A service station operated on this .32 acre site on the corner of 57th and Division, across from Atkinson Elementary school, from about 1928 until 1987. After that, a business called the Drive Thru Wake Up coffee shop operated there.
In 2005, the U.S. Marshal's Service seized the property because of illegal drug trafficking on the site. The Marshal's Service transferred the property title to the Southeast Neighborhood Uplift Neighborhood Coalition (SEUL) in 2006.
In April 2005, neighborhood leaders worked with a team of graduate students at Portland State University's Master of Urban and Regional Planning program to organize and facilitate a design charette and develop a site analysis and resource directory. During the charette, the community worked directly with architects and landscape architects to articulate their priorities in a design concept. Their final document can be found here.
The Brownfield Program conducted a Phase II environmental site assessment on the property and found contaminants in the soil related to petroleum. Environmental consultants working with the Portland Brownfield Program prepared an Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA) to outline potential approaches for cleaning up the property in preparation for redevelopment.
Neighborhood leaders worked with the Portland Brownfield Program and the State of Oregon Economic and Community Development Department to secure grant resources for environmental cleanup. Underground storage tanks and contaminated soil were removed in the summer of 2008.
The site is now clean and the thriving Cafe au Play is open for business.