OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON (JAN. 5, 2021) – Each year, the Washington Public Ports Association (WPPA) recognizes extraordinary accomplishments by member ports in the categories of environmental stewardship, community engagement, job creator of the year, and creative partnerships.
WPPA is excited to announce the Port of Camas-Washougal as the winner of the 2020 Community Engagement Award for their deeply thoughtful approach to working with and engaging their community over the long-term in their ten-year Parker’s Landing Waterfront Development project.
For complete details on their award-winning efforts, we turn to the words of the Port of Camas-Washougal in their application to WPPA:
“The Port of Camas-Washougal has been working on the Parker’s Landing Waterfront Development for the last 10-years, and have engaged our community every step of the way and have strived for and received positive support and feedback.
The site is located along the Columbia River in east Clark County. It had been a lumber mill site and zoned Light Industrial for 50-years.
In 2010 during the Great Recession, the mill shut down and all 50-employees were permanently laid off.
To take matters into our own hands, the Port worked with Maul Foster Alongi on an Integrated Planning Grant (IPG) through the Department of Ecology to determine the cleanup and what would be the highest and best use for the site.
The Port held three different open houses to gain input and overwhelmingly the public viewed this site as a natural beauty for its access to the Columbia River and a great place for a commercial development. The main messages were this site would have public access to the river along with the commercial development.
The Port was the successful recipient of a Remedial Action Grant through Ecology and the cleanup was completed in 2015.
During the cleanup phase the Port began to form community groups to help lead the efforts to determine what the public wanted to see in their waterfront trail and park. It consisted of 5 different design groups (art/history, recreation, tourism/marketing, environmental stewardship, and linkages) which met over several months and conducted a 5-month survey of the Port constituents on the design and look of the trail, along with several open houses. We also connected with the schools to make sure we covered one of our goals of designing the trail and park into an educational opportunity for school aged children through wayfinding signs, educational signs, and interactive pieces along the trail.
The Port was fortunate enough to receive a grant through Portland State University’s Master of Urban and Regional Planning department where graduate students led a community engagement process to develop a community vision for the Waterfront that connects and complements the Downtown, supporting the creation of a local and regional identity for the City of Washougal.
This process was approximately 3-months where there was a collaborative effort to engage the community through public events, meetings with local businesses and stakeholder interviews.
Natural Play Area
The Port utilized the design and construction of the Natural Play Area at Washougal Waterfront Park as an opportunity to further include the public in planning and development of this project as well as having the school aged children from the Washougal School District help in naming of our play area guest, Eegah, the sasquatch climbing statue. Once construction of the play area was underway, the Port launched our first social media campaign, introducing Eegah to the community and asking for the public’s help to #findeegah through social media posts and community engagement in local community events. We passed out Eegah masks and other sasquatch swag. We posted construction updates regularly on social media and held Eegah themed art contests with local elementary schools. This campaign helped to more than triple the Port’s social media followers.
This campaign allowed for greater engagement with the waterfront development design process. We posted surveys online and shared via social media, asking the public to share their thoughts on the look, feel, and utility of the waterfront development master plan. We received hundreds of responses which were invaluable in shaping the final design. The ribbon cutting event took place to a well-attended and full of smiling children in June 2019.
In March of 2019 the Port set out to seek help in the master planning and development of the waterfront property through a Request for Qualifications process. We interviewed four firms and RKM Development stood out among the firms the Port wanted to partner with due to their experience and community involvement process they had followed on previous projects.
In June of 2019 the first of many public engagements began at the grand opening event for our Natural Play Area. The public reviewed and surveyed different development styles, public amenities and site layouts to help guide the Port and RKM in what the community wanted and visualized for this development.
Throughout the summer RKM and the Port reached out to the public through other Port and community events, First Fridays and stakeholder interviews to better lay the foundation and public ownership in the overall master plan of the waterfront.
At the Port’s final Board Meeting on December 16th, 2019, before the Master Plan was voted on by the Commission for approval, it was reviewed one last time and when it came to public comment, there was not one comment or question. The public had been a part of the process since day one and helped mold and develop the vision for the final Master Plan.”
ABOUT WASHINGTON PUBLIC PORTS ASSOCIATION
As a state legislative and regulatory advocacy organization, the Washington Public Ports Association (WPPA) provides zealous representation for the state’s ports. The WPPA was formed by the legislature in 1961 to represent public port districts throughout Washington, serving as the focus through which ports work cooperatively to develop policy direction, share information, and address issues on economic development, trade, transportation, and environmental stewardship. Public port districts offer a wide range of locally governed services, including marine terminals, barge facilities, industrial development, marinas, airports, railroads, and tourism promotion.
Washington Public Ports Association