Rainier retail project to be postponed a year | Local

Permitting is holding up a large new retail center proposed in Rainier, but the developer says he’s confident work will start next spring.

Portland developer Patrick Lockhart of Lockhart Realty promised that there are plenty of stores already committed to locating in the development.

“Most don’t want to announce it yet, but we have about 30 percent of the shopping center leased up,” he said. “We have two phases, and we have about 50 percent of phase one leased out.”

Lockhart said the project, named Columbia Crossing, will be a nine-building, multi-unit center. He projects that businesses should start moving in by November 2018, about a year later than Lockhhart Realty first projected.

The proposed retail center will to be built next to Highway 30 directly southeast of the Lewis and Clark Bridge.

Lockhart said a series of issues have slowed progress, especially the continuing wetland and other environmental reviews by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is still taking place.

Corps Portland District spokesman Jeff Henon said the agency is working with the Oregon Department of State Lands and Department of Environmental Quality to ensure Columbia Crossing won’t cause environmental damage.

“(The corps’) mission is to allow for development while protecting our waters,” he said. “It’s important that we be as fair and balanced as possible.”

Lockhart said although they’ll move a little dirt around this September, winter weather and the slow permitting process will make the construction of actual infrastructure have to wait until April or May.

There are some fears in the community that the retail project will add to congestion at the Longview end of the Lewis and Clark Bridge, especially if the Millennium coal export terminal is built west of Longview. Sixteen trains a day are projected to cross Oregon and Industrial Ways daily to serve the terminal. County officials are working on a project to raise the roadway above the railroad tracks, but the project still is in the engineering and planning stage.

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