Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ridgefield Named Washington Port of the Year

By Mark Edward Nero

The Washington Public Ports Association named the Port of Ridgefield the recipient of its annual Port of the Year Award at a December ceremony in Bellevue, Washington.

Ridgefield, in southwest Washington’s Discovery Corridor area, is a rapidly growing suburb of the Portland-Vancouver area. While the port’s nomination application included a host of development projects completed within the last year, totaling more than $9 million, WPPA cited the port’s extensive, multi-year, $90 million environmental cleanup of the Port of Ridgefield’s 41-acre waterfront site – Millers’ Landing – as the determining factor for the award. The site was cleared for development late last year.

This site on Ridgefield’s Lake River was the location of Pacific Wood Treating, which operated there for 30 years. When the company when bankrupt in 1993, it left the port with the problem of cleaning up the environmentally-significant site adjacent to a 5,500-acre national wildlife refuge, and just quarter-mile from the Columbia River.

WPPA executive director Eric Johnson said the port’s 20-year project is now winding down, with the final stages – the dredging and planting of adjacent Lake River and Carty Lake – currently in progress. Project completion is anticipated in late spring 2015.

“We have recognized the Port of Ridgefield for their extraordinary work in cleaning up and revitalizing the Ridgefield waterfront. This port took on a daunting challenge and saw it through to a successful conclusion,” Johnson said.

The WPPA has given the award each year since 1987 to recognize a member port that has demonstrated exceptional success in the industry. There are currently 75 member ports operating within Washington State.

Port of Ridgefield Executive Director Brent Grening, port commissioners Scott Hughes, Joe Melroy and Bruce Wiseman, and key staff members and advisors were on hand to accept the WPPA award.
“My fellow commissioners and I are proud and pleased to win this prestigious award,” Wiseman, the port commission chair, said. “It was working together over so many years on a project that were all passionate about that got us here.”

Grening, who has been at the port’s helm for more than sixteen years, voiced his appreciation for the recognition from his peers.

“Port staff and its commission, and many, many others, worked long and hard on this effort, with a successful project outcome. That the port industry recognized the good work we’ve done is very rewarding,” Grening said.

Grening also noted that next year marks the Port’s 75th anniversary, making the completion of the decades-long project especially timely.

“Instead of dealing with problems of the past, we now get to look forward to the work we can do as Ridgefield’s community port for the next 75 years,” he said.