First for WA: In-N-Out Burger coming to Ridgefield

Transportation projects in works for traffic demand


Animal-style cheeseburgers and the Southern California cultural phenomenon of In-N-Out Burger is coming to Ridgefield, the fast food chain’s first location in the state.

The City of Ridgefield initially confirmed in a Facebook post and an additional comment on Thursday, Feb. 29, prior to a wave of hype,  that it received an application from In-N-Out Burger for a fast food restaurant location in the Union Ridge Town Center development.

“We recently filed a development application with the city of Ridgefield for a site. However, it is still very early in the development process, so we are hopeful for a positive outcome, as we work with the City in pursuit of our permits and approvals,” said Mike Abbate, vice president of store development for In-N-Out Burger, in a response to the announcement by the City. “... We look forward to the possibility of being a part of the Ridgefield community and having this great location to serve our customers.”

The announcement came during the early stages of the Union Ridge Town Center development, and much still has to be done, including at the new business.

“Once we do begin construction on a new location, it usually takes us 8 to 9 months to build the restaurant and open for business,” Abbate stated.

The application by In-N-Out Burger was submitted to the City of Ridgefield on Feb. 16.

The Ridgefield restaurant won’t follow the Southern California store’s prototypical design, however. The design is fitting the desires of Ridgefield’s City Codes with multiple changes being made by In-N-Out Burger. The stucco siding is proposed to be in a sandcastle earth tone in contrast to the bright and prototypical bone China white color. There will be no LED light bands as that goes against Ridgefield code. The roofing material will be a darker clay than normal, and there will also be exposed wood beams under the roofing material.

“... We have strayed quite far from our prototypical design. This was not an easy feat as our introduction to new customers in new markets is generally considered to be the most important, and therefore should be prototypical,” Cassie Ruiz, senior development manager with In-N-Out Burger, stated in her email to the City.

The restaurant is proposed to be 4,354 square feet, according to the project narrative document. In-N-Out Burger is planning on 76 parking spaces on its property — in comparison, the large parking lot for the Woodland McDonald’s has around 40 parking spaces. To meet the special demand that In-N-Out Burger’s drive-thru will bring, it has proposed a capacity of 46-plus cars. All access points for In-N-Out Burger will occur within the Union Ridge Town Center, the document added.

With the hype, regional and statewide attention, Ron Onslow, mayor of Ridgefield, is equally excited for In-N-Out Burger but said this is not the first and only burger joint the city had in mind.

“We tried for a long time to get Burgerville there also, but they weren’t expanding at that time,” Onslow said.

As of now, McDonald’s and Panda Express will be joining Costco and In-N-Out Burger in the development area at Pioneer Street and Interstate 5. A nearby YMCA is also in the works.

“The growth that we’ve seen — while dramatic in its scale and its speed — has been planned for years,” Ridgefield City Manager Steve Stuart said. “The growth is an implementation of the comprehensive plan that was adopted in 2016, and the visions of the community that existed even prior to that when they first built the Interstate 5 interchange to an urban standard in the early 2000s — they were already setting themselves on a path to become a full service city.”

As the growth is seen now, not only will Costco and the YMCA serve a large population on the northern end of the Portland Metro area, an addition of In-N-Out Burger will serve as a tourist destination with a large reach in the Pacific Northwest.

“We certainly see the regional benefits associated with these, but those regional benefits also benefit our residents locally because all those people who are coming to shop and eat and spend time in Ridgefield are helping our businesses flourish,” Stuart said of the larger market impacts. “They’re also helping provide the revenue for the services that our residents need.”

A number of traffic improvements will be made between Interstate 5 and Royle Road this year to accommodate the anticipated needs the development will have.

“Our permitting and engineering team has worked closely with In-N-Out to ensure they are not only creating enough queuing spaces to avoid backups onto roads but also that the design of the building will be unique, high quality and complementary to Ridgefield,” the City of Ridgefield added in a comment under its original Feb. 29 Facebook post.

Residents took to social media over the weekend to comment their concerns regarding traffic, but the city has been planning for it. Some community members expressed their feelings in support of farm fields, saying they’d rather see those than commercial development.

“The fields in that city that people see, they are expected to fill in,” Stuart said for the growth concerns. “They are required by the state to fill in, and there is no decision at a local level of whether we grow, it’s how. … I think our city has, is, will, have a unique small town charm that we will all jealously protect and in a variety of ways, obviously.”

To keep the traffic concerns at bay, the City of Ridgefield and developers will be working on road infrastructure that will be completed prior to any businesses opening in the development.

Several of the projects will be completed by private developers building in the area, directly paying for the increased infrastructure needs their projects will create.

The developer-built traffic projects will include the construction of North 56th Avenue; North 53rd Avenue; an eastern leg of Pioneer Canyon Drive; a new roundabout at North 56th Avenue and Pioneer Canyon Drive; adding lane capacity to the Interstate 5 off ramps; and constructing a turn lane and other improvements on the westbound lanes of Pioneer Street between Interstate 5 and North 56th Avenue, the City stated.

The city projects will include widening Pioneer Street to a four-lane section from Royle Road to the South 56th Place roundabout; construction of a new roundabout at North 50th Avenue; construction of North 50th Avenue; and a short western leg of North Pioneer Canyon Drive at North 50th Avenue, stated the City.

For more information about the projects, visit Ridgefield Roundtable: