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Portland area gets brownfield cleanup help

News Release
April 23, 2008

Contacts:

Linc Mann, Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, 503-823-5328
Ken Ray, Metro, 503-797-1508
Brian White, Department of Environmental Quality, 503-229-6044


The City of Portland and Metro are getting help from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess contamination at dozens of former industrial and commercial properties in the Portland area. These properties, known as brownfields, are typically sites of former gas stations, dry cleaners or other businesses that may have left behind contamination that hampers the property's redevelopment.

Several local governments in Oregon and Washington are receiving nearly $1 million in EPA Brownfields Assessment funding. Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services will receive two $200,000 EPA grants to assess contamination levels at 17 sites in the city, and a $180,000 grant to clean up the Rollin' Tire site near Johnson Creek at 10738 SE Foster Road.

"These grants will help us promote economic redevelopment and community revitalization in neighborhoods that need it the most," said City Commissioner Sam Adams, who is in charge of Environmental Services. "A site assessment is the critical first step in recovering neighborhood lands, and protecting public health," Adams said.

The city will hold a pre-grant award public notification meeting on Tuesday, May 20, in the office of the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs at 4134 North Vancouver Avenue in Portland.

For more than a decade, Portland has provided technical and financial support to help property owners, developers, and community members recover neighborhood lands. Portland was a recipient of one of the first EPA brownfield grants in 1998.

Metro will receive its second $200,000 grant to conduct community outreach and identify and assess brownfield sites outside of Portland with petroleum-based contamination. Metro received an initial $200,000 grant from EPA in 2006.

"Redevelopment of brownfield sites helps us utilize land more efficiently as we accommodate more growth in this region," said Metro Council President David Bragdon. "EPA's assessment grants enable Metro to help local communities leverage the private-sector investments to make that redevelopment happen."

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Brownfields Program will work closely with Environmental Services and Metro on the brownfield projects to ensure they meet state standards to protect human health and the environment. DEQ collaborates with communities throughout the state to address cleanup work on problematic brownfield sites.

"We're excited to see additional EPA funding for brownfield projects in Oregon and especially in the Portland area," said Gil Wistar, DEQ brownfields program coordinator.

"These new grants signal EPA's vote of confidence in the excellent brownfield work that the City of Portland has completed over the years and that Metro has begun to implement throughout the tri-county area."

More information about these three brownfield programs can be found at:

EPA awarded $74 million in brownfields grants to 209 applicants nationwide on April 7. More information on EPA's brownfields cleanup and redevelopment program can be found online at www.epa.gov/brownfields.

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides City of Portland residents with Clean River programs including, water quality protection, wastewater collection and treatment, and sewer installation.

Metro, the regional government that serves 1.4 million people who live in the 25 cities and three counties of the Portland metropolitan area, provides planning and other services that protect the nature and livability of our region. More information about Metro can be found online at www.oregonmetro.gov.

Oregon DEQ is a state regulatory agency whose mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of Oregon's air, land and water.

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Brownfields recycling program

Metro is working to promote efficient use of land through redevelopment of contaminated properties that provides economic benefits to communities.

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