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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Torrefied Biomass– Biofuel to Replace Coal, HM3 Energy


 US Senator Ron Wyden and HM3 Energy CEO Hiroshi Morihara
On Oct 18th, 2016 HM3 Energy opened their demonstration facility in Troutdale to showcase the $4 million expansion/relocation from its former pilot plant at Mt Hood Community College campus. The technology will allow coal-powered power plants to run by replacing coal with renewable biomass that has been put through a process called torrefaction. Pound per pound the product produces the same amount of energy as coal, is greenhouse gas neutral, releases no mercury or sulfur emissions and could create more than 1200 direct family wage jobs in Oregon alone!
Organic raw material
HM3 Energy’s proprietary torrefaction and densification technologies turn woody biomass and agricultural residue into solid biofuel for use in biomass boilers or as a substitute for coal in coal-fired boilers. Our TorrB® torrefied biomass briquettes are water-resistant and can be shipped without cover and stored without cover, with significant transportation and handling savings. Their water resistance and grindability make them a clean fuel alternative to coal in coal-fired power plants. 
Torrefaction
HM3 Energy’s half-ton/hour torrefied biomass demonstration facility in Oregon was completed this summer. We have since demonstrated our process using juniper wood waste. 
CEO Hirosho Morihara with final product 
HM3 Energy’s torrefied biomass offers considerable environmental and economic benefits:
  • Pound for pound, same energy as western coal and 30% more energy than raw wood pellets
  • Greenhouse gas neutral, with no mercury or sulfur emissions and a 30% reduction in nitrous oxide emissions
  • Improvement of forest health, while dramatically reducing the growing risk of catastrophic forest fires. Our process can use low commercial value forest waste as feedstock (not clean wood chips or wood pellets), providing a market for public and private foresters who want to reduce fuel stocked stands by thinning.
  • Improvement of air quality in forest and farming areas, when forest slash or agricultural slash piles are used as feedstock for fuel rather than burned in place.
  • Creation of 1200 direct family wage jobs in Oregon alone, with thousands of additional jobs possible in other states
  • Protection of ratepayers from rate increases related to construction of new power plants
  • Waste to energy technology
Visit HM3 Energy Wesite:
http://hm3energy.com/

HM3 Energy answers frequently asked questions about Torrefied biomass briquettes:

Read the Outlook article:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pearl USPS Site Handed Over to Portland

Three of the 5 concepts for the area near Union Station and the post office 
Ground breaking planned to begin in 2 years, the mixed use development will connect to China Town and Union Station and include homes, offices and plenty of green space. As many as 2,000  housing units will be added over 10-15 years with an expected absorption rate of the same length of time.

Although it approved the deal in January 2016, the city now officially owns the property, which consists of 13.4 acres at the base of the Broadway Bridge.

As local politicians and development professionals met Tuesday morning at the United State Postal Service parking lot USPS Parking Lot at Northwest 9th Avenue and Irving St, a letter carrier in shorts and cap walked on to the stage. 
The mailman delivered a Priority Package to Tom Samra, the United States Postal Service Vice President of Facilities.
Samra extracted a large, cardboard key, which he presented to the Executive Director of the Portland Development Commission, Kimberly Branam. 
Although it approved the deal in January 2016, the city now officially owns the property, which consists of 13.4 acres at the base of the Broadway Bridge. 
The site has a retail post office but is mainly a sorting office and parking lot for mail trucks. As high-end mixed-use buildings have grown up around it, truck access has become harder. The building presents none of the street amenities that people in the area expect. Developers have long eyed the potential of what it the largest available parcel of land in the central city. 
From golf carts to mail trucks
(The U.S. Postal Service Processing & Distribution Center will relocate to a 47.5-acre site on the old Colwood golf course. The Post Office is spending the $88 million plus $69 million in federal funds to build this more suitable sorting office and vehicle maintenance facility, with better access to Portland International Airport and the Interstate highway system along which much of its parcels travel.)

Groundbreaking on the Pearl site is expected to happen in about two years. Residents could start moving in in four years.- 2,000 units, 700 of them affordable.

