Port tackles plan update

Officials to focus on waterfront development, seek public feedback

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The Port of Camas-Washougal will soon begin its periodic update of its strategic plan.

“I’m really (looking forward) to getting that process going. I think it’s going to be really good,” Port Commissioner Cassi Marshall said during an Aug. 19 commission meeting. “We keep talking about things that are important to us, and keep saying, ‘When we get to the strategic plan, we’ll discuss it in more detail,’ so I’m excited for it to happen.”

Earlier this month, Port commissioners chose Maul Foster Alongi (MFA), a Vancouver-based environmental engineering firm, to help with the update.

The commissioners and MFA consultants will begin working on the strategic plan updates in November and hope to finish before summer 2021.

To gather community feedback on the strategic plan, Port officials will hold a series of open houses, public meetings and group discussions, and talk with key stakeholders, such as officials from the cities of Camas and Washougal.

David Ripp, the Port’s chief executive officer, said the Port’s waterfront development plans will play a key role in the strategic plan updates.

“We update the plan about every five years,” Ripp said. “We last updated it in 2015, and did some tweaking and minor updates in 2017, but quite a bit has happened since then. We’ve moved forward with the waterfront development, which isn’t really in the current plan. There’s not a lot of detail about it, so in this update we’ll put more of a focus on it.”

Ripp called the plan “a guidebook for where we’re at and where we want to be.”

“It lays out our long-term goals, and gets in the weeds about how we’re going to accomplish them,” he said. “At the end of each year, we’ll give an update and talk about all the projects we did during that year and how they’re tied to the strategic plan. We don’t want to just update this plan and shelve it. We want it to be a living, working document. If we’re talking about it, we want to show that we’re using it.”

Port leaders chose to go with MFA over WSP, formerly known as BergerABAM, a Canadian consultant group, after conducting interviews with representatives from both companies in late August.

Ripp said “either company would’ve done a great job.”

“We’ve worked with Maul Foster Alongi in the past, and we’ve worked with WSP in the past,” Ripp said. “Actually, WSP (then known as BergerABAM) helped us when we updated the plan in 2010. They’re both great companies. But, at the end of the day, Maul Foster Alongi was a little bit more in the weeds in terms of strategy, goals, tactics and structure, and that’s what hit it over the top for us.”