History of the Port of Ridgefield
The State of Washington Port District Act, allowing the people to form a port district and elect commissioners to govern it was enacted in 1911, but it wasn’t until 1940 that residents of Ridgefield took advantage of the act and formed the Port of Ridgefield. The Port was envisioned to provide economic development to the City of Ridgefield and surrounding community. The first commissioners to the Port of Ridgefield were H.C. Cornell, E.F. McCune and J.R. Hicks who served until 1952. (Click here for a list of past Commissioners)
In 1980, a vote to enlarge the Port district was passed placing 57 square miles or 36,480 acres of land under the influence of the Port to carry out its stated mission.
The newly expanded Port district was split by Interstate Highway 5 and the area around I-5 would soon become the focus of future industrial development and be dubbed The Discovery Corridor. In 1984, the Port purchased and developed a 78-acre parcel of land near the I-5/Ridgefield junction creating Ridgefield Industrial Park. Today, the park is home to 11 businesses and growing, supplying some 800 jobs for the citizens of the district.
In 1990, the Port hired its first full-time manager, Mark Urdahl.
In 1993, the Pacific Wood Treating (PWT) company, which had occupied the Lake River Industrial site since 1963 and supplied several hundred jobs, filed for bankruptcy. In their wake, PWT left behind a severely contaminated site, with copper chromium arsenic, creosote and pentachlorophenol most contained in a 4-acre underground plume which threatened the neighboring wildlife refuge. Clean up of the site began in 1995 and continues today. (Lake River Industrial Site)
During this same period and under the leadership of Mr. Urdahl, the Port developed the Tri-Mountain Golf Course, which was subsequently sold to Clark County in 1997. In 2008 Tri Mountain Golf Course was given 4 Stars and listed Golf Digest Best Places To Play. (Tri Mt. Golf)
In 1998 Brent Grening is named to the position of Executive Director. With Mr. Grening at the helm, the Port purchased 75 acres of land northeast of the I-5/Ridgefield junction in 2004. Plans were to develop the property as the cornerstone of its Discovery Corridor, envisioned as a home for innovative and entrepreneurial business clusters in North Clark County Washington. By 2007 the Port had completed the long and often complicated process of entitlement and permitting of the land now known as Discovery Point, opening the door for a surprising turn-of-events. That same year Southwest Washington Health Systems purchased Discovery Point as a part of a long-term growth plan and the future site of a planned ‘medical super center’. Click here to learn more about the Discovery Point Medical Center.
Today, continuing under the leadership Mr. Grening, the Port has 7 administrative staff members and is housed at the Lake River Industrial site. Cleanup work continues on the Lake River site with plans for a mixed use development called Millers’ Landing in process. Click here to learn more about Millers’ Landing and other current Port projects.