’s Ferry Marina” as the new name before the commissioners settled on Parker’s Landing Marina.

“After all the research that was done with the Clark County Historic Registry (for Parker’s Landing Historical Park) and all the information was passed on, it occurred to us that our marina doesn’t really have a name,” said the Port’s executive assistant, Yvette Winden. “We came up with Parker’s Ferry Marina as the new name for the marina because of the significance of the Parker homestead and the fact that this was the ferry site and the first permanent American settlement site on the north shore of the Columbia.”

In 1854, David C. Parker, the first permanent American settler in Clark County, built a small dock, which was called Parker’s Ferry, then Parker’s Landing, on the Columbia River to accommodate river boats, and platted the town of Parkersville in an area that is today occupied by the marina, which is next to Parker’s Landing Historical Park.

Commissioner Bill Ward said that while “the idea of putting a designation on the marina is a fantastic step forward,” Port officials should consider Parker’s Landing because the Port is already using that name on several of its properties.

“It’s fairly necessary to stick with a brand that is easily understood, comprehended and really owned by the entity,” he said. “(Parker’s Landing) is pretty much our brand. We want to retain that brand. It’s a strong brand, and we don’t want to dilute it. Parker’s Landing has got a historical context. It’s what this area is known for. The strength of a brand is in its uniformity, its (ability to) easily be remembered, and isn’t diluted.”

Commissioner Larry Keister agreed with Ward.

“It needs branding. There’s no doubt about that,” Keister said. “How it ties in with the (historical) park and the waterfront development and Killian property, it should all tie in some way.”

At the Aug. 5 commission meeting, Washougal resident Martha Martin told staff members and commissioners that the dock was called Parker’s Ferry for “a very short time” before the name was switched to Parker’s Landing. She said Parker wanted to operate a ferry that would take people from Lady Island to the Washougal River, but never did.

“But he did put the landing out there. That’s why it’s called Parker’s Landing instead of Parker’s Ferry,” Martin told the commissioners. “To us locals, ‘ferry’ sounds cool. I’m not so sure it would make sense in the broader scheme of things, especially since the signs out there on all those plaques say Parker’s Landing. ‘Ferry’ is hardly mentioned anywhere. There was no ferry, but there was a landing, and it was prominent, and it was used, and it’s part of our history. … Staying with Parker’s Landing does make sense.”

Washougal resident Richard Hamby agreed with Martin.

“As time goes by, as this development increases, the more that name is out there, the whole area will benefit, whether it’s the marina or the Killian apartments,” he said. “From a historical standpoint, I’ve seen that it was called Parker’s Ferry for a couple of years, but it’s been known as Parker’s Landing for 165 years since then. That’s a pretty established name. I understand historically the (ferry designation) was there, but I think the name ‘ferry’ can and does create a little bit of confusion about the history because there was no ferry here.”

After the meeting, Ripp said he was “supportive” of the name adopted by the commissioners.

“I like the idea … because it does match and keep everything in line,” he said. “Right now we just call it the Port of Camas-Washougal marina, but it will be nice to have a name behind it.”