October 2017 Brownfield Program Newsletter
New Project: Northwest Health Foundation
Northwest Health Foundation is a non-profit that has agreed to purchase the Albina Youth Opportunity School (AYOS) site at 3710 N Mississippi Ave. They have written a letter of understanding to hold the property for up to two years while Airway Science for Kids (ASK) raises funds to purchase the building, in partnership with the NE STEAM Coalition. The facility will be used to hold the administrative, training, and development offices of the NE STEAM Coalition. ASK has no N/NE facilities to build full scale model airplanes and this facility will fill those needs and allow them to serve local youth. Other coalition members will use the space for professional development trainings, workshops, and common curriculum development. The NE STEAM Coalition was formed to connect children of color, with an emphasis on African American children, to educational/career opportunities.
The site has been used as a school and as a space for food carts. Prior to the school it was a gas station in the 1920's and 30's. An Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was done in 2004 and a Phase II had been recommended at that time. The Portland Brownfield Program was contacted for help in updating the Phase I ESA. In July, Assessment Associates, Inc. performed a Phase I and identified environmental concerns surrounding the historical use of the gas station and auto/truck repair business on the southwestern portion of the property. While a geophysical survey did not reveal any underground storage tanks, it was recommended to sample soil in the former tank pit as well as around the old fill ports.
Cascadia Associates performed a Phase II ESA in September and multiple soil samples were taken. Samples taken from the area of the fuel dispensers revealed the presence of gasoline and associated volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This soil is under the parking lot, thus there is no potential for direct exposure to the contaminated soil unless that portion of the site is redeveloped. Northwest Health Foundation and ASK are in the process of deciding if testing for soil vapors indoors is warranted, based on the potential for vapors to migrate from the parking lot and into the building.
Past Project Update: Community Vision Inc.
The corner property at SE Division and Ladd is being developed by Community Vision, Inc and will open in 2018 under the name Seven Corners Community Collaborative.
Multnomah County acquired this former gasoline station through tax foreclosure in 1999. There were various gasoline stations and automotive repair shops on site between 1926 and the 1980s, at which point it was used for an insurance company, a restaurant, and a market through the 1990’s. The site had a regulatory history and known environmental contamination. After initial testing and cleanup between 2000 and 2002, the County requested assistance from the Portland Brownfield Program to further address environmental concerns on site in order to facilitate redevelopment.
Multnomah County had plans to transfer the property to REACH Community Development Corporation. Those plans fell through, and around 2014 the County donated the site to Community Vision Inc., a Portland non-profit that helps people with disabilities live independently in their homes. Community Vision had a history of working with the County through retrofitting homes and selling them below market rate to individuals with disabilities. They had been looking for a site to move their headquarters, which will be at this site along with four other non-profits and the coffee shop Nossa Familia.
Though Community Vision had experience working with the County, this was their first brownfield project and they found the process long and challenging. Their Development Director, Valerie Plummer, had to become knowledgeable about the process in order to field questions from neighbors and the community. In the end, the cleanup included removing six underground storage tanks, hydraulic hoists, and nearly 500 tons of contaminated soil. Executive Director Joe Wykowski worked with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to obtain a No Further Action letter and the organization agreed to vapor barriers and ongoing testing.
The building will serve as a showcase for Universal Design and will feature an Assistive Technology Discovery Lab; Seven Corners Community Collaborative will have a certificate of occupancy in early 2018.
Brownfields in the News
- In July, Portland City Council passed a resolution to create a working group that will develop a tax incentive program for brownfield sites. It was reported by the Portland Business Journal (subscription required) and Oregon Business: https://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/2017/07/20/with-the-potential-for-31-000-jobsportland-moves.html, https://www.oregonbusiness.com/article/item/17893-banking-on-brownfields
- Are you savvy when it comes to community development and consulting? Portland State University’s Business Outreach Program is hiring for a part time position: https://t.e2ma.net/message/fcrht/vcy7ru
- Center for Community Progress is hosting the VAD (Vacant, Abandoned, and Deteriorated) Academy in Hartford, CT November 6-7th! http://www.communityprogress.net/vad-academies-pages-525.php
- America Walks is offering an additional $500 to projects in Portland, OR who apply for a Community Change Grant, for a total grant of $2000: http://americawalks.org/2017-community-change-micro-grants-open/
- The National Brownfields Conference takes place December 5-7th, in Pittsburgh, PA: https://www.brownfields2017.org/