The Washougal waterfront will soon have a new park.
Named “Eagle View Park” by the Washougal City Council on July 11, the city’s newest public green space will include an art walk, public lawn and a garden highlighting the area’s logging and river commerce history.
Portland-based Killian Pacific is developing the 1.2-acre park next to its Ninebark apartment complex on the Washougal waterfront. The 242-unit apartment complex is slated to open in 2023. Eagle View Park will act as a natural buffer between the residential complex and the nearby Washougal Waterfront Trail.
“Killian Pacific is looking to deliver a highly desirable park for our community that has a positive impact and engages (residents) with placemaking and art,” Washougal City Manager David Scott said during a July 11 city council workshop. “This high-quality park will enhance views of the river, preserve habitat to the extent that it can, retain migration corridors for habitat, and allow us to actively engage through different means, such as art and education, and acknowledge our history.”
The Port transferred ownership of the park property to the city of Washougal in June. Killian Pacific will maintain the park for the next eight years, then turn over maintenance responsibilities to the city.
“The park is on property that was the Port’s,” Scott told city council members in June. “The Port is dedicating that property to us now, so this property will be under our ownership, but the development and maintenance of the park is the responsibility of the developer, and that maintenance goes for eight years, which (coincides) with the 10th year of their multi-family housing property tax exemption. After those eight years, it will become our responsibility to maintain (the park) when we start to receive the property tax revenue from the residential project.”
Lance Killian, Killian Pacific’s owner and chief visionary officer, has said the park represents a “true public-private partnership.”
Port officials have said they hope the park will be a good buffer between the apartment complex and the more public waterfront amenities.
“We realized that we wanted to have a visual and physical buffer between the Port’s waterfront trail and the Ninebark development,” Port Commissioner Larry Keister said during a June 15 Port Commission meeting. “That’s why we went away from the 1-acre square park to the elongated pocket park — to give that physical and individual barrier between the trail and the buildings of the Ninebark development. That way, people walking down the trail wouldn’t feel like they’re walking into someone’s neighborhood.”
To address Keister’s concerns, the Port added language to its transfer document that states that the transaction is conditional on the city keeping the park design consistent with the originally proposed plan.
“Originally, when we were selling the property to Killian Pacific, we agreed through our purchase sale agreement that we would sell ‘X’ amount of acres, and a 1-acre parcel would be developed into a park by them,” Port Chief Executive Officer David Ripp said. “The acre that we had looked at utilizing interfered with their development, so instead of having a square section, we looked at having a more rectangular, elongated property. And actually, that works out better for us because that park property now divides our (waterfront) trail and their development.”
Washougal City Councilman David Stuebe said he believed the city and Port seem to have a similar vision for the waterfront property.
“At the Port meeting, they were worried about transferring that property to us, that in eight years, when we take it over, we’d change their vision of what that was supposed to be,” Stuebe told the other Washougal City Council members during their July 11 workshop. “I said, ‘I don’t want to assume, but I’m sure our vision and the Port’s vision are the same. We want to make a beautiful, connecting trail.’ I think they’re going to take that to their lawyers and put wording in to specify that we have to maintain the Port’s vision. I’d like to read that verbiage before we sign off on that. I don’t have any doubt that they’d play nice in the sandbox. I love what the Port’s doing. I’m sure we’ll share that vision. But I want to see that wording before we sign off on that.”
Keister said the wording in question is more about ensuring the Port’s intentions for the park would be upheld in the future.
“We’re not asking for anything in particular — just maintain privacy, both visually and physically, so people will feel comfortable walking through that trail,” Keister said. “When the park was first thought about, it was a 1-acre square park, basically on the property between the Port’s property and Killian Pacific’s property. The commission was concerned about the feeling of privacy for the residents of Killian Pacific’s Ninebark property and the public walking along the trail. That’s why we changed the concept from a 1-acre square park to an elongated park along the trail.”
Michelle Wright, the city of Washougal’s public works business administrator, said the city wanted to get a jumpstart on branding and outreach for the park, so officials asked Washougal Parks and Cemetery Board members to help select a name for the new park.
The board member considered several names — including Washougal-Rushing Water, The Waterfront Parker’s Landing, Washougal Gateway, Chinook Park, Waterfront Park and Princess White Wing — but ultimately landed on Eagle View Park as the preferred name.
“Eagle View and Chinook Park were neck-and-neck for the top picks,” Wright said. “My understanding is that name was picked because the board member saw eagles flying overhead in that area.”
Washougal City Councilwoman Molly Coston said she “walks the trail three or four items a week” and added that the park will be “a great amenity for the community as a whole.”
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity,” she said. “It’s really great that Killian decided to put this together, and I think it will be a great asset to the entire area.”
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 be 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 that 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.”
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.”