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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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Dharma Rain (2012)

this former landfill sat vacant for 30 yearsAddress: 85th Avenue & NE Siskiyou Street
Date of site approval: 2012
Acreage: 13.75
Zoning: commercial, industrial

From 1972 to 1982, Rose City Sand & Gravel operated this former gravel quarry as a landfill primarily for construction debris.  After the site was closed and capped, a gas venting system was installed to extract methane from the breakdown of the landfill material.  A golf driving range operated here for a short time but overall the site has been a mostly vacant fenced lot for the past 30 years.  It is now being redeveloped by the Dharma Rain Zen Center, a nonprofit Buddhist institution that recently purchased the property for their new campus. 

When the opportunity presented itself to purchase this property, Dharma Rain had some initial reservations about expanding onto a landfill.  They began working with the property owner and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on a Prospective Purchaser Agreement (PPA).  With grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Portland Brownfield Program was able to fund the PPA process as well as the environmental site assessments needed to understand the full extent of mitigation needs, and to assure those working, worshiping, and living on the site would be safe from environmental concerns.

In 2014 the Brownfield Program awarded Dharma Rain a $200,000 grant from its EPA Revolving Loan Fund to assist with cleanup.  To date, the grant has funded the import of clean soil to act as a cap and to stabilize the ground for new structures.  Ecological restoration began in 2014.

The Dharma Rain Zen Center is currently building a facility for regular meditation, classes, and services; living spaces for staff and temporary residents; and offices, meeting and work spaces.  Buildings will be small and much of the land will be preserved as open green space with public access for the surrounding neighborhoods.  The site development will add impermeable surfaces to the landfill cap, helping to improve the current containment and decrease infiltration.  A lined system of bioswales and dry-wells on the edges will help manage the stormwater.

The meditation hall and surrounding area is almost complete