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City of St. Helens Selected for $300,000 in Brownfields Assessment Grants

Program helps return blighted properties to productive reuse

05/31/2017
Contact Information: 
Judy Smith (smith.judy@epa.gov)
503-326-6994

EPA has selected the City of St. Helens, Oregon for two brownfields environmental site assessment grants totaling $300,000. With this funding, St. Helens will assess seven brownfields sites as an initial step towards cleaning up and redeveloping vacant and underutilized properties, transforming them into an asset for both the community and the local economy while protecting public health and the environment.

“EPA is committed to working with communities to redevelop Brownfields sites which have plagued their neighborhoods. EPA’s Assessment and Cleanup grants target communities that are economically disadvantaged and include places where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These grants leverage considerable infrastructure and other investments, improving local economies and creating an environment where jobs can grow. I am very pleased the President’s budget recognizes the importance of these grants by providing continued funding for this important program.”

The City of St. Helens was selected for community-wide hazardous substances grant funds totaling $150,000 that will be used to conduct seven environmental site assessments and prepare one cleanup plan. In addition, they were selected for community-wide petroleum grant funds of $150,000 to conduct the same tasks at sites with potential petroleum contamination. Grant funds also will be used to support community involvement activities, and expand and prioritize the city’s inventory of brownfield sites.

“The City of St. Helens is deeply appreciative of the Federal funding vital to furthering our redevelopment efforts,” said Randy Peterson Mayor of St. Helens.  These EPA Brownfields Community Wide Assessment program resources will help provide detailed environmental information to assist in clean up actions and redevelopment decisions.  We are grateful to the EPA Brownfields program for providing vital resources necessary to improve and transform our community.”  

The City of St. Helens was hit especially hard by the recession of 2008, dramatically increasing the number of families living below the poverty line. Characterizing the contamination at key brownfield sites will help prepare them for investment and redevelopment, which will stimulate the regional and local economy and encourage much-needed local job growth.

St. Helens is now growing quickly, experiencing 23% growth in population since 2000. So far, much of the development to accommodate this growth has involved urban sprawl that utilizes greenfields and demands new infrastructure. Brownfields funding provides the opportunity to bring development back into the central business district and reconnect residents with the waterfront.

Brownfields assessment and cleanup grants target communities with significant distress. These communities are economically disadvantaged -- neighborhoods where environmental assessment, cleanup and new jobs are most needed for residents that have historically been left behind.

St. Helens is one of 172 communities selected nationally for new brownfields assessment and cleanup funding in 2017.  Across the country, $56.8 million in funding will be granted. 

For more information about Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment Grants: www.epa.gov/brownfields

To view fact sheets about the 2017 grant recipients: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-list-fy17-grants-selected-funding

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