Vancouver Business Journal

Mon07282014

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More businesses helped by WSU Vancouver program

More businesses helped by WSU Vancouver program

Since 2011, more than 100 small businesses in the Vancouver area have received c...

Workforce Development: A return to personnel investment

Workforce Development: A return to personnel investment

It is a common reaction to economic downturn: companies understandably tighten t...

Aerospace grant to fuel expansion of Clark College

Aerospace grant to fuel expansion of Clark College

Clark College is growing its presence in the Columbia River Gorge thanks to a st...

Local alliance ready to shape state health care reforms

Local alliance ready to shape state health care reforms

Backed by local industry leaders, members of the Southwest Washington Regional H...

Self-taught filmmakers driving local industry

Self-taught filmmakers driving local industry

Ask a local about the film scene in Southwest Washington, and you’re likely to b...

Legal marijuana sales underway in Washington state

Legal marijuana sales underway in Washington state

A year and a half after voters legalized recreational marijuana in Washington st...

Banking & Money Management

Challenges & successes in local lending

Challenges & successes in local lending

Reaching the two-year mark is a milestone for small businesses. Not only can owners celebrate the survival of their life’s work, but doors to one of the most vital resources – capital – also begin to open up.

G6 Airpark in Vancouver recently reached this milestone. The local business is a trampoline park, a place where children and adults alike can play on wall-to-wall trampolines. But for owner ...

Education & Workforce Development

Workforce Development: A return to personnel investment

Workforce Development: A return to personnel investment

It is a common reaction to economic downturn: companies understandably tighten their budgets; non-essential or slow-to-return investments get nixed pretty quickly. During the Great Recession, this was the case not only in Southwest Washington, but throughout much of the nation, as investing in a company’s most valuable asset – their employees – fell victim to the reigning in of purse strings.

Wit...

News Briefs

Subaru delivers one-millionth car to Port of Vancouver

Subaru of America and the Port of Vancouver recently celebrated a milestone as a red 2015 Forester became the one-millionth Subaru vehicle to cross the port’s docks.

Spotlight

Wacom eyes continued growth of product lines

Wacom eyes continued growth of product lines

As Doug Little is being interviewed, he motions to the ball-point pen taking notes in my hand.

“You’re using a pen [and paper] right now, but you could be doing that with our tablet,” he said. Little is the senior public relations manager for Wacom Technology Services, a Tokyo-based company whose headquarters for the Americas are located in Vancouver.

Wacom specializes in creating a more intuiti...

Leveraging the land

As it is today, the Port of Camas-Washougal is a small but active port. Both its 350-slip recreational marina and 79-hangar airport are full with waiting lists, and the port is looking to build out its industrial park to the east. As it is today, the Port of Camas-Washougal is a small but active port. Both its 350-slip recreational marina and 79-hangar airport are full with waiting lists, and the port is looking to build out its industrial park to the east.

Although the port has been the target of some criticism following the demise of waterfront development plans with Riverwalk on the Columbia LLC in 2007, it is forging ahead to make improvements and develop land to create jobs – which is ultimately a port’s job, said Scot Walstra, director of planning and development.

Creating industrial draw

Working with Berger Abam  and MacKay and Sposito Inc., both of Vancouver, a master development plan is underway for the 122 acres of undeveloped land in the port’s 430-acre industrial park. It started with a zoning review, which determined that the land’s heavy industrial zone is appropriate and flexible for future development, Walstra said.



The public process is now focused on what design options should be applied to the park.
 
The port is gathering feedback on design features regarding loading docks, solid waste and recycling, building materials, parking lots, public frontages, screening and buffers, signage and pedestrian amenities and stormwater.

Public comments so far have emphasized the need to honor and preserve the natural beauty of the area and make future development attractive and sustainable.

An open house is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 27 at the port offices to review and gain comment on the draft alternative plans.

For the last few years, Clark County has had low industrial vacancy but in recent months, vacancy has entered the double digits. But Walstra said he doesn’t expect demand to dwindle. Out-of-state companies are looking to relocate to take advantage of the area’s tremendous capacity for electricity and quality of life, he said.

The port’s 310 acres of developed industrial property are 93 percent occupied, down from 98 percent. The decrease is directly related to the drop in residential new construction, Walstra said.

The port has had several offers for development in the park, including three recent bona fide proposals to buy and develop fairly large single cluster projects, Walstra said. Industries that have expressed interest include biofuel, forest products, technology manufacturing and aquatic sciences development.

Airport plans take off

There are about 4,000 registered pilots in Clark County, but Walstra said because of Grove Field’s limited scope, the port is missing out on a big opportunity for jobs and dollars.

The port is in the midst of a $480,000 environmental assessment and public process to clear the way for realigning and expanding the 2,620-foot-long runway and adding needed hangars.

The goal is to increase safety and make the recreational airport fully compliant with Federal Aviation Administration design standards to position the port to take advantage of FAA funding.

“FAA certification opens the door for funding to make improvements that it would otherwise take the port decades to complete,” Walstra said. “It essentially fast tracks the ability to do economic development for the community.”

The project would realign the runway to the south and extend it to the west about 350 feet, which would require the relocation of Delp Road.

Alaska-based WHPacific and JLA Public Involvement, which has offices in Vancouver and Portland, are working with the port to conduct the assessment and public outreach.

A Draft Environmental Assessment is expected for public review in the fall, with an environmental finding expected from the FAA in late 2009. Construction could begin in 2010.

The air field now generates 24 jobs and about $1.4 million, but it has no fixed-base operators at the airport. Improved facilities and 17 new hangars are expected, but Walstra said the field could use another 100 hangars on top of that.

On the waterfront

The port recently finished two marina repair projects and dredging, which removed silt and sediment from the marina.

Older wood components were replaced on the 1,300-foot breakwater, which serves as a dock for visiting boats and reduces wave action inside the marina.

In-house, the port rebuilt and installed launch ramps. Together, the projects cost about $434,000.

Future plans include adding slips for boats larger than 40 feet – which the marina can’t now accommodate – that could attract a different group of boaters, Walstra said.

Megan Patrick-Vaughn can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Opinion

Focus Column

Improve payment processes by making them more integrated

Improve payment processes by making them more integrated

You’ve probably heard the saying that there’s nothing good that cannot be improved on. In the changing world of payables...

Don’t let your business become a victim of bank fraud

Don’t let your business become a victim of bank fraud

Your bank or credit union is the lifeblood of your business and critical spoke in the wheel of daily commerce. To their ...

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