In: Journal

Author: Doug Flanagan, Post Record: March 25, 2021

After Larry Keister asked his fellow Port of Camas-Washougal commissioners to approve the agency’s master lease agreement with Portland-based RKm Development during their March 17 virtual meeting, a few seconds of tense silence hung in the air.

“I will second (the motion), although I have to say it feels like we need more pomp and circumstance around this,” commissioner Cassi Marshall said. “This feels like a really big deal.”

“I could go get a party popper,” commissioner John Spencer replied.

“We could at least have music or something,” Marshall said with a laugh.

The commissioners have good reason to feel like the completion of the agreement, which was unanimously approved, represents a significant milestone for the project, which will construct a “lively, walkable place with community gathering and character spaces, commercial, retail, mixed-use and residential uses” on the Port’s waterfront property.

“I am so excited to approve this,” Spencer said. “It’s as thorough as can be and sets us up for great things to come.”

“For me personally, this has been almost a 10-year process of (working on) the vision that started with commissioners Mark Lampton, Bill Macrae-Smith and Bill Ward to provide a revenue source for the Port and for the city,” Keister added. “This is going to be, in my opinion, a positive benefit for east Clark County. I’m very excited that we will be able to move forward with this project.”

Port leaders have been working on the agreement since April 16, 2019, when the agency announced that it selected RKm Development to develop the property.

“The Port’s decision to work with (RKm) is based in part on the developer’s experience with catalytic, large-scale, multi-phased mixed-use developments in the Portland region,” the agreement states. “The Port recognizes that developments of this nature are complex, and further recognizes that (RKm) has demonstrated a strong track record of financing, building and operating this type of development.”

The Port entered into a memorandum of understanding with RKm Development on April 27, 2020.

“I’m very excited to see this big hurdle crossed and RKm continue to lead on design work and construction (begin) late next summer,” Port chief executive officer David Ripp said during the March 17 meeting.

City councilors vote 7-1 to approve agreement

Washougal city council members approved a development agreement with the Port by a 7-1 vote during their March 22 virtual meeting.

The agreement “provides the framework, processes and standards for the development of the property in order to achieve the vision of the Port and its waterfront master plan,” according to the document.

“I think this has been a great process so far,” councilwoman Alex Yost said. “It’s awesome when the city and the Port can get on board with the members of the community. I know there’s going to be concerns along the way, and hopefully staff and the developers can continue to communicate. There’s been a ton of work that’s gone into this on all levels. This is a long-term project, and we’re just barely beginning to scrape the surface of the potential down there on the waterfront.”

“I’m blown away by what we have on the table now. This is wonderful,” councilman Paul Greenlee added. “I can’t imagine anything that would have come forward that I am as thrilled about.”

Councilwoman Michelle Wagner cast the lone “nay” vote, referring to her previous objections to the agreement’s proposed maximum building height of 80 feet. The city’s building codes allow for structures to top out at 75 feet.

“I think that I might speak for a lot of people that were not expecting seven-story buildings on the waterfront,” Wagner said during the city’s March 8 virtual workshop session. “A great majority of our city looks down on the waterfront. The Best Western there is, what, maybe four stories high? The thought of six stories was significant enough in itself, then we’re talking about amending the code height for an additional seventh story. We all love high ceilings, sure. I definitely want high ceilings in a beautiful lobby or commercial area. But I’m wondering what’s necessitating that extra floor.”

“The extra 5 feet helps,” Matt Brown, the project’s lead architect, replied. “We could do these same buildings without the 5 feet, but I think we’re going to diminish the quality of the spaces throughout all of the floors by having to take out that extra foot on each level.”

Brian Vanneman of the Portland-based Leland Consulting Group told Wagner that the buildings closest to the waterfront “will be 30 feet (high) or less.”

Port director of planning and development Miller said that the proposed maximum height is “about providing as much flexibility as we possibly can for the development and taking advantage of opportunities.”

“We don’t have the market for an 80-foot-tall structure or a seven-story building (right now, but) we do see the potential for that market interest in the future,” Miller said during the March 8 workshop session. “One of those buildings could show itself in phase two after we get phase one under way. There could be large office users that want to locate their headquarters on the waterfront, and they may say they want seven floors, just like Fisher Investments (in Camas). I think that’s important because those large office users equate to family wage jobs. Any opportunity that we can get as an opportunity to (provide) those jobs is important.”

Author: Doug Flanagan, Post-Record Staff Writer, Published: February 11, 2021

Roy Kim wants the Waterfront at Parker’s Landing mixed-use urban center to provide visitors with “a sense of place” when it opens in 2024, and believes that the first phase of construction will allow the development to deliver on that promise.

During the Port of Camas-Washougal’s Feb. 3 commission meeting, Kim, the owner of Portland-based RKm Development, presented his latest vision for the general layout of the first phase of construction, scheduled to begin in fall 2022.

