We’ll Have a Bridge!

At its October 9 regularly-scheduled commission meeting, the Port of Ridgefield announced it had received the last of the required sign-offs from the City of Ridgefield, Burlington Northern, Washington State Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Authority, allowing the port to go out for bids to complete the Pioneer Street Rail Overpass project.

The request for bid proposals was released on Oct. 16; bids are due back to the port by Nov. 13, 2019. Assuming a qualified bidder comes in at or below the project budget of $8 million to $11 million, the bid award will be made two weeks after the bid closing date, and construction will start in early 2020. With a successful bid process, it’s estimated that vehicles and pedestrians could be using the overpass by year-end 2020.

And this is what it will look like:

Comment from Kathy – imagine – no more train horns in the middle of the night!

Port Mtg Time Changed

The Port meeting has been moved to 11am this morning, not 2 as previously announced. Sorry for the confusion.

Special Port Meeting

The Board of Port Commissioners will hold a special meeting Monday, July 2 at 2:00 to discuss real estate. Action will be taken at this meeting. Port Offices are at 111 West Division.

Port’a Newsletter


Due to an error, one Ridgefield route of the Reflector’s October 12 edition did not include the Port of Ridgefield’s newsletter as intended. The Reflector will remedy this error by inserting the port’s  newsletter into its October 19th edition for the overlooked route.

Print copies of the port’s newsletter will be available at the port offices late in the day today, and within a few days will be distributed to many locations around town. For a complete list of the newsletter distribution sites visit http://portridgefield.org/community/newsletters and scroll down to find the list.

Port of Ridgefield earns $50K grant to further explore dark fiber development


Because time is money for business, education, health care, other entities and citizens, data ideally moves at the speed of a very high speed internet connection. The Port of Ridgefield is aiming to bring available data speeds in the area to a level on par with that of the Portland-Metro area by constructing a dark fiber network within the Discovery Corridor.

The port’s interest in this infrastructure development took a step forward yesterday with a $50,000 grant award from the State of Washington’s Community Economic Revitalization Board. CERB provides funding to local governments and federally-recognized tribes for public infrastructure which supports private business growth and expansion.

At a CERB board meeting on September 15, members voted unanimously to award the $50,000 grant – the highest available award amount for a planning grant – directly following the port’s presentation. The port’s request was for the funds to complete a feasibility study and formal needs analysis for constructing a fiber optic broadband “loop” around the Ridgefield Port District, also known as the Discovery Corridor.

Nelson Holmberg, vice president, innovation for the Port of Ridgefield, who with port CEO Brent Grening presented at the CERB meeting, said the port was very proud to have that vote of confidence from the CERB board.

“A unanimous decision by the board to award us the grant in the full amount we applied for is much appreciated. It recognizes our disciplined approach and smart policy we’ve established as we work to ‘light up’ the Discovery Corridor.”

Holmberg also noted that a feasibility study would determine construction costs and aid in determining a cost/benefit analysis for the infrastructure development and project revenue generation capacity.

“This will provide us with an expected rate of return – required information for a responsible public entity,” said Holmberg.

Port of Ridgefield to Host Dark Fiber Info Session June 28

Port of Ridgefield

The Port of Ridgefield has been making headway in its efforts to develop high-speed dark fiber infrastructure for the benefit of Ridgefield area citizens and business. For many, the term “dark fiber” is technical mumbo-jumbo that has no direct effect on their daily lives.

Nelson Holmberg, vice president, innovation for the Port of Ridgefield, knows otherwise. To help bring dark fiber out of the shadowy world of misunderstanding into the light of day, the port is hosting a public information session about the port’s fiber development project, and its significance to the Ridgefield community and beyond.

“Moving information at the highest speeds possible affects many aspects of the world we live in today,” Holmberg said. “And to be competitive in a global economy, having this technology available to our community is critical.”   Dark Riber

On an educational mission to meet with Port of Whitman County officials in eastern Washington last summer, representatives of the Port of Ridgefield learned about Whitman County’s successful 16-year foray into fiber network construction and leasing. More meetings later, and with a lay of the local fiber landscape in hand, the Port of Ridgefield decided to look at the concept for Ridgefield.

In addition to an introduction and status report of the port’s fiber development project by Holmberg, the event will feature a panel discussion to explain what dark fiber is, why the port is undertaking the project, why the project is important to WSU-Vancouver and to private industry in the area.

Panelists confirmed-to-date are Joe Poire, chief executive officer, Port of Whitman County; Michael Stamper, chief information officer, Washington State University Vancouver; and Mike Bomar, president, Columbia River Economic Development Council.

The dark fiber public session will be held Tuesday, June 28 from 6-8 p.m. at the Old Liberty Theater in downtown Ridgefield, located at 115 N Main Ave. A reception precedes the panel discussion.

All are welcome. To insure adequate seating is available, RSVP by June 23 by calling (360) 887-3873 or email wbaldwin@portridgefield.org.

April 27 Partner Presentation at Port to Feature Community Development Director

Port of Ridgefield

How is the City of Ridgefield preparing for its rapidly-growing population?

