2016 Oregon Brownfields Awards

Kelly Howard
Artist and Glassblower

Oregon artist and glassblower Kelly Howard created the glass awards that we present. Each award is a unique work of art representing the common overarching challenge of contamination cleanup, as well as the connections between project and community that each redevelopment represents. Kelly works from the Jennifer Sears Glass Foundry, in the heart of Lincoln City's Taft District.

The foundry itself is a redeveloped brownfields, situated on the former Tom Litfin Motors auto repair shop site. For years, soil and groundwater contamination impacted the redevelopment of the site until the Lincoln City Urban Renewal Agency (URA) bought the property in 2001. Through a public/private partnership, the URA retained ownership of the property with foundry operations managed by a private company as a tourist attraction and artist studio. Opened in February 2005, the foundry has provided many visitors their first experience of blowing their own glass creation. Cleanup of this former brownfields site has led to a cleaner and healthier long-term environment for the surrounding community, making it an integral part of the Taft District revitalization.

This year marks the 6th presentation of the Oregon Brownfields Awards and the recognition of the outstanding brownfields redevelopment achievements of Oregon's communities. The Awards honor individuals and groups that have implemented innovative, yet practical, remediation projects that stimulated economic development through job creation or retention, or addressed a critical community development need.

The selection criteria for the awards focused on two primary goals: balance of economic and quality of life improvements to the local community and significant environmental gains.

Each award-winning project highlights one or all of the goals associated with the state's brownfields mission: protection of human health and the environment; enhanced collaboration and communication among essential partners to facilitate cleanup and reuse; strengthened economic marketplace by bringing industrial and commercial brownfields sites back into productive reuse; and sustained reuse through redevelopment of brownfields to meet and enhance a community's long-term quality of life.

4th Main | Hillsboro

Completed in May 2014, the 4th Main mixed-use complex capped a 16-year journey from land acquisition to redevelopment. The property, located in the heart of the city's historic downtown retail district, was jointly purchased in 1998 by the city and Metro just as plans for the Westside MAX light rail line were beginning to take shape. The intent was to hold the property until the time and market was ripe and then to engage an experienced development team to create a transit orientated, high density affordable mixed use redevelopment. Read the story

Coos History Museum | Coos Bay

The Coos County Historical Society, founded in 1891, is the second-oldest historical society in the state of Oregon. From 1958 until 2014, the Society operated its Coos County Historical and Maritime Museum on land donated to it by the city of North Bend. By the late 1990's, the museum facility in North Bend was obsolete, but the Society lacked the resources to improve or replace the existing facility or to build elsewhere. In late 2000, the Society received a private, unsolicited donation of Tootsie Roll stock, valued at more than $800,000, which came with one stipulation—that the funds be used for construction of a new museum located along Highway 101. Read the story

Astoria Athletic Complex | Astoria

The city of Astoria's 12-acre landfill operated as a municipal solid waste disposal site from 1965 to 1985. The site accepted general household waste, and select commercial and industrial wastes. While the city closed the landfill to dumping in 1985 it was unable to financially meet ODEQ's requirements to officially complete the landfill closure. For almost 30 years, the landfill was inactive and a burden to the city. In 2012, ODEQ provided $100,000 in Solid Waste Orphan Account funds for an environmental investigation at the site. Subsequently, an opportunity for a community partnership began to present itself. Read the story

Josephine County Food Bank | Grants Pass

The Josephine County Food Bank at Raptor Creek Farm is the result of an extensive collaboration between the city of Grants Pass, the Josephine County Food Bank, and community investment. In 2006, the city purchased the former Sunnybrook Hop Farm, a 250-acre facility located about 1.5 miles from the city limits. The purchase was not without controversy: real estate development was booming in the community and some believed that the city purchased the site to speculate on real estate. Others questioned the city's decision to purchase property with known soil and groundwater contamination. Despite the controversy, the city and involved community members forged ahead with a vision for the site, now known as River Road Reserve. Read the story

Chris Poole Jones "Unsung Hero" Award

Amy Saberiyan, Ph.D, PE
A professional engineer and Principal of NEEK Engineering, Inc., Amy knew the challenges involved with redeveloping small lot brownfields and sought to develop a business model that could be replicated by others. In the process, she acquired and transformed a vacant, dilapidated gas station property in downtown Beaverton into a thriving business—Ava Roasteria—which, from its initial flagship site has now expanded to four new locations throughout the Portland Metro area. Along the way, Amy continues to share the lessons learned—especially, as she often notes, that addressing the contamination often proves to be the easier of all the challenges. Read the story