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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

Grant Warehouse (1999)

3368 NE MLK metallurgical laboratoryAddress:   3368 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
Acreage: .37
Zoning: Residential


This corner warehouse was being used as a “metallurgical laboratory” for over twenty years.  On October 11, 1998, the police were called to the building following a dispute at the address.  Upon entering the building, they immediately called emergency responders  after seeing large quantities of chemicals stored in containers ranging from small vials to large industrial sized vats.  Wastes present in the building included,but were not limited to, large quantities of corrosives, oxidizers, and poisons.  Other wastes found in smaller quantities included paint related materials, flammables, and potentially explosive compounds.

EPA personnel issued a criminal search warrant in November 1998, during which time they collected samples.  The interior of the building was covered with a thick dust that contained high lead levels.  There was a network of “goat paths” that provided the only passage through the warehouse into the various rooms.  The chemicals sat haphazardly among the debris.  Some of the 55-gallon drums were stacked four drums high.

An EPA Removal Action followed, with all of the chemicals packed up and removed for disposal.  The total cost of activities related to the Removal Action was $1.2 million.

Until January 2004, this case was pursued in court until a deal was struck between the property owner, EPA, and the Portland Development Commission (PDC).  In order to acquire the property, PDC expanded the boundaries of the Oregon Convention Center Urban Renewal Area.  PDC purchased the site in January 2004 using a combination of Tax Increment Financing and a $100,000 contribution from the Bureau of Housing and Community Development.

To address environmental issues on the site, the Portland Brownfield Program secured a $125,000 environmental site assessment grant and PDC acquired a $200,000 cleanup grant from the Federal Environmental Protection Agency.  The assessment and cleanup is now complete.  Assessment funds are still being used to provide Phase II assessments on the adjacent properties.  Structures on the subject properties have been demolished and the PDC is currently planning for redevelopment.