203 Howerton Way, SE
Ilwaco, WA 98624
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
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!”