The plan features several streets, including a main thoroughfare that will stretch east and west along the Columbia River, and four buildings that will contain 260 apartment units and 56,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

“That’s actually a lot of buildings for the first phase, but we did that purposely because we want to create as much of a ‘sense of place’ in the first phase as possible,” Kim said. “Along with (the Ninebark (apartments), hopefully there will be activity right off the bat. In general, we wanted one area to be the core. It’s like a town that has its ‘Main Street.’ This (development) should have a core that is a focus of activity.”

The main street — tentatively named “Waterfront Way” — will be designed to hold events and other activities, according to Kim.

“I think the idea is for the active street to be social, a place where you run into your neighbors,” he said. “(We want this to be) a place to hang out. Hopefully, we’ll be able to have things like street fairs or small concerts pretty regularly and have booths set up to be able to sell things. I know there are street fairs and farmer’s market types of things in downtown Camas, so (our events) will have a different feel to them.”

Kim said the hope is that future waterfront restaurants will “automatically become a destination.”

“Obviously, they’re an important part of creating a sense of ‘place’ here — nice restaurants that look out over the river, front onto a street and are designed to be vibrant and active,” he said. “The designs will probably be more customized to the specific restaurants. Single-story, a lot of glass, big overhang — these are the things that we’re thinking about. (The buildings are) designed to have smaller restaurants. A lot of these (spaces) are designed to be somewhere between 2,000 and 5,000 square feet. Hopefully we’ll have smaller restaurants, but not too small, with variety — some will be larger, some will be smaller.”

Kim said the development will include local artwork, educational opportunities highlighting local history, visual and physical access to the waterfront and surrounding natural elements, and will be “pretty easy to walk across.”

“The right-of-way width, wide sidewalks, street trees, light poles … canopies so that it’s reasonable to walk if there’s a drizzle — we’re really thinking about the pedestrian experience,” Kim said. “There are also three areas where ‘Waterfront Way’ connects to the existing waterfront trail. We want direct and pleasant access to the trail.”

Commissioner Cassi Marshall praised Kim’s plan and thanked him for incorporating public spaces “closer to the waterfront and waterfront trail.”

“The waterfront trail has been such a popular amenity for us, and I think the way you’ve created public access to it from the development and created more space for people to spill out from the waterfront trail with more public areas, I really appreciate that,” Marshall said to Kim. “(I hope you) hang on to those strong concepts as you move forward with more design specifics because I think those are really strong.”

Kim projects the first phase of the waterfront development’s construction will cost about $90 million.

“These are rough numbers because things are changing dramatically, especially with the pandemic,” Kim said. “Infrastructure will be the streets as well as utilities under the streets an

Post-Record Article

WASHOUGAL, WASHINGTON – January 27, 2021 – Port of Camas-Washougal announces the presentation of Phase 1 layout of the Waterfront at Parker’s Landing Development on February 3rd, 2021.

Developer RKm will be sharing the update during the regular Commission Meeting which begins at 5:00pm. They will present on the general layout of Phase 1, including the public access areas connecting Waterfront Way to the Waterfront Trail, the first 4 buildings to be constructed, and their intended uses. They will also be providing an anticipated timeline for the project.

The meeting and presentation may be accessed via Zoom. Click here to visit the Port website for more information on how to attend the zoom meeting.


About the Port

The Port of Camas-Washougal strategically invests in developing vibrant business communities that offer a desirable quality of life for local residents. Located only 15 minutes from the Portland International Airport, Camas and Washougal boast waterfront property and spectacular views of the Gorge’s protected natural landscape. Since 2008, the Port has experienced 87% growth with over 123,000 square feet of new buildings space opening to accommodate 19 new businesses in the Industrial Park. The Port’s Opportunity Zone offers appealing tax incentives for investors. The Port is known for its diversity of operations and partnerships with local city government to accommodate business development. For more information, visit It’s our nature to thrive.

Washougal Wash. – February 5, 2019 The Port of Camas-Washougal is excited to announce it has received 4 submissions from developers in response to the Port’s Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to partner in the Parker’s Landing Waterfront Development.

RFQ submissions were received January 31, 2019 from:

  1. RKm Development
  2. Project ^
  3. Williams/Dame & Associates, Inc.
  4. Terra Pacific Development, LLC

The Leland Consul_ng Group was chosen as the Port’s strategic advisors in January and will assist staff in the interview process for a Waterfront Developer. Interviews are scheduled for the weeks of February 11-22. Addi_onal steps will be determined based on the outcome of the interviews.

” This is a very exciting time for the Port and the community,” reported David Ripp, Port CEO. “Choosing the right developer that will continue the vision of a thriving and vibrant destination is of vital importance.”