As subdivisions spring up, every new home means more citizens in town. Learn how the city is planning and managing for this continued growth cycle at the Port of Ridgefield’s April 27 regularly scheduled commission meeting. Jeff Niten, community development director for the City of Ridgefield, will make a Partner Presentation to the commission and guests during the Innovation Report segment of the meeting. Niten will provide a look at the city’s updated Comprehensive Plan that serves as a shared blueprint for Ridgefield over the next 20 years.

“The process was extensive” Niten said. “It involved many members of the public. We solicited input from our partners and community groups in order to better prepare for the new and future members of our community.”

In February of this year the Ridgefield City Council adopted the update for the Comprehensive Growth Management Plan, Niten said. His presentation will cover several upcoming projects designed to create “the Ridgefield our citizens told us they wanted to see.”

The April 27 port commission meeting begins at 3 p.m., and will be held at the port offices at 111 W. Division St. in Ridgefield.

For more information about the Port of Ridgefield’s Partner Presentation program, contact Holmberg by email NHolmberg@portridgefield.org or call (360) 887-3873.

For more information about the City of Ridgefield’s Comprehensive Plan, visit http://www.ci.ridgefield.wa.us.

Container Park

Allen Malone made a presentation to the Port on Thursday about a potential addition to Ridgefield.

Allen Malone at Port

He showed photos of an existing container park in Las Vegas, using railroad containers and XTreme cubes connecting them. The cubes are 10x10x10′ spaces with a roof/ceiling, floor, and four posts connecting them. They may be configured to fit their use.

Here are photos from the Las Vegas park.

Container park 1

The size of the park in Las Vegas is 400′ x 150′, and there is about 19,000 square feet of retail space, including restaurants, arts area, stage, playground, wine bar, playground, park, pet area, etc.

Container park 2

It could be used for community events, and would help make Rdigefield a destination location.

Container park 3

Container park 4

There was an unusually large audience in attendance, so I assume there is some interest in the community in this concept.

If you would like to comment on this idea, please click ‘leave a comment (edit)’ and others will be able to read your ideas.

Port to hear container development concept at March 23 port meeting

Port of Ridgefield Could a development comprised primarily of previously-used containers be a viable option for business incubator space in Ridgefield? Alan Malone, a Ridgefield resident, thinks the idea should be considered. Malone, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel whose second career was as a certified planner for the Portland firm of Mead & Hunt, has seen such a development, and will discuss the idea at the Port of Ridgefield’s next regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, March 23 at 3pm.

Although now fully retired, Malone was in Las Vegas with a friend awhile ago, looking around Las Vegas at urban planning ideas that helped revitalize that Nevada city. Malone’s friend took him to the Downtown Container Park, a fully-developed park used for retail incubator space.

“I was so excited I’ve been talking about it since,” Malone said. He presented the concept to the Ridgefield Main Street Program about a year ago.

According to information provided by Malone, the Las Vegas Downtown Container Park is built on 1.3 acres on a site that was formerly a three-story hotel in an area of the downtown designated as blighted. The park utilized 45 used shipping containers and 45 Xtreme Cubes – Xtreme Manufacturing’s line of multi-functioning construction cubes – which can be configured into any possible portable structure. The Las Vegas Downtown Container Park houses 26 small retail spaces, six restaurants and five specialty eateries.

Malone will deliver his container park presentation to the port commission and guests during the Innovation Report/Partner Presentation segment of the meeting, organized by the port’s Vice President, Innovation, Nelson Holmberg.

Holmberg introduced the Partner Presentations program at the port last December as a means of introducing new concepts to the port commission. The presentations will be scheduled for the port’s second monthly commission meeting, held the fourth Wednesday of each month.

The March 23 port commission meeting begins at 3 p.m., and will be held at the port offices at 111 W. Division St. in Ridgefield.

For more information about the Port of Ridgefield’s Partner Presentation program, contact Holmberg by email NHolmberg@portridgefield.org or call (360) 887-3873.

Special Port Meeting

Port of Ridgefield

The Board of Port Commissioners will hold a meeting to discuss the economic, job and innovation potential of the Discovery Corridor on Friday, March 4, 2016 at 10:00am. The meeting will be held at 600 South 74th Place Suite 103B in Ridgefield.

Port of Ridgefield Rail Overpass Project

Port of Ridgefield

The Port of Ridgefield announced that its Pioneer Street Railroad Overpass Project has been awarded $900,000 – nearly 10 percent of the funds available nationally from a U.S. Department of Transportation Railroad Safety Grant. Railroad Safety grant funding is administered through the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, of which Washington State Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler is a member. She helped secure funds for the Railroad Safety Grants Program during the passage of the 2016 omnibus appropriations bill.

The Port of Ridgefield developed the rail safety grant application, which was then submitted on the port’s behalf by the Washington Department of Transportation. The Port of Ridgefield was in competition with 56 other applicants from around the country for a piece of the $10 million available.

The grant award is for the final phase of a three-phase rail overpass project that will allow safe passage to and from the port’s waterfront property and downtown Ridgefield. The project area is a shared rail corridor with over 50 passenger and freight trains each day, including two to three Bakken-sourced crude oil trains. Herrera Beutler voiced her enthusiasm for the grant award to the port.