A market survey conducted by PDC said it would take 10 to 15 years to absorb all the new housing stock on the market. Construction will be staggered over those 10 to 15 years, said Lisa, Abuaf, the PDC’s Development and Investment Director. 
The Broadway Corridor Framework Plan was completed a year ago by ZGF Architects and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. It includes plans for this site and other buildings, such as the Pacific Northwest College of Art a block away. 
The council has had its say around the financing and what density of development will be here (it will be 2,000 units, 700 of them affordable) and where the parks would be. The new development will be mixed use, homes and offices, with plenty of green spaces. Making sure Johnson runs straight east west to Union Station was a priority.
2020 foresight

While the first units might be available in four years, for now PDC can work on a master plan. That will show how what the streets and buildings will look like.
Abuaf said there will be a meeting on December 7, 2016, to begin gathering input from the public.

She said it will take a year to do the master plan, then a year to negotiate early phase development with the development community.
The project is more complex than the development in Northwest Portland on land owned by Con-Way freight company. On the Pearl Post Office site there are many public entities involved, such as bureaus building infrastructure and affordable housing.

Getting the Federally run Post Office to move was a complex job, according to those who spoke at the event. Now public subsidy will be needed to build the properties. Through a Notice of Funding Availability, the development community will propose what amount of public investment from the city it requires to construct the housing.
U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales both talked about how they had been around for the 25 years the discussion to sell has been going on.
Read more from the story written by Joseph Gallivan:

http://pamplinmedia.com/but/239-news/333511-213146-pearl-post-office-finally-handed-over-to-city-of-portland
Karen Schaaf ACP, GRI
COMMERCIAL BROKER
RE/MAX equity group
Lackman Commercial Group
C: 503-705-6987
karenschaaf@remax.net
http://kschaaf.equitygroup.com/
Licensed in Oregon

Monday, November 28, 2016

American Institute of Architects Portland Announces Fifth Annual Portland 2030 Challenge Design Awards

Single Family Residential- Ash + Ash (Hennebery Eddy Architects)
So pleased to be working in a community that values the impact of building design on the environment! Especially exciting is the redesign of  the Edith Green – Wendell Wyatt Federal Building which included "replacing the uninsulated concrete exterior with a high performance curtain wall and installing a large roof canopy containing PV panels and rainwater collection system for toilet flushing and irrigation".  A suburb example and inspiration for thoughtful upgrades as we guide investors in the acquisition of existing buildings!

The building profession discovered that building design not only has a significant impact on climate change emissions, but also provides a unique opportunity for climate protection as we create, re-create, and replace our building infrastructure. 


Architecture 2030, in collaboration with AIA Portland and their Committee on the Environment (COTE) and the BetterBricks program of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, recently presented the annual 2030 Challenge Design Awards in recognition of design excellence towards meeting the 2030 Challenge reduction targets.
It has been seven interesting and challenging years since Ed Mazria formed Architecture 2030 and launched the provocative 2030 Challenge. The building profession discovered that building design not only has a significant impact on climate change emissions, but also provides a unique opportunity for climate protection as we create, re-create, and replace our building infrastructure. AIA Portland leads the nation, as the first and still only chapter to have integrated 2030 Challenge benchmarking into their Design Awards every year.
The following projects are winners of this year’s 2030 Challenge Design Awards:

Excellence: Single Family Residential – Ash + Ash (Hennebery Eddy Architects)
Excellence: Multi-Family Residential – Kiln Apartments (GBD Architects)
Excellence: Institutional – Central Oregon Community College Health Careers Center (YGH Architects)
Excellence: Office – Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Federal Building (SERA Architects

Ash + Ash (shown above) is a single family home on an infill site in Portland, Oregon. Certified LEED for Homes Platinum, the project incorporates a geo-exchange heat pump, under-floor radiant heating, triple glazing, LED lighting, exterior blinds to control heat gain, rainwater recovery providing potable water, and a 10 KW photovoltaic array.
Multi-Family, Kilm Apartments (GBD Architects)