Upcoming Waterfront projects already in process include the finished grading and clearing of the 20.5 acres of prime real estate to make way for the development to continue. The Waterfront Park Natural Play Area, which is due to begin construction in February 2019 by lowest bidder, Keystone Contracting; and the construction of the connecting trail between the Port’s Waterfront property and the City of Washougal Downtown in the summer of 2019.

For more information and to follow the Waterfront Development progress, go
to Port’s website at

The port brings jobs and recreational opportunities through a 400-acre
industrial park, a 77-hangar general aviation airport and 350-slip pleasure
boat marina. Grove Field is a small, general aviation airport with a state-ofthe-
art fueling station and 14 tie-downs. The marina is the largest publicly
owned marina on the Washington side of the Columbia River and has a
floating restaurant, launch ramp, nearby hotel, fueling station, electricity on
the breakwater/guest dock, and is home port to the Dolphin Yacht
Club. Construction of the Washougal Waterfront Park and Trail was completed
in October 2017. The industrial park boasts a 100% occupancy rate of more
than 35 businesses with an annual payroll of $8.9 million and is adjacent to
Steigerwald Commerce Center, 100+ acres of property currently under
development. The port also manages Captain William Clark Park at
Cottonwood Beach, the adjacent protective levee and Parkersville National
Historic site.

More information is found at

Author: Dawn Feldhaus, Published: January 17, 2019
Camas-Washougal Post Record

Officials hire Portland firm that helped shape Vancouver’s Terminal 1 project

After getting zero bites from developers interested in revamping the Port of Camas-Washougal’s prime waterfront property, port leaders have entered “Plan B” of the waterfront plan, hiring a management firm with ample waterfront development experience.

In September 2018, the port issued a request for proposals (RFP) to develop the waterfront.

Port leaders had hoped developers would submit proposals by mid-October. When that didn’t happen, the port extended the RFP deadline to the end of November, but still had zero responses.

At that time, Port Chief Executive Officer David Ripp said developers told him it cost time and money to put together a proposal and they were currently working on other projects. Some developers also expressed concern about their ideas for a waterfront development being available to the public.

Ripp said Monday the port did not receive any RFPs last year, so they will decide which developer to work with by requesting qualifications.

“Last year, developers were very busy and didn’t have time to develop a proposal,” he said.

A company that has worked on several waterfront plans in Washington and Oregon will provide guidance for the Port of Camas-Washougal in the planning and development of its waterfront plan.

Leland Consulting Group, of Portland, has worked with the Port of Vancouver and NBBJ Architects to complete a master plan, recruit hotel and mixed-use developers and bring a new restaurant to Terminal 1, a future project on 10 acres.

Leland has also worked on the Everett Marina District Master Plan for the Port of Everett, in Everett, Washington; the Eugene Riverfront Master Plan, in Eugene, Oregon; and Independence Landing, in Independence, Oregon.

Port of Camas-Washougal commissioners approved a $137,092 contract with Leland Consulting Group to review developer qualifications, solicit developer design proposals and negotiate a preliminary deal and support the negotiation of a development agreement. Leland will also provide a market analysis summary, public buildings analyses of a cultural center and public market and a return on investment analysis.

The port is requesting qualifications from mixed-use developers for 26.5 acres of waterfront land, due by 5 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 31.

Area residents interested in the future development of the Port of Camas-Washougal waterfront are invited to attend a special port commission meeting on Jan. 22.

Port officials will discuss the waterfront property and update the public on “next steps” at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 22, in the port office meeting room, 24 S. “A” St., Washougal, prior to the commission’s regular meeting at 5 p.m.

Ideas for a mixed-use development on the waterfront have previously included restaurants, a hotel, offices and a cultural/conference center.

Washougal Wash. – October 8, 2018 – The Port of Camas-Washougal is pleased to invite the community to join us for the bronze eagle dedication ceremony. This stunning bronze statue, created by artist Heather Soderberg-Green, will be unveiled at the Washougal Waterfront Park at 56 South 1st Street, Washougal, WA 98671 on October 24, 2018.

David Ripp, Executive Director said,

We are very excited to bring to the community this beautiful bronze sculpture. Art is such an integral part of our community and its rich history.

The statue stands about 10 feet tall including the pedestal and is spectacularly realistic. The dedication ceremony will start at 11:00am. If you have any questions, feel free to call Yvette Winden, Executive Assistant, at (360) 835-2196 ext. 102

Large riverside park hosts amenities, trails and access to Columbia River

WASHOUGAL — A short 20 minute drive from the heart of downtown Vancouver, the city of Washougal hosts a park covering close to a mile of Columbia River waterfront.

Amidst 170 parks in Clark County alone, Waterfront Park in Washougal brings many updated amenities and unique activity opportunities to the area.