“The Port of Ridgefield should be applauded for spearheading this project that improves the livability, safety and opportunity for growth in this community,” Herrera Beutler said. “The current crossing is one of the most dangerous in Washington, and I’m pleased a federal grant is going to the project to increase safety and prevent its waterfront, new port development and boat launch from being interrupted by train crossing delays.”

Port of Ridgefield CEO Brent Grening said he is honored by the amount of the award as well as the work so many people put into making the award a reality.

What’s up at the Port?

Port of Ridgefield

Learn what’s up downtown at the Port of Ridgefield’s Feb. 24 regularly scheduled commission meeting. Frank Shuman, president of the Ridgefield Main Street program, will make a Partner Presentation to the commission and guests during the Innovation Report segment of the meeting. Shuman will provide an update on the activities of the Main Street Program. According to its mission statement, the non-profit, volunteer-run organization works to create a sustainable, vibrant downtown that nurtures a sense of community.

Nelson Holmberg, the port’s vice president, innovation, introduced the Partner Presentations program at the port in December. The presentations will be scheduled for the port’s second monthly commission meeting, held the fourth Wednesday of each month.

“For the port to promote innovation and to help forward the idea of others for the benefit of Ridgefield citizens, business owners and visitors, it’s important for us to have an understanding of the good work our community partners are doing,” Holmberg said.

The Feb. 24 port commission meeting begins at 3 pm, and will be held at the port offices at 111 W. Division St. in Ridgefield.

For more information about the Port of Ridgefield’s Partner Presentation program, contact Holmberg by email NHolmberg@portridgefield.org or call (360) 887-3873.


Port Meeting Thursday

Port of Ridgefield

The Port of Ridgefield’s regularly scheduled Commission meeting this week has been moved to Thursday, January 28th at 3p.m. at the Port offices, 111 West Division. During the “Innovation Report” segment of the agenda, the Port Commission will hear a Partner Presentation by Robin Krause, district engineer from Clark Regional Wastewater District. There will be other staff from the water district who will be present to help answer questions as needed. The Port encourages the public to attend.

Port’s Newsletter

Wondering what’s important to developers and investors when they consider commercial developments? Like to hear the views of several community leaders on the subject of stewardship?

Find this and more inside the Port of Ridgefield’s Fall 2015 newsletter. Read it online now by clicking the link, or find it in the October 14 edition of The Reflector.

Port of Ridgefield seeks to repurchase parcel to maximize industrial development opportunity

A shifting industrial development market that plays to the Port of Ridgefield’s business model, coupled with new funds availability, led the Port’s commission on Aug. 12 to authorize the repurchase of 10.5 acres of industrial-zoned land at S. 11th Street in Ridgefield it sold just a year ago.

The vote approved the purchase contingent on a due diligence outcome that is anticipated to be successful.  The repurchase price will be the original sales price of $1,271,952 plus $150,000 in pre-development costs incurred by the seller for a total of $1,421,952. The pre-development work includes site planning and design the Port would be on the hook for had it not already been completed.

In May last year, ROK Ridgefield Industrial LLC, whose managing member is Elie Kassab, president of Vancouver-based Prestige Development, purchased the property from the Port with plans to construct an approximately 100,000 sq. ft. building. Contract stipulations required “significant progress” toward development by September 2016 or ROK would risk a $1 million non-performance penalty.

When Kassab’s prospective tenants failed to execute lease agreements and near-term development opportunities cropped up in other market segments, Kassab expressed an interest in selling the property back to the Port.

Port of Ridgefield CEO Brent Grening noted that had the Port been in the financial position it currently enjoys, with recent financing capacity secured through Banner Bank, the Port would not have sold the property in the first place.

“We didn’t want to sell that parcel, but we needed the funds from the sale last year to develop the road to our other property at S. 11th Street,” Grening said.

While the repurchase abolishes the potential revenue from a non-performance penalty, Grening explained the Port received something of even greater value.

“With demand shifting to larger industrial building sites, we now have the opportunity to get this property back and combine it with our current project on the north side of 11th Street. This puts us in an improved strategic market position to attract a strong employer,” said Grening.

Grening also noted the value of the repurchased property has likely increased in the last year with the Port’s addition of the new road that now serves the two properties.

“Essentially our investment in road construction increased the value of our existing property and the   piece we’re buying back. So we’re getting the 10.5 acre piece at its lower value before the road was built,” said Grening.

In addition to the productive strategic and financial elements of the deal, Grening said developer realities need to be taken into consideration.

“Port Authorities and other municipal entities do not gain by turning a blind eye to the challenges developers face when market conditions change. The Port enjoys a reputation as an organization that practices integrity in all of its business dealings. Strong-arming our partners into building something that doesn’t pencil, or penalizing them when another solution is a win for us as well, works against that reputation. Our goal is to draw quality-focused development partners to Ridgefield, and we believe our approach is the correct path to achieve that goal.”

The Port expects to its due diligence process to be completed by August 21st. If the outcome is successful, the repurchase agreement will be executed by month’s end.