Kiln Apartments (also in Portland) was designed with the aim of being the most energy efficient market-rate apartment building possible. Design strategies include a highly insulated envelope, triple glazing, wall-mounted radiant heaters served from solar thermal roof panels, and inset south facing windows with shading devices.
 Institutional – Central Oregon Community College Health Careers Center (YGH Architects)
Central Oregon Community College Health Careers Center in Bend, Oregon is a 45,000 sf building that combines classrooms with therapy clinics for the community, and generates 75% fewer CO2 emissions than the average U.S. building of the same type and size.
 Office – Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Federal Building (SERA Architect)
The Edith Green – Wendell Wyatt Federal Building is a remodel of a 1974 500,000 sf, 18-story office tower in downtown Portland. Work included replacing the uninsulated concrete exterior with a high performance curtain wall and installing a large roof canopy containing PV panels and rainwater collection system for toilet flushing and irrigation.
AIA Portland’s adoption of the 2030 Challenge design targets and its incorporation of the CO2 emissions calculations into the competition demonstrate an ongoing commitment to a low-carbon future and a step forward in understanding the full meaning of design excellence

http://architecture2030.org/aia-portland-announces-fifth-annual-portland-2030-challenge-design-awards/


http://blog.betterbricks.com/design/2014/11/fifth-annual-portland-2030-challenge-design-award-winners-announced/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+betterbricksblog+(Rethink+Design+in+Energy)


Karen Schaaf ACP, GRI
COMMERCIAL BROKER
RE/MAX equity group
Lackman Commercial Group
C: 503-705-6987
karenschaaf@remax.net
http://kschaaf.equitygroup.com/
Licensed in Oregon

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Soaring Over Oregon, Mt Hood and the Columbia River Gorge


Close proximity to Mt Hood and the Columbia River Gorge is a perk to living the Greater Portland Area!
Soaring over Oregon. A film showcasing the fall colors of the Columbia River Gorge and other Oregon locations. Shot on the Phantom 3 Pro and edited in Premier Pro. Soundtrack is "Never Give Up" by Fearless Motivation.
Thanks for watching!
Check out more of my stuff:
Instagram: @andrewcox1
andrewcoxmedia.comandrewc292@gmail.com
Karen Schaaf ACP, GRI
COMMERCIAL BROKER
RE/MAX equity group
Lackman Commercial Group
Licensed in Oregon

Friday, November 18, 2016

Can Portland’s RED HOT office market keep going in 2017?

Big Pimk, U.S. Bancorp Tower
The U.S. Bancorp Tower is a 42-story, 163.38 m skyscraper in Portland, Oregon. It is the second tallest building in the city after Wells Fargo Center, and with its nearly 69,000 m² office space, it's the largest in Oregon in terms of volume. Wikipedia

 More than 567,000 SF of new office and creative space will be added to Portland inventory next year. Where will the new tenants come from? Although a steady influx of Bay Area and Seattle firms are re-locating to Portland for our favorable economics and lifestyle, the majority are home grown.
In recent years the majority of growth has been led by existing, homegrown Portland companies. So it’s good news that Portland doesn’t need to depend on big out-of-state tenants relocating to keep the momentum going forward. We just need to take good care of our existing employers and keep Portland attractive to the entrepreneurs who will start the next big companies.

Our city is in the midst of one of the strongest development cycles of the past 30 years. 

Look at Portland’s Central City skyline today and you see cranes everywhere. From the Pearl District and central business district (CBD) to the Lloyd District and Central Eastside, our city is in the midst of one of the strongest development cycles of the past 30 years. Hotels, new apartments and even a new condo project are changing the cityscape seemingly overnight. The balance of this development boom is a very active office market that is simply on fire both in terms of new construction and the renovation of existing structures. Apex Real Estate Partners is currently tracking over 1,349,000 square feet of new office supply coming on line in 2017 and 2018.

The Central Eastside has quickly become the hottest and most sought after submarket in all of Portland.


