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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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Projects completed with our 2011 EPA grant

In 2011 the Portland Brownfield Program received grant funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to perform environmental site assessments on properties with possible contamination.  Funded projects demonstrated financial need and community benefit.  Here’s a quick look at all 22 of the projects we were able to support with our 2011-2014 EPA Assessment Grant.   

#1  The Former Ellis Dry Cleaner – N Williams Avenue

the former Ellis Dry Cleaner building demolished in 2011    the soil vapor extraction (SVE) system    

This former dry cleaner with known PCE contamination has found new owners who are tackling the historic contamination in partnership with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  Grant funds assisted with a Prospective Purchaser Agreement that enabled the sale and start of cleanup.

#2  The Knauls Property – NE MLK Jr. Boulelvard

The Brownfield Program provided financial assistance for a Phase II environmental site assessment on a vacant lot along MLK Jr. Boulevard. The Phase II revealed that small amounts of contamination were well below levels that would prevent commercial development. The property owner, a well-known community leader and small business owner, will now be able to lease the space.  

#3  Dharma Rain Zen Center – NE 82nd Avenue

once a fenced-off former landfill    construction begins on the meditation center
Staff from the Dharma Rain Zen Center contacted the Brownfield Program for technical and financial assistance before purchasing this former landfill.  Grants provided funding for assessment and for a Prospective Purchaser Agreement with DEQ to plan for appropriate site maintenance.  With additional funding from our Revolving Loan Fund, the Brownfield Program is continuing assistance with site cleanup.  Construction is now underway on a new campus for the Dharma Rain Buddhist community. 

#4  Campbell Dry Cleaner – N Russell Street

The owner of this property has been working with DEQ to address PCE contamination found on site due to its past use as a dry cleaner. The Brownfield Program helped fund the additional assessments needed for cleanup planning, as well as the DEQ oversight fees for the Voluntary Cleanup Program. Cleanup planning is currently in progress.

#5  Oliver Garden – East Portland

#6  CLC Garden – East Portland

the Oliver-Parklane garden in bloom    the Centennial Park Community Garden

Portland Parks & Recreation recently completed two new community gardens on school grounds in the Centennial neighborhood in East Portland: the Oliver-Parklane and Centennial Park gardens. The Brownfield Program funded assessment for both sites, which found that the soil was safe for gardening.

#7  Adaptive Development – N Vancouver Avenue

Some initial soil tests on this property revealed high levels of petroleum contaminants in the soil. Needing additional testing, the property owner contacted the Brownfield Program for assistance. We were able to help fund a full Phase II assessment to determine a plan for appropriate cleanup.  Future plans for this site include mixed-use development.

#8  Whitaker Farm-to-School – NE Killingsworth Street

checking for underground storage tanks    checking for underground tanks

The Brownfield Program provided environmental site assessment to determine if this land would be suitable for small scale agriculture. Though the site was found to be safe for growing, the plan to utilize the land for a farm-to-school program did not move forward. Future development plans include recreational space with soccer fields.

#9  East Portland Gas Works – SE MLK Jr. Boulelvard

Until DEQ contacted this property owner expressing concerns about potential contamination from past uses, he was unaware that the property had been part of a gas works facility.  The Brownfield Program provided assistance for site assessment and Voluntary Cleanup Program oversight. No contamination was found and the property received a No Further Action letter.

#10  Prescott Gallery – NE Prescott Street

interior of the former auto body shop    building after improvements

Prospective purchasers contacted the Brownfield Program for technical and financial assistance on this former auto repair shop. No contamination was found and now the space has been reimagined as an artisan leather workshop.

#11  PCRI – N. Russell Street

PCRI, nonprofit owner of this affordable housing apartment building, needed help addressing an old underground heating oil tank on the property. The Brownfield Program funded soil tests that found no evidence of leaking petroleum.  PCRI decommissioned the tank in place, vacuuming out its contents and filling it with cement.

#12  Nath Property – NE Killingsworth Street

the site prior to redevelopment    the site prior to redevelopment   

A prospective purchaser contacted the Brownfield Program for assistance on this commercial site with unknown history. Assessment revealed past uses including a dry cleaner, and soil tests revealed small levels of PCE contamination in the soil vapor. Although the contaminant levels were below health concerns, the prospective purchaser walked away.  A new buyer has now been identified for the property.

#13  Alberta Dental/Neil Kelly – N Alberta Street

Once a fueling station but now a storage facility, the Brownfield Program helped fund assessment to facilitate the sale of this property.  Regrettably, the sale fell through and this property is still on the market awaiting redevelopment.

#14  Villa de Clara Vista/Hacienda CDC – NE Killingsworth Street

Hacienda's former housing offices    illustration of Hacienda's new Headquarters

This former gas station and current home of Hacienda Community Development Corporation offices will soon become Hacienda CDC’s headquarters. The Brownfield Program funded environmental investigation as part of the redevelopment process. The assessment revealed an underground heating oil tank and small amounts of petroleum contamination from previous uses. The tank was decommissioned and further cleanup is not necessary.

#15  Phoenix Property – SE Foster Road

historic photo of the Phoenix Pharmacy   the current condition of the site    

The owners of this historic pharmacy requested funding for a Phase I assessment to prepare for future renovations or a prospective purchaser. The Phase I did not reveal any past use that may have caused contamination. The owners now plan to restore the building or find a willing buyer who has a community-oriented vision.

#16  St. Johns – N Lombard Street

site prior to redevelopment    illustration of future mixed-use project

The Brownfield Program provided an updated Phase I assessment for the purchaser of this downtown St. Johns site.  The redevelopment, now underway, will bring new businesses and office space to the area.  Please see our St. Johns web page for a full description of the project.

#17  Riggins Property – NE Alberta Street

This small business owner wants to renovate his building and expand his construction business. Environmental assessments were required prior to receiving financing for redevelopment.  Assessments found an underground fuel storage tank from previous use as a gas station and auto repair shop. Fortunately, petroleum contamination was not found in the soil. The owner is working on decommissioning the tank.

#18  Black United Fund – NE Alberta Street

Black United Fund of Oregon is interested in redeveloping their current building on Alberta and plans to renovate their large underused warehouse into a community gathering space. The Brownfield Program funded the environmental assessments needed to prepare for redevelopment.  Assessments revealed some contamination from past use, and the owners will need to perform additional testing before moving forward with building renovations.

#19  Washington Property – NE MLK Jr Boulevard

this site was a former gas station    home of the Portland Observer

The owner of the Portland Observer newspaper is interested in expanding the business and envisions adding onto the current building to provide space for other local businesses. She contacted the Brownfield Program to assist with assessments prior to redevelopment. The Phase I revealed that this site was a former gas station.  A Phase II assessment is needed and scheduled for 2015.

#20  Brazil Motors – NW St. Helens Road

the Brazil Motors site

The owners of the Brazil Motors property were struggling to address known PCB contamination impacting their site. The Brownfield Program funded  additional assessment needed to determine cleanup actions. The property owners are currently working with DEQ to develop and carry out a cleanup plan.

#21  Emma’s Garden – NE Killingsworth Court

The Brownfield Program provided assessments to ensure that the soil was healthy and safe for this nonprofit’s garden in the Cully neighborhood.  Although the property had a history of being a motorcycle track, no contamination was found. The site is now an active market garden for nearby residents who benefit from selling their produce at a farmers' market. 

#22  Oregon Food Bank – NE 33rd Avenue

an industrial lot and former horse barn location    existing OFB gardens on an adjacent site

The Oregon Food Bank contacted the Brownfield Program wanting to know if a large industrial lot was suitable for growing food. Although the Phase I report listed lead from a former horse barn as a contaminant of concern, the Phase II revealed clean soil. The Oregon Food Bank is currently preparing the site as part of their Learning Gardens program to provide fresh food to those in need.

Visit an interactive Google map of our project sites here.

For a printable PDF map of all Portland Brownfield projects over the program's history, please go here.