A fellow citizen recently expressed to me his concerns about growth in our community. At issue was a reporter comment made several years ago in a local newspaper: “Grening and other business boosters believe the lush green spaces and farmland of north Clark County will someday make way for buildings full of paycheck-producing jobs and parking lots for workers.”

At some level, we all understand growth has its pros and cons. I provided a response to the gentlemen who inquired and am sharing some of those words with PortWorks readers, as well.

First, please know that neither the Port nor City pursue growth for growth’s sake. North Clark County has been in the path of development and growth since I-5 was built – it’s just taken time to get here. As the Portland/Vancouver metro area has grown, residential development has pushed north into Ridgefield.

Washington State law doesn’t allow the Port or City to stop growth – the best we can do is try to manage it. Also, the Port’s mission is to promote the economy of the area and create local jobs, because businesses pay taxes that provide funds for police, fire, schools, etc.

The reporter of the article characterized me as a “business booster” – fair enough because I believe good jobs in the community are important. But rest assured parking lots are not to be celebrated; they are a call to action.

The Port and City have long-known that unmanaged growth could result in strip-malls and uncentered development. Citizens told us it was unacceptable, so we’ve been working to control it for over 20 years. The Port and City work hard to manage growth. We’re committed to keeping our community livable, enjoyable, and affordable. While we’d all like to retain the charm of old Ridgefield, striking a balance between old and new, private property rights and community desire is challenging. We do, however, hear your concerns and value your input.

To be part of the conversation, send us an email, drop us a note, or visit us at a public meeting – online or in person when we clear Covid. We want to know what you think.