The gritty, edgy nature of this warehouse district has attracted a wide array of creative service and technology firms. This submarket benefits from excellent access to and from the CBD and multiple transportation options including the Portland Streetcar. Most importantly, this emerging office district offers close proximity to the major housing hubs of Portland’s creative class. Simple Technology recently relocated to Killian Pacific’s Clay Creative District in large part due to the heavy concentration of employees who live in neighborhoods along Hawthorne Boulevard, Division Street or Clinton Street. Rather than drive to work, many of these employees bike, walk or take public transit. Simple’s former location in the heart of the Pearl District seems light years away from this raw industrial neighborhood with local coffee shops, breweries, micro kitchens and distilleries, all within steps of an active train line.

This is not your father’s Central Eastside.


Current office rents are among the highest in all of Portland, at over $40-per-square-foot full service, rivaling Park Avenue West and Pearl West, the two newest office buildings that opened their doors this year.
The Towne Storage project at the Burnside Bridgehead will add 100,000 square feet of creative space in May of next year. This former warehouse and artist studio space will provide exposed wood ceilings, brick facade and a rooftop penthouse overlooking downtown. Interest is very high due to the character of the building and prime Eastside location.

Meanwhile across the river in Northwest Portland, the ambitious Fields Office project just broke ground and will create an additional 300,000-square-feet of office space in a campus-like setting along Naito Parkway just North of N.W. 17th Avenue. The newest Pearl District office project at Ninth and Northrup will break ground later this month. Developed by Williams & Dame Development and Miller Global, this building will add another 167,000 square feet of high quality modern office space to Portland’s growing inventory.

So the $64,000 question begs, where will all the tenants come from to lease these projects?

The steady influx of Bay Area and Seattle firms to the Portland scene should continue given Portland’s more favorable economics and lifestyle. Yet in recent years the majority of growth has been led by existing, homegrown Portland companies. Puppet, Simple, and Elemental Technologies (recently acquired by Amazon Web Services) have all enjoyed tremendous growth over the past several years. This growth is in addition to Jive Software, New Relic and Survey Monkey who all have out-of-state headquarters but a heavy Portland presence.
So it’s good news that Portland doesn’t need to depend on big out-of-state tenants relocating to keep the momentum going forward. We just need to take good care of our existing employers and keep Portland attractive to the entrepreneurs who will start the next big companies.
The caution lies in the simple fact that real estate is a cyclical business and at some point the market will soften and tenant demand will slow.Mark Friel is a director at Portland-based commercial brokerage Apex Real Estate Partners.
The List: Top 3 Largest Metro-Area Office Buildings
Ranked by Total square feet of floor space

1.  U.S. Bancorp Tower 1,073,000
2.  Montgomery Park 850,540
3.  Wells Fargo Center 756,000


Karen Schaaf ACP, GRI
COMMERCIAL BROKER
RE/MAX equity group
Lackman Commercial Group
Licensed in Oregon

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Beaverton's Timberland Town Shopping Center sells for $41.1 Million



The shopping center at NW Cornell and NW 18th Ave Beaverton was billed at $30 million when it broke ground in 2013. Three years later it sold for $ 13.1 million more to JLL Income Property Trust. Timberland Town Center was designed and built by Tualatin- based Gramor Development, the same company behind the massive $1.5 billion Columbia River development known as the Vancouver Waterfront.

“The Timberland project was highly sought after because of its proximity to affluent neighborhoods, great schools, and its nearby surrounding employment base”

Not even six weeks after it sold its Progress Ridge TownSquare for a princely $101 million, Gramor Development has unloaded another metro region shopping center, this time for $43.1 million.
The Tualatin-based Gramor, headed up by Barry Cain, sold its Timberland Town Center in Beaverton to JLL Income Property Trust, a real estate investment trust based in Chicago, for $43.1 million. When it broke ground in 2013, the shopping center, at Northwest Cornell and Northwest 118th Avenue, was billed as a $30 million project.
“The Timberland project was highly sought after because of its proximity to affluent neighborhoods, great schools, and its nearby surrounding employment base,” Cain said, in a release. “We designed and built a high quality, retail town center integrating well within the surrounding community.”

