The Environmental Protection Agency is distributing $76 million in funding for clean-up and redevelopment of contaminated Brownfield sites across the country. The city of Portland is getting $1 million of that money to improve sites contaminated with petroleum and other hazardous waste in east Portland. The EPA says the clean-up funds will reduce contaminants washing into local watersheds while also offering an economic boost to a growing but impoverished Portland community.
Of the funds coming to Portland, $400,000 in grants will go toward nine site assessments focused on east Portland. Another $1 million in grants will go into a loan fund, from which the city will give one loan and one sub-grant each for petroleum and hazardous waste cleanups. The grants will also be used to develop cleanup plans and to do community outreach.
Leaders from the EPA and the city of Portland will be discussing the funding award at the June Key Delta Community Center in Portland tomorrow morning at 10 (I’ll post relevant updates, like what sites exactly will benefit from the funds).
An EPA summary notes Portland has a disproportionally high number of brownfields – nearly 4,000 official sites – because of its manufacturing history. Contaminants from these sites flow into the Willamette and Columbia rivers, the EPA reports, where they can harm endangered salmon. Here’s more from the EPA on why east Portland is the focus of the $1.4 million in federal funding:
“The target area of East Portland has some of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the city, and many residents live in poverty. Brownfield assessments will identify contamination, provide incentives for developers and property owners to take action on properties, and facilitate the East Portland Action Plan, which calls for brownfields redevelopment. Cleanup and redevelopment conducted through the RLF grant are expected to fill a key gap in the city’s brownfields revitalization process. Redevelopment is expected to stimulate local economic development efforts and restore economic strength in neighborhoods.”