Lower Columbia River Field Guide to Water Quality Friendly Development
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ShoreBank Pacific



203 Howerton Way, SE
Ilwaco, WA 98624


Sonya Lynn


ShoreBank Pacific just might be the only bank with a staff scientist. She’s needed because ShoreBank Pacific is a community development bank with an environmental focus and a belief that long term prosperity goes hand in hand with a healthy environment. Through their lending programs they try to bring together conservation and economic development.

It’s a commitment that extends to their new headquarters building at the Port of Ilwaco in Ilwaco, Washington. The building contains environmentally sensitive features from top to bottom. Sonya Lynn, Portfolio Manager for ShoreBank Pacific says the building is “quite an asset. It’s a unique structure for the port in terms of the way it’s been developed and the vegetation surrounding it. We’ve had a lot of people come tour the building and express an interest in mimicking some of its features.” In addition to the stormwater components, the building includes operable windows to allow natural air conditioning in the summer, awnings designed to maximize light and warmth in the winter and decrease glare in the summer, and wood salvaged from an old industrial site for the siding and trim.

Prior to ShoreBank’s involvement, the site was a brownfield with contaminated soils in need of remediation. Now it’s attractive and developed, but remediation continues. Additional bioremediation of the soil continues as native planting and vegetated swales take up pollutants from the soil.

Three sizable swales, one facing the street, and two facing the port’s harbor capture and process almost all stormwater runoff from the main building’s roof and the roof of a smaller building. Each swale is planted with native vegetation, such as Salal, Kinnikinnick, Wild strawberry, and native trees to increase their hardiness and adaptability to the site. Lynn says the plantings required no irrigation – even when first planted.


Visitors parking at the ShoreBank Pacific Building will also notice a different parking surface. Permeable pavers are used instead of traditional asphalt. Eventually, small voids between the pavers will sprout grass. However, nearby construction and a harsh weather during soon after the grass was seeded had hampered growth rates.

For Lynn, one of the best things about the approach of integrating stormwater and vegetation in swales has been the lack of maintenance. She says “most of the maintenance we do is picking up wind borne trash. It takes very little effort to maintain and still looks wonderful.”

Another nice feature are small interpretive signs posted around the building that explain environmentally friendly features. Lynn thinks the signs contribute enormously to the building’s success. “If people don’t know what these features are or how they work, we’ve lost half the battle. People get a lot more excited about incorporating some of these features once they know what they are!”