 The 92,000-square-foot shopping center was fully leased at the time of the sale,

 according to a release from JLL Income Property Trust.
“The acquisition of Timberland Town Center reinforces JLL Income Property Trust’s strategy to invest in high-quality, grocery-anchored retail centers located in desirable demographic areas,” said Allan Swaringen, president and CEO of JLL Income Property Trust. “This is our 11 th grocery-anchored retail acquisition . . . bringing our aggregate retail portfolio investment to more than $630 million.”
Capital Pacific LLC of Lake Oswego brokered the acquisition.
Gramor is also the developer behind the massive $1.5 billion development underway on the Columbia River in Vancouver known as the Vancouver Waterfront. After the sale of Progress Ridge, Cain said some of the proceeds from that are helping to bring the waterfront develpment to life.
http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/real-estate-daily/2016/10/gramor-sells-timberland-for-43m-its-second-huge.html

Karen Schaaf ACP, GRI
COMMERCIAL BROKER
RE/MAX equity group
Lackman Commercial Group
Licensed in Oregon

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Arms Race for Office Amenities




Wow! Roof top BBQ pits, bowling lanes, wine bars, and other common area ammenities are springing up in office buildings as landlords compete for tenants.Who pays for all of this? The tenant does. Although landlords are paying up front to add these amenities, it's the tenant who ultimately pays the bill through higher rent, additional access fees and/or tenant's operating expenses.

Most office building owners have caught on to the creative office trend, a savvy building owner is now looking to what is the next trend to differentiate themselves from their competition and best attract and retain tenants


During the Cold War, the U.S. and Russia were constantly attempting to out arm each other, thus coining the phrase “Arms Race.” Thankfully, the massive buildup of weapons has slowed, but a new arms race has emerged in the office building industry: the Arms Race for Amenities.

Now that most office building owners have caught on to the creative office trend, a savvy building owner is now looking to what is the next trend to differentiate themselves from their competition and best attract and retain tenants. That trend is designing and building bigger and better common-area amenities in their buildings.


Outdoor areas, fitness rooms, BBQ pits, and dog runs are the norm, and the craze is catching on in office buildings now too. 

 Apartment developers have been doing this for decades. Outdoor areas, fitness rooms, BBQ pits, and dog runs are the norm, and the craze is catching on in office buildings now too. Why? Because the tenants driving demand are asking the landlord to provide the services and spaces that their employees want at their fingertips. If an employee doesn’t have to leave to get their dry cleaning, buy lunch or work out, the employer gets more productivity out of their employees.

 But like any good arms race, it must get bigger and better.

Small balconies have transformed into bigger decks with fireplaces, grills and shuffleboard. Everyone is trying to figure out how to build a roof deck. Fitness rooms, once relegated to the depths of the basement, are getting bigger, and often have nice window lines, extensive lockers and showers and even towel service. Bike parking is a must, but now, the number of bike parking slots is rivaling the number of car parking spaces. While you’re at it, include a bike repair station as well.
Our furry friends haven’t been left out either. In addition to simply allowing dogs in the building, some owners have gone so far as to designate an indoor covered area for Fido to relieve himself without her or his owner having to stand in the rain.

 Food is everywhere. 

Office lobbies, once renowned for looking and feeling like a library, are filling with coffee shops, food halls, and even food carts. In the suburbs, food truck schedules are set.
Alcohol in an office building is making a comeback as well. In the post-Mad Men era of the 90’s, prohibition returned, in the form of rules against having it in the office. Today, employee break areas are resembling the neighborhood bar, complete with kegs, wine coolers and liquor cabinets.
Want to practice your putting? We’ve got that too, along with bocce, basketball, and even bowling. What better way to use a long narrow basement space than dropping two bowling lanes in?

 Who pays for all of this? 

