New park, apartments coming to Washougal waterfront

Construction on Ninebark, a planned 242-unit residential complex, to begin in 2021

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Ninebark, a planned residential community, will be located on the Washougal waterfront and connected to a new public park. (Contributed graphics courtesy of Port of Camas-Washougal)

Developers working on Ninebark, a three-story, 242-unit residential complex to be built east of the Port of Camas-Washougal, hope to begin construction on the complex’s eight buildings in the fall of 2021 and open its first apartments in the fall of 2022.

The residential community will be located on a 9-acre parcel located along the Columbia River near Parker’s Landing, in between Camas’ and Washougal’s downtown centers.

“With Ninebark, we envision a sustainable, equitable and accessible waterfront community that offers an experience, with access to nature and amenities alike, that is unlike anything else in the market,” Michi Slick, Killian Pacific’s director of development, said in a news release. “We see Southwest Washington gaining in popularity due to job growth in the technology, healthcare and financial sectors, and the area offers high-quality schools and tax advantages over Oregon. With the first waterfront community in Camas-Washougal, we aim to attract people who are seeking an escape to nature and a smaller, welcoming community but do not want to sacrifice curated amenities such as local breweries, coffee shops and restaurants that are important for their lifestyle.”

Portland-based Holst Architecture is designing the community, which will feature 242 one-, two- and three-bedroom units across eight three-story apartment buildings; a variety of amenities, including a freestanding clubhouse, lounge, “gear shed” and fitness center; connections to parks, trails and eventually the Port’s adjacent waterfront development; and expansive views of the Columbia River and Mount Hood.

“The natural surroundings, adjacency to parks and connection to the existing trail system allow for a strong connection to the outdoors,” Kevin Valk, of Holst, said in the press release. “Unmatched amenities, strong sustainability goals, and a desire for lasting social impact make working on this project and collaborating with the development team at Killian Pacific a pleasure.”

Following the guidelines of its three “pillars,” Killian Pacific will use sustainable, locally sourced wood, target a sustainability certification while aiming for carbon neutrality, favor biophilic design, provide affordable housing units and incorporate local and regional art into the design.

“The Port of Camas-Washougal’s master plan will further enrich the area with a public marina, park, additional restaurants, retail and commercial spaces to make this area an even more desirable waterfront destination,” Slick said. “And with our emphasis on sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion, and art, we have the opportunity to create a place that achieves significant social impact for the area.”

Lance Killian has a deeply personal connection to his property development company’s latest project, which he said he hopes will become a “timeless” and “authentic” component of the revamped Washougal waterfront and positive community asset for decades to come.

“My mom and dad grew up in Camas and Washougal, and my family generally has always had roots in southwest Washington, and still does,” said Killian, the company’s owner and chief visionary officer. “Although we have developed in Camas and Washougal throughout the years, this is certainly a very special project, not only for the company but from a family perspective.”

Killian said that, considering single-family housing has spurred Camas-Washougal’s growth over the past several decades, Ninebark represents an opportunity to “provide a product that has been underrepresented in the market from a development and inventory perspective.”

“We’re hoping to add one synergistic layer to the community investment that has already occurred in Camas and Washougal with their downtowns, with the connectivity that has been or will be put in place with trails and parks and community amenities,” Killian said. “Our driving mission and focus is to create positive community impacts through the conduit of real estate. We see financial returns as an outcome of delivering a project that is openly embraced and celebrated by the community.”

Plans underway for nearby Parker’s Landing Public Park

The Port of Camas-Washougal also is working with Killian to develop a 1.2-acre Parker’s Landing Public Park to be sited adjacent to the Ninebark residential community.

Killian, along with Tommy Solomon of Ground Workshop, a Portland-based landscape architecture firm, presented preliminary designs for the park at the Port Commission’s Dec. 16 meeting.

“As our relationship developed with Killian, the idea of a park in their development was always part of the conversation, but would depend on a thoughtful site design by Killian to ensure that the park fit with their development layout and was cohesive with the rest of the waterfront as a whole,” said Mark Miller, the Port’s director of planning and development. “Killian was a great partner to work with as they understand the value of parks and placemaking and the positive impact they can make on a community.”

Killian Pacific will contribute $50,000 toward the$400,000 project. The Port will use parking impact fees to pay for the remaining $350,000, according to David Ripp, the Port’s chief executive officer.

According to the terms of an agreement reached between the two parties in 2018, Killian Pacific will design, construct and maintain the park, while the Port will own and operate it.

“Big picture, this park is a true public-private partnership,” Killian said. “We’re very excited to be able to present to the public a design and configuration for the park, which we believe provides an optimum community outcome, amplifies and celebrates the existing waterfront trail corridor investment that the Port has made, and adds to the overall experience,” Killian said during the Dec. 16 meeting.

The park will include a variety of interpretive and interactive elements, including a “discovery garden,” an art walk, a public lawn and connections to the neighboring waterfront trail and residential development. It will also feature a garden area that will highlight the area’s history of logging and river commerce.

“Although there was some concern that the park would not feel inviting to the users of the trail and would feel like part of the Ninebark development,” Miller said, “I think the design is well thought out in the different ways it meanders to and from the waterfront trail, is inviting, and has several different episodes or areas to create interest and draw users of the trail.”

Killian said that the park “should be differentiated from the existing park assets that the Port has developed and the trail system itself, but at the same time by symbiotic with those systems and be additive to the overall network.”

“We want to make sure that this park really pulls people along the trail and invites people in as many opportunities as possible to engage in the park itself, and that it provides multiple avenues for that to occur,” he said. “It’s really a diversified park that celebrates where it’s at with views of the Columbia River, celebrates the habitat and migration corridors while also allowing a really high level of community engagement and activation through the park with different elements of art, education and the area’s deep, rich history.”

Killian said that local art will be prominently featured, adding that his company has spoken with three three community art organizations and begun to generate a list of artists to create artwork for the park.

“The art (should be) multi-generational, multicultural, and truly welcoming and engaging to the broad, diverse perspectives of the community,” Killian said. “There’s also a rich history of not only this particular site itself, but the communities of Camas and Washougal and the Pacific Northwest, and we believe art can be part of that storytelling feature. The idea is the art will provide a sense of curiosity, and people can reflect on it in their own ways. Part of the idea was the art could – and should – actually allow for moments of physical engagement. You can imagine kids being able to climb on it, or inside it and play. We want to truly appeal to a broad audience.”

Killian said that the park also will provide a variety of educational opportunities.

“We’ve tried to be thoughtful about different locations and specific areas within the park where this education can occur,” Killian said. “We’re really excited about a multi-layer approach to the education that can occur at the site, both in terms of the physical nature, but also the programming nature optionality.”

Port Commissioner Cassi Marshall praised the developer’s plans for the park.

“It’s such an amazing site, and it deserves such careful consideration,” Marshall said on Dec. 16. “One of my biggest priorities for this project was that it would feel truly public even though it borders a private development, and it looks like (Killian Pacific) nailed it. I’m super pleased with how at both ends it feels super welcoming and open to the public off the existing trail. It really would draw people in.”