Brownfields Conference Recognizes Redevelopment Success in Oregon
SalemThe ninth Oregon Brownfields Conference will be held June 13-14 in Portland and include the presentation of awards to four outstanding brownfield cleanup projects. The conference brings together state and local officials and private sector leaders to discuss how to expand redevelopment opportunities across the state.
The conferencepresented by Business Oregon in partnership with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Northwest Environmental Business Council and the Center for Creative Land Recyclingwill emphasize the tools and resources critical to the success of such redevelopment projects.
"To succeed in brownfield redevelopment, we need truly collaborative partnerships between property owners, government and interested stakeholders,"said Tim McCabe, the Director of Business Oregon. "These projects are instrumental as they either strengthen Oregon's livable communities or create opportunities for existing Oregon companies and jobs for Oregonians."
The highlight of the first day of the meeting will be the fourth Oregon Brownfields Awards Program Luncheon held at the DoubleTree Hilton hotel in Portland.
McCabe pointed to the four projects slated to receive 2012 Oregon Brownfields Awards as examples of how brownfield redevelopment can help create hundreds of new jobs for state residents while improving nearby neighborhoods. This year's winners for outstanding projects include:
- The June Key Delta Community Center in North Portland, which involved the successful transformation of a former gas station into a sustainably designed community space.
The city of Portland Brownfield Program provided approximately $47,000 for an additional Phase II environmental site assessment. Other key partners included: Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Green Investment Fund$119,000 for site improvements focusing on sustainable design; a Portland Development Commission's Commercial Property Redevelopment loan, Storefront Improvement and Community Livability grant$434,600 for site improvements; the Community Benefit Opportunity Program grant$22,500 to help build a sustainable landscape; and a U.S. EPA Technical Assistance grant of $25,000.
The Delta Sigma Theta sorority, which spent $131,000 to purchase and improve the site, succeeded in realizing its goals to not only build a center for their outreach and volunteer efforts, but for a community center and a demonstration project for sustainable building design that would act as an educational showpiece on environmental stewardship for the neighborhood. There was substantial material re-use in the design of the building including utilizing metal cargo containers to add 2,400 square feet to the building, floors made of recycled rubber tires, and huge glass windows recycled from another building project.
In the summer of 2011, the sorority celebrated the opening of the June Key Delta Community Center. Hundreds of people attended including the mayor of Portland, Sam Adams.
- The Sunriver Owners Association transformed an underutilized, vacant asbestos-contaminated amphitheater area into the Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic & Recreation Center (SHARC), a showcase aquatic center, community-gathering facility and year-round outdoor recreation area.
Remediation of the Sunriver amphitheater area eliminated a potential long-term risk to the health of Sunriver residents and guests. Partners in the project included the Sunriver Owners Association, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and other partners.
The amphitheater area is a 22-acre parcel in the heart of the community. In 2002, during routine property inspections, asbestos-containing material (ACM) was identified in the soil at a small portion of the site originating from World War II-era buildings that were constructed in 1942 as part of the former Camp Abbot army training facility. More than 90,000 troops came through the training camp, which was eventually demolished in 1945.
The construction of this facility positively affected the local and regional economy with numerous Oregon companies being utilized as part of the construction. According to Cascade Business News, the SHARC project was ranked in the top five of Central Oregon's commercial construction projects for 2011. SROA has increased its regular/benefited positions from 29 to 38 and part-time positions from 40 to approximately 70.
- The Tabor Commons project transformed a former gas station site in southeast Portland into a non-profit, family-oriented coffee house and community center called Café au Play.
Prior to being called Tabor Commons, this commercial property operated as a gas station from the 1920s to the 1980s and then as several small businesses including a used car lot and mini markets. Since the 1990s, community members had raised concerns about criminal activities occurring on the site such as vandalism, violent crimes and drug deals.
In the summer of 2011, Café au Play opened its doors and hosted a celebration with music, children's activities, bike maintenance and safety classes, and a petting zoo. Café au Play has realized its goal as a space to provide community connections and support networks for families. Café au Play at Tabor Commons also has provided four new jobs for staff; daily activities and music for children; parenting groups and workshops; a barista training program that prepares high school volunteers for employment; as well as a meeting space for community groups.
The financial partners in the project included: Business Oregon$60,600 for underground storage tank removal; City of Portland BES$14,000 tank removal and clean up; City of Portland Brownfield Program$34,000 for Phase II environmental site assessments and ABCA/clean up planning; and an U.S. EPA Brownfields Sustainable Pilots grant of $25,000 for green job curriculum and job training.
- Remediation and future redevelopment of a 30-acre waterfront parcel owned by ZRZ Realty Company (Zidell) will one day result in hundreds of new jobs as well as the Portland region's latest light rail line. Business Oregon's Brownfields Redevelopment Fund loaned the project $3.9 million for the remediation project.
The site, just south of the Ross Island Bridge, is adjacent to the Oregon Health & Science University tram terminal and spans one half mile along the Willamette River. The land has been home to continuous industrial use, including ship building, ship dismantling, and now barge building by Zidell Marine Corporation (a sister company to ZRZ Realty) for nearly 100 years. The cleanup effort involved 32 acres of upland and 11 acres of submerged remediation.
Remediation activities on site will be completed in 2012. More than four acres of native vegetation was planted, replacing a former blackberry expanse with more than 275 trees and 15,000 shrubs. The property is currently undergoing preparation for the eventual transition of this land from industrial to mixed-use or commercial.
The clean site can now be returned to a productive and active use, stimulating new development and investment in the area. The work has unquestionably improved the area's aesthetic appeal and will continue to attract new investors into the area.
Total remediation construction costs are more than $20 million. Project funding was provided privately by Zidell, including settlements from insurance companies and from the U.S. government. Additional support was provided through the Business Oregon Brownfield Redevelopment Fund.
Business Oregon works to create, retain, expand and attract businesses that provide sustainable, living-wage jobs for Oregonians through public-private partnerships, leveraged funding, and support of economic opportunities for Oregon companies and entrepreneurs.