EPA selects nine projects in Oregon and Washington for $4.75 million in Brownfields funding
Five Oregon grants ($2.65 million) are part of nationwide $65.6 million Brownfields funding rollout
(Seattle) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that nine Northwest tribes and communities will receive a total of $4.75 million to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the agency’s Brownfields Program.
“I’ve seen EPA Brownfields funding work absolute magic for states, tribes and communities across the Northwest,” said EPA Regional Administrator, Chris Hladick. “It brings groups together, helps solve longstanding redevelopment puzzles and leverages funding to expand the local impact like few other programs. As a former city manager in Alaska, I know that getting abandoned, neglected and undervalued parcels back into productive use and back on the tax rolls is hard to argue with.”
Nationwide, 151 communities and tribes are selected to receive grant awards totaling over $65.6 million in EPA brownfields funding through our Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant Programs.
In Oregon, five projects have been selected to move forward:
Baker Technical Institute, Baker City, OR - Cleanup Grant - $500,000
Brownfields Cleanup Grant funds will be used to clean up the Central Building property located at 2425 Washington Avenue in Baker City. The building was used as a middle and high school from 1917 until 2009 and is now mostly vacant except for some items stored by the Baker School District. It is contaminated with inorganic contaminants and metals. Grant funds also will be used to conduct community outreach activities. Contact: Doug Dalton 541-524-2651.
Coquille Indian Tribe/MithIhKwuh Economic Development Corporation, North Bend, OR - Assessment Grant - $350,000
EPA has selected Coquille Indian Tribe/Mith-Ih-Kwuh Economic Development Corporation for a Brownfields Assessment Grant. Site-specific grant funds will be used to conduct a Phase II environmental site assessment at the Ko’Kwel Wharf Property located at 3050 Tremont Avenue in the City of North Bend. The 50-acre waterfront site was operated as a sawmill for over 130 years and is located in a Qualified Opportunity Zone. Grant funds will also be used to conduct cleanup and reuse planning activities and to support community outreach activities. Contact: Judy Duffy - 541-756-0662
Harney County, OR - Assessment Grant - $600,000
EPA has selected Harney County for a Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant. Community-wide grant funds will be used to inventory brownfield sites and conduct 12 Phase I and six Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop six cleanup plans and conduct reuse planning and community engagement activities. Assessment activities will focus on the City of Burns’s Downtown Area and the Old Mill Area in the City of Hines, which are both located within the same Qualified Opportunity Zone. Priority sites include a vacant downtown block, a 69.5-acre former wood processing site, and a former auto body shop. The County’s coalition partners are the City of Hines and the City of Burns. Contact: Hon. Pete Runnells (541) 573-6356
Metro, Portland, OR - Assessment Grant $600,000
EPA has selected Metro for a Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant. Community-wide grant funds will be used to inventory brownfield sites and conduct 16 Phase I and eight Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop four site-specific cleanup plans and support community outreach activities. Assessment activities will focus on the Tigard Triangle in the City of Tigard, the Rockwood Neighborhood in the City of Gresham, and the Milwaukie/Oak Grove neighborhood in the City of Milwaukie. The Tigard and Gresham target areas are located in Qualified Opportunity Zones. Metro’s coalition partners are the Housing Authority of Clackamas County, Multnomah County, and the Washington County Department of Housing Services. Contact: Brian Harper (503) 797-1833
The Dalles, OR - Assessment Grant - $600,000
EPA has selected the City of The Dalles for a Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct up to 18 Phase I and 10 Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds will also be used to develop five cleanup plans and one area-wide plan, and support community engagement activities. Assessment activities will focus on the 318-acre Columbia Gateway/Downtown urban renewal area of the city, which includes a Qualified Opportunity Zone. Priority sites include a former auto wrecking yard, a bulk oil plant, a heating oil distributor, a dry cleaner, and several former automotive service stations. The city’s coalition partners are the Port of The Dalles and Wasco County. Contact: Jim Schwinof (541) 296-5481 ext. 1131
Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfields Program provide communities across the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes, while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. For example, brownfields grants are shown to:
- Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites.
- Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfields sites increased between 5 and 15 percent following cleanup.
A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the United States. EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $1.6 billion in brownfield grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. To date, brownfields investments have leveraged more than $31 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding leveraged, from both public and private sources, more than 160,000 jobs.
The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on April 26-30, 2021 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing former commercial and industrial properties. EPA co-sponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).
What they’re saying about the impact of Brownfields funding in Oregon:
Oregon Congressional Delegation
“The funding is welcome news for Baker City, The Dalles and Harney County. In 2018, I led Congressional efforts to reauthorize and expand the Brownfields program to provide communities like these with the resources needed to clean up and redevelop old industrial sites. I appreciate EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler for recognizing the need for economic development in our rural communities and providing funding to these projects. These funds will help facilitate job growth and wage increases; promote the development of new infrastructure; and improve and protect the environment. Since the program’s inception, thousands of contaminated sites have been remediated and hundreds of thousands of jobs have been saved. As our nation works to combat the coronavirus, providing opportunities for future economic growth in our communities is more important than ever.”
- Congressman and Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member, Greg Walden (OR-02)
“This critical support will help Metro accelerate the clean-up and redevelopment of the Tigard Triangle, an area with great potential for housing and businesses that will benefit our growing community. During this time of economic turmoil, we need to be making strong investments that will create good-paying jobs and promote economic development – and the Brownfields Program represents one of these investments. I was proud to advocate for Oregon to receive this funding and look forward to seeing our communities use this opportunity to revitalize the economy in our region.”
- Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01)
“This EPA Brownfield Grant award confirms Metro’s commitment to reutilizing abandoned and contaminated properties to address environmental challenges and boost economic growth in the region. This grant will create jobs, stabilize the economy and help provide needed affordable housing in our communities.”
- Elissa Gertler, Metro Planning and Development Director.
Coquille Indian Tribe
“With these grant funds, the Coquille Tribe is now able to move forward and explore new opportunities on our bayfront property and find ways to achieve the greatest benefit from this unique Tribal and community asset.”
- Judy Duffy, CEO of the Mith-ih-kwuh Economic Development Corporation, the Coquille Tribe.
Harney County, OR
“This is such great news for our area! The news of EPA’s Brownfield’s funding will help return valuable properties back into operation and we couldn’t be more excited. This will only build on the momentum already in place put forth by many citizens in our community already.”
- Hon. Pete Runnels, Harney County Judge
The Dalles, OR
“This Brownfields grant is a great economic boost to The City of The Dalles, assisting property owners and potential buyers evaluate environmental hazards on their properties. This work would not be possible without the EPA Grant and could not occur at a better time, as The Dalles is experiencing a strong movement of revitalization.”
- Jim Schwinhof, City Engineering, The Dalles
Baker Technical Institute
"We are really excited to be receiving this Brownfield grant. Grants like this one can help create real economic development in rural places like Baker City. Being able to safely remove the hazardous building materials on our site now gives us a place to begin a redevelopment conversation that makes sense for our community."
- Doug Dalton, President, Baker Technical Institute, Baker City, OR
List of the FY 2020 applicants selected for funding: https://go.usa.gov/xvwjc
For more on the brownfields grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields
For information on the studies related to the Brownfields Program’s environmental and economic benefits: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-program-environmental-and-economic-benefits