Well, you do of course. Landlords are paying up front to add these amenities, with the idea that tenants will pay more rent for access to them. In some cases, they are charging fees for access. In other instances, rent for the otherwise underutilized space is included in a tenant’s operating expenses.
Where will it end? Only time will tell, but you might want to start figuring out where the dedicated drop zone for autonomous cars will be at your building.

Karen Schaaf ACP, GRI
COMMERCIAL BROKER
RE/MAX equity group
Lackman Commercial Group
Licensed in Oregon

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Lenders Shy Away From Commercial Real Estate Development

IMAGE PROVIDED BY GETTY IMAGES (SHIRONOSOV)

A lender's decision to approve an loan for an investment property is based heavily on two things:
1.) The ability for the property to provide cash flow
2.) The investors experience and ability to manage the business
A constuction loan exposes the lender to more risk since the project has no proven cash flow. Thus two loans are normally required to finance a real estate development project (although these two loans may be combined into one):
Short term financing. This stage of financing funds the construction and lease up phase of the project.
Long term permanent financing. After a project achieves “stabilization” and leases up to the market level of occupancy, the construction loan is replaced by longer term financing.

Construction and redevelopment projects can be seen as risky because they are not generating incomes


Small banks reportedly are becoming reluctant to back commercial real estate as federal regulators scrutinize relaxed lending standards.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have issued several warnings to commercial real estate lenders in an effort to get banks to strengthen loan terms, according to a report in The New York Times. The agencies have cautioned banks against using more than 300 percent of a minimum capital standard for commercial real estate loans.

For small banks, commercial property loans are among some of their largest loans, so that guideline stands as a challenge. As smaller lenders move to sell off loans — and are reluctant to issue new ones — private equity funds and other institutional lenders are filling the void and moving in on the lucrative deals.

Private funds are seeking a record $32 billion for commercial-property debt. 

According to Bloomberg, private funds are seeking a record $32 billion for commercial-property debt. Buyout firms, real estate investment trusts and hedge funds can make large loans seen as too risky for banks. These companies can then turn around and charge higher interest rates than what might be found from certain banks.

Foreign banks are moving in on the opportunities, as well. American offices of foreign banks have $51.8 billion in commercial mortgage holdings, up 56 percent from just a year ago, according to the Federal Reserve. The Shops at Hudson Yards project in New York, for example, was financed entirely by foreign banks, according to the Times, citing Michael Gigliotti, senior managing director and a broker at the real estate financing firm HFF. Backers of that $1.5 billion construction loan include Deutsche Bank, Bank of China, Crédit Agricole, Commercial Bank of China and Bank of Nova Scotia.

Aaron Appel of Jones Lang LaSalle told the Times that there is now less competition for $5 million to $10 million commercial property deals, adding that it is particularly challenging to get loans involving construction or redevelopment projects. Those projects are considered risky because they are not generating income.
Read entire article:

http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/news-wire/2016/10/04/lenders-shy-away-from-commercial-real-estate.html

I know some GREAT lenders who may be able to help with your project! Contact me for details:

Karen Schaaf ACP, GRI
COMMERCIAL BROKER
RE/MAX equity group
Lackman Commercial Group
Licensed in Oregon

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Compass Viewpoint on the new Washougal Waterfront Park trail

The Compass Viewpoint on the new Washougal Waterfront Park trail. All photos by Mitch Hammontree

Why do we care about a dedication of a new park at the Port of Camas-Washougal? Why do we care about trails? Because large waterfront developments aren't the only measure of economic success. And, to quote Kevin Gorman, ED Friends of the Columbia Gorge, '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".

Strange Bedfellows Make Trail Dreams Come True

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.

Renee Tkach, our Gorge Towns to Trails Manager, helped the port land a $700,000 state grant to build the park. 


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.

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.

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)
https://gorgefriends.org/news-events/news/2016-10-26/strange-bedfellows-make-trail-dreams-come-true.html 

Have interest in an Gorge investment? The team shops both sides of the river!
Karen Schaaf ACP, GRI
COMMERCIAL BROKER
RE/MAX equity group
Lackman Commercial Group
Licensed in Oregon