An economic development project designed to boost the Clatskanie economy and that has been in the works for a decade could become a reality this year.
Site development of the River's Edge RV Park just off Highway 30 at Swedetown Road is expected to be begin April 1.
In the following conversation, Clatskanie River RV, LLC, Project Manager Patti Rathbone shares insight on the project.
The Chief: City officials tell us that the addition of the RV Park would be a significant economic advantage for Clatskanie. Could you give us details of the proposed park and what we might see?
Patti Rathbone: They are absolutely correct. This project will bring tourism to town and not just through town. RV parks across the nation are of limited supply even as the RV industry is booming. For many, RV'ing has become an alternative lifestyle. RV parks also, provide needed housing for traveling workforces. The anticipated occupancy of the finished park will inject significant revenue sources into the city. We plan to complete approximately 100 RV pads within the project.
We will have paved streets and concrete pads. Each pad will have water/power/sewer hookups and Wi-Fi. Sites will have individual grassy areas. We'll be planting trees and landscaping. Planning includes community area for recreation and group gathering. Fishing from our 1,500 feet of river frontage, will be a highlight.
This stretch of river has been deemed a great spot. Our clubhouse is in the planning but will be equally impressive. It will include community area, the office, showers, laundry, etc. We expect a beautiful project, one that the community should be proud of.
The Chief: What is the specific address and how many acres are proposed for the RV park footprint?
Rathbone: The project is on Highway 30 and Swedetown Road. We are in the city limits, on the east end of town. The park parcel is approximately 12 acres.
The Chief: What would be the dollars and cents value of the RV park at Clatskanie?
Rathbone: Once the project is completed, it could retail close to $4,000,000. Clatskanie River RV, LLC, will remain the owners of the park, so this isn't a project that will be built and sold. Our number one goal is to "get it built."
The Chief: We understand you have been working hard over a period of years to make this project happen. What have been the challenges and what do you see as the rewards with this project?
Rathbone: The vision of this park, at this location, began in approximately 1998. My dad, Fred Rathbone, became involved about two years later. I joined the project in 2005. There have been a number of obstacles over the years, from planning to economic downfalls to personal tragedies. However, we have persevered in our dream to see this come to fruition. We never give up. It takes much planning, money, time and patience to get a project like this off the ground.
The stars have to line up, so to speak, in order to be successful. 2021 is our year! We have a great team and can't wait for the ribbon cutting. My dad will celebrate 93 years young in May. It will be truly an honor for me to see this through together, with him and our team.
The Chief: When do you hope to break ground for this project?
Rathbone: We will be breaking ground no later than April 1 and hope to be open for business by the 1st of October, 2021.
Clatskanie City Manager Greg Hinkelman said development of the RV park will be a plus for the city.
"The great thing is it would bring in a lot of people and tourists, which will be a big-time aide to the local economy. People filing the park will want to eat at local restaurants and shop at local businesses," Hinkelman said.
The city has taken steps to make sure such a project would fit the livability of the community, according to Hinkelman.
"We have an RV park ordinance, so we would not have to worry about a transient population,” he said. “The ordinance puts time limits on the length of stay. There are provisions that would allow extended stays for workers to come it."
Follow developments of this project here online and in the Friday print editions of The Chief.