Welcome to Hyas Point: Washougal waterfront development has a new name

Hyas means 'great, important' in Chinuk Wawa language

A rendering shows a bustling, "gathering space," with Mount Hood views, at the Port of Camas-Washougal's and RKm Development's future Hyas Point development on the Washougal waterfront. RKm Development announced in August 2022 that they have selected "Hyas Point" as the officials name of the future development, which will include the 246-unit Ninebark apartment complex, commercial businesses, a public park and a link between the development and the public Washougal Waterfront Trail. (Contributed graphic courtesy of the Port of Camas-Washougal)

An illustration shows what the Port of Camas-Washougal's and RKm Development's future Hyas Point mixed-use development on the Washougal waterfront might look like from above. (Contributed graphic courtesy of the Port of Camas-Washougal)

From its inception in the early 2010s until earlier this month, the Port of Camas-Washougal’s Washougal waterfront development project was unnamed. Most of the time, Port officials and project leaders colloquially referred to it as “the waterfront development,” or by its more formal, but still unofficial, moniker, “The Waterfront at Parker’s Landing.”

Those days are now over.

Representatives from RKm Development announced during a Port Commission meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 17, that “Hyas Point” is the official name of the new development.

The name “needed to be simple, memorable, clear, and provide something that was easy for people to remember and use interchangeably with conversation in the future,” according to Channa Kim, RKm’s special projects manager.

“‘Hyas’ means ‘big’ or ‘great’ or ‘important’ (in Chinuk Wawa language),” Kim said. “It has all of these different uses, and we liked the idea of a word that could encompass the whole community in a way that was very positive and uplifting, but is also kind of general. And we liked the idea of ‘point’ because when you look at a map, this area feels a little bit angular, like it’s come to kind of a point, and there is the existing waterfront access point that just kind of juts out. We just felt like it fit with this name and this idea that this would be a gathering place, a point at which people could meet and gather and join.”

Port commissioner John Spencer said that the reference to local Native American culture is “wonderful.”

“Almost everything else here is named ‘Parkersville,’ definitely attributed to the first white settlers here,” Port commissioner Cassi Marshall added, “so this is a really great balance.”

Kim told Port leaders that the firm is planning to incorporate Native American artistic elements into the final product.

“I’m super excited to show that once we have it more fleshed out, because it’s very, very cool,” she said. “The cool thing about incorporating it this early into the design is that it will be permanent. They’re not like art installations that could change or go away. They’ll be actually permanently set into things, like the concrete or the pillars. We’re really excited about that.”

Kim also introduced the development’s logo, which features the words “Hyas” and “Point” in capital letters and a three-dimensional, diamond-shaped pattern with a wavy, ripply look.

“We wanted something very clean, easy to read, and can be generalized for future building names and identities,” she said. “We settled on this very clean font. There’s a lot that actually went into this font, like the way the ‘n’ and the ‘s’ are shaped. I’m not a ‘creative,’ so I cannot explain the intricacies of why they are the way they are. We felt like the ‘n’ had a little bit of personality, but was still very clean. And also, there’s a little bit of a literal-but-not-so-literal homage to land and sea, a mark that we could use on different materials that does nod to the water and the project, (which) we see (as a) really pivotal relationship.”

RKm developed a branding statement that describes Hyas Point as “your home, your backyard, your trails and your beachfront. … your place to gather with friends and connect, or to sit alone with a good book in a quiet nook of a quaint new coffeehouse, nestled in the nurturing drama of breathtaking natural beauty all around.”

“We thought that this brand statement was very important to highlight and to make sure we were all on the same page about,” said Eliana Kim, RKm’s director of operations. “There’s lots of adjectives, but this statement hopefully encompasses a lot of different activities and a lot of different experiences. We wanted to be rooted in something a little bit more emotional.”

Eliana Kim added that RKm envisions Hyas Point as a “haven of convergence.”

“When we think about mixed uses, we’re thinking about interaction with the water, but also commercial activity,” she said. “It really is just an intersection of vibrant energy and peaceful quiet to bring together the commercial and the residential (components) into a new town center. This idea of gathering people, nature, commercial activity, and water activity, that was really at the center of what we wanted to establish.

“As a company, we’re very, very into the idea of ‘mixed-use’ and drawing up the best value for any community. (Hyas Point) can be a place where you interact with the water, get a great meal, meet with friends, walk your dog, or live, even. I think that idea of this mixed-use messaging was very, very important to emphasize.”

Marshall said she “loves the name and loves the logo.”

“It’s really impressive,” she said. “I love that in one of your original goal statements, you have the human-centric focus on there. The whole way you tied it all into that convergence thing, I think, is really, really great for beyond your project, but Ninebark (Apartments), the Port, the public access and the public areas. At least twice in your presentation, you talked about the physical and emotional link to and from Camas and Washougal. We’ve talked a lot about the importance of keeping the waterfront project complementary to our downtowns, so it’s just really nice to see that you’re brought that back up and focused on that again.”

Port commissioner Larry Keister agreed with Marshall.

“It’s very well thought-out,” he said. “(RKm developers) thought about, ‘What was our original intent?’ Our original intent was a gathering place for the community, and I think they’ve brought that forward in their description of the branding. I’m very impressed and very pleased.”

The Port envisions Hyas Point as “a lively, walkable place with community gathering and character spaces, commercial, retail, mixed-use, and residential uses,” with a design that will “honor the natural beauty and history of the site and the community, and support the creation of a local and regional identity for the cities of Washougal and Camas.”

Port officials expect the first phase of construction to begin in the spring of 2023 and include several streets, including a main thoroughfare stretching east to west, along the Columbia River, and four buildings that include 260 apartment units and 56,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.