Address: 3368 NE MLK Boulevard
Date of site approval: 1999
Zoning: high-density residential
This corner warehouse was used as a “metallurgical laboratory” for over 20 years. In October 1998, Portland Police responding to a dispute at the address called emergency responders when they found large quantities of chemical waste in the building.
Chemicals were stored in containers ranging from small vials to industrial-sized vats. Some 55-gallon drums were stacked four high. The chemical wastes included corrosives, oxidizers, poisons flammables and potentially explosive compounds.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) obtained a search warrant in November 1998, entered the building and collected samples. Thick dust covering the building's interior contained high levels of lead. Narrow paths connected various rooms in the warehouse and chemicals sat haphazardly among the debris. The EPA removed and disposed of all the chemicals at a cost of $1.2-million.
After several years of legal proceedings, the warehouse owner agreed to sell the property to the Portland Development Commission (PDC) in January 2004. In order to make the acquisition, the PDC expanded the boundaries of the Oregon Convention Center Urban Renewal Area and purchased the site using a combination of Tax Increment Financing and a $100,000 contribution from the Portland 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 EPA. The assessment and cleanup of the Grant Warehouse site is complete. The Brownfield Program is still using assessment funds for Phase II assessments on adjacent properties. The PDC demolished structures on the properties and is planning site redevelopment.