Site: BRIDGE Housing
Address: 2124 & 2156 N Williams
Date of site approval: 2017
BRIDGE Housing is the first grant recipient to use the Portland Brownfield Program’s most recent Brownfield Assessment Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which the City was awarded for use starting in fall 2016 and continuing through 2019. BRIDGE was formed in 1983 and this will be its second affordable housing project in Portland.
BRIDGE’s new project will be located on North Williams, at what was once the site of the Wagstaff Battery Company. Due to the hazardous substances associated with battery recycling, the site has undergone extensive cleanup under Oregon Department of Environmental Quality oversight, including the removal of 340 tons of impacted soil in 2004. In the late 1990’s, the property was sold to Port City Development Center. Port City is now a program of Albertina Kerr, a social services provider for adults with developmental disabilities. The organization has been using the property to serve approximately 150 adults from the Portland area and its programming encompasses career and social support, artistic expression, and a garden program called Project Grow.
BRIDGE Housing is purchasing the site from Multnomah County, which acquired the property through tax foreclosure, and plans to build 61 units of affordable family housing. It plans to keep some of Port City’s services on-site, such as the art studio and gallery space. There will also be residential services on site through a resident services coordinator and partnership with Impact NW, among other partnerships. Bridge Housing has been working with the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB), which is taking a lead on implementing a policy to prioritize former residents of NE Portland who have been displaced from the area. This process has included a PHB N/NE Oversight Committee and meetings with the neighborhood association, as well as plans to hire an outreach consultant for local hiring.
The building will be certified LEED-Gold for sustainability and may include other environmentally-friendly features depending on what is possible after the environmental cleanup. BRIDGE contacted the Portland Brownfield Program for help with the costs of an environmental site assessment, as well as DEQ oversight costs. In April, the Brownfields program accompanied Assessment Associates, Inc. to do a Phase I environmental site assessment. Though assessments had been done in the past, it is best practice to do one within six months of a sale in order to capture any environmental concerns on the property, particularly when the site use is changing.
The site is being developed in partnership with Portland Housing Bureau, Home Forward, and Multnomah County. Construction is planned for Spring-Summer 2018.