State lawmakers OK'd $10 million for project last year
SEATTLE (KTVZ) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday $8.24 million from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of seven brownfield sites in Oregon, including a former construction landfill that's the future site of OSU-Cascades' Innovation District.
Oregon’s communities will receive EPA funds through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant programs, as well as the Technical Assistance to Brownfields Communities Program, according to an EPA news release.
“This historic investment from EPA’s Brownfields program demonstrates the Biden Administration’s commitment to building stronger neighborhoods and spurring economic development, especially in overburdened and underserved areas,” said EPA Region 10 Administrator Casey Sixkiller. “These grants will help communities assess and clean up contaminated properties, which is often a catalyst for revitalization. We are proud that we can help these communities make progress and thrive.”
These investments totaling $315 million are part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to grow the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.
“Communities in every corner of Oregon deserve to be free from environmental hazards and best set up to succeed,” said Senator Jeff Merkley. “These investments to help clean up brownfield sites across the state will allow Tribes, universities, and state and local agencies to invest in new projects, expand developable land, and promote economic development. I’ll continue to do all I can to secure federal resources to help foster safer and stronger communities that ensure all Oregonians can thrive.”
“This federal brownfields investment in Oregon will breathe new life into what have been lost opportunities in communities throughout our state,” said Senator Ron Wyden. “I proudly supported the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that’s generating today’s good news and look forward to the jobs and neighborhood benefits that will ripple out as a result statewide.”
“The Columbia River Estuary is one of the most productive ecosystems in our country, and the health of the river is critical to Native cultural heritage and the livelihoods of Oregonians,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1). “This $1 million grant from the EPA’s Brownfields Program—funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—will help clean up a 7-acre site on Moore and Wright Islands in the Columbia Slough, restoring a key habitat for salmon and other wildlife.”
Many communities that are under economic stress, particularly those located in areas that have experienced long periods of disinvestment, lack the resources needed to initiate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects. As brownfield sites are transformed into community assets, they attract jobs, promote economic revitalization and transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places.
Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever before begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity, and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities.
The following organizations in Oregon were selected to receive EPA Brownfields funding:
- Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians - $800,000 to conduct a Phase II environmental site assessment, develop a cleanup plan, conduct reuse planning and community outreach activities on the former Toledo Mill property.
- “As stewards of the land The Siletz Tribal Business Corporation is honored to be chosen as recipients of the EPA Multi-Purpose Brownfield Grant,” said Ann Lewis, Chief Executive Officer. “Our re-use plan includes significant areas for forests, wetland, and riverine conservation, as well as creating economic growth and building resiliency. The project presents opportunity to continue STBC’s mission to live in harmony with the land as a sovereign nation.”
- Harney County - $500,000 to clean up the contamination at the 2-acre Lincoln School site in Burns.
- Mid-Columbia Economic Development District - $1,000,000 to conduct 26 Phase I and 15 Phase II environmental site assessments, prepare five cleanup or reuse plans, two area-wide plans, and to conduct community engagement activities. Assessment activities will focus on Hood River, Cascade Locks, Dufur, Maupin, Tygh Valley, Rufus and Wasco, Oregon; as well as portions of the City of Goldendale, Washington.
- “This grant for brownfield assessment will provide our region a great tool that can be used to encourage creative redevelopment within our rural communities,” said Jessica Metta, Executive Director of Mid-Columbia Economic Development District. “This supports both a strong regional economy and local governments as properties within their boundaries are repurposed to meet community needs today.
- Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments - $1,000,000 to conduct 20 Phase I and 11 Phase II environmental site assessments, four cleanup plans, four site reuse plans, develop a Public Involvement Plan, and conduct community engagement activities. Assessment activities will focus on Linn and Benton Counties.
- Oregon Department of State Lands - $1,000,000 to clean up the seven-acre Moore and Wright Islands Natural Area Sediment Cleanup Site.
- Oregon State University - $2,000,000 to clean up the Former Deschutes County Construction and Demolition Landfill. Last year, the Oregon Legislature approved $10 million for the mitigation work on the 24-acre site.
- Wild Rivers Land Trust, Port Orford - $1,940,000 to clean up the former Western States Plywood Mill in the Town of Port Orford.
- “Wild Rivers Land Trust is appreciative of the U.S. EPA Brownfield Grant to remediate the Western Plywood Mill that has been out of production for over 50 years. This project will restore Bagley Creek, a tributary of the Elk River which is critical habitat necessary for Coho Salmon and other species to thrive,” said Scott Fogarty, Executive Director of Wild Rivers Land Trust. “We are excited to engage the local community, local tribes and the state of Oregon in restoration and community conservation in the heart of the dark coast. Ultimately, the site will be used as an educational center to highlight the history of the area and the need for conservation.”
Additionally, the Center for Creative Land Recycling will receive $5,000,000 to provide training and technical assistance to communities in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington under the Technical Assistance to Brownfields Communities Program.
EPA is also expanding the scope of its technical assistance offerings under the Brownfields and Land Revitalization Program to include three new subject-specific grants totaling $2 million.
EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.37 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. EPA’s investments in addressing brownfield sites have leveraged more than $36 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding has leveraged, from both public and private sources, nearly 260,000 jobs. Communities that previously received Brownfields Grants used these resources to fund assessments and cleanups of brownfields, and successfully leverage an average of 10.6 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds spent and $19.78 for every dollar.
EPA has selected these organizations to receive funding to address and support the reuse of brownfield sites. EPA anticipates making all the awards announced today once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.