Constructed in 2016, Waterfront Park sits adjacent to Marina Park and the waterfront marina, and is managed by The Port of Camas-Washougal. Together, these parks make-up what is often referred to as Washougal’s Waterfront Park.

The view looking east into the Columbia River Gorge from below Washougal Waterfront Park’s large paved viewing area. The lookout was finished two years ago, and connects to a 12-foot-wide walking path, just under a mile long. Photo by Jacob Granneman

The park includes over a mile of walking paths, motorized and non-motorized boat launches, restrooms, picnic tables, a large covering, and beach access with ramped descents to the docks and waterfront.

Hundreds of boats can be seen moored at the marina, which is visible from either side of the park area. Built onto the docks themselves is the Puffin Café; a small restaurant offering drinks and caribbean food.

The park is open to leashed pets as well as cyclists, roller skaters, joggers, and welcomes canoeing along the waterfront. Parking is available for vehicles towing boat trailers or campers.

With all trails and paths ADA accessible, the park allows for anyone to enjoy the amenities; the largests of which is the viewing area on the eastern side of the newer portion of the park.

Designed to look like a compass point, the lookout faces the eastern Columbia River Gorge, and contains informational stations where visitors can learn about the Columbia River environment and salmon populations.

Artwork by local artist Malo Hasselblad, adorns the cemented area of the park. The artist fabricated a stainless steel salmon to be inlaid in the ground, back in 2015.

Perhaps the most technologically advanced and expensive pieces of the outdoor facility are the solar powered restrooms and rain gardens. The Port hopes to use these “green” features, along with informational signage, to educate visitors on how they can more positively affect the environment.

Towards the center of the newest section of the park, a 600-square-foot picnic covering is available for events and parties. The space can be reserved through The Port of Camas-Washougal’s site by seeing the parks fee schedule.

In between the two halves of the park, sits the recently finished Black Pearl on the Columbia. The over 12,000-square-foot event venue will begin renting it’s space for community events soon, with rates now available on it’s website.

For more information on the Washougal Waterfront Park, or to inquire about upcoming events, boat launch and marina access or event reservations, go to the parks page on The Port of Camas-Washougal’s website or visit their Facebook page.

By Kevin Gorman
Executive Director, Friends of the Columbia Gorge

Last month, I was at a dedication of a new addition to the Port of Camas-Washougal. Local politicians and economic development folks filled the tent and honestly, it was the type of event that a conservation leader like me is not typically asked to attend. But this was not a typical port dedication.

This was the dedication of the Washougal Waterfront, a stunning gem of a park and trail along the Columbia. Looking south to Mount Hood and east to the Gorge, it’s hard to imagine this serene spot was once an old mill site or that such an oasis even exists as you whiz by in your car on Washington State Route 14. But it sits just over three miles from the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, which begs the question: Why does Friends of the Columbia Gorge care?

We care because of Gorge Towns to Trails, a vision for a trail system wrapping around the Gorge, exploring hidden waterfalls and vistas and connecting into communities to allow multi-day trekking with hikers staying in towns and B&Bs, much like you would see in Europe today. It’s a vision that will protect more land, provide relief to overused trails, and give Gorge communities an economic boost.

The Port of Camas-Washougal saw the benefit that Gorge Towns to Trails could provide to their community and became determined to make this spot the trail vision’s western Washington launch point. They have worked with Renee Tkach, our Gorge Towns to Trails Manager, who helped the port land a $700,000 state grant to build the park. We are working with the port to take trails from this park east through Washougal and eventually to Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge. The port is also looking at trail systems west to connect to Camas, Vancouver and eventually Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. That’s right, a refuge-to-refuge connection.

I was beyond proud to watch Renee give the best speech of the day at the dedication (well worth five minutes of your time) as she laid out the vision and spoke of what we, a collective “we,” did to make this happen and how “we” aren’t even close to being done. Port officials, businesspeople and conservative politicians all nodded in unison with enthusiasm.

When we launched Gorge Towns to Trails, I didn’t know where it would take us and we deliberately chose to not predetermine how this vision would play out. I thought we would be working to build trails in the National Scenic Area and then work to connect them into communities. However, the opposite has been true. It is the communities who are the catalysts, wanting to be the launching points and working to extend trails from their communities out into the National Scenic Area.

We now have two communities, Mosier and Washougal, who have built trails from their towns and highlight Gorge Towns to Trails as part of their signage. Gorge Towns to Trails is now in the master plan for the town of North Bonneville’s trail vision. Finally, our land trust is whittling away at those remaining connection properties to make trails from Washougal to Stevenson and Hood River to The Dalles possible one day.

Gorge Towns to Trails is opening doors and taking us places we could not have imagined five years ago. While we still have a long, long way to go, a visit to Washougal’s Waterfront Park will help you believe in the possible and look east with optimism and anticipation of what lies ahead.

(All photos by Mitch Hammontree)