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PORTLAND-The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has selected the City of Portland, the Portland Development Corporation and Multnomah County to receive $725,000 in grant monies as part of the 2002 Brownfields Revitalization Act to go towards assessment and cleanup of local brownfields sites.

Known as an EPA Brownfields Showcase Community, the city has previously received EPA money solely for assessment purposes, so the portion of the funds awarded to the PDC and Multnomah County for actual cleanup efforts is a big deal. With 500 brownfields sites currently around the city, the available money to conduct site assessments has been depleted. These newest grants will therefore be used to recharge the city’s fund.

In all, the City will receive two grants totaling $325,000 which will be used for assessment purposes to inventory, characterize and conduct planning relating to one or more brownfield sites.

“I think it is great that EPA is recognizing our commitment to turn brownfields green,” says Mayor Vera Katz. “Portland strives to strengthen the connection between neighborhood livability, business needs and wise land use, and brownfield grants help us do that. It is also a great precursor to the National Brownfields Conference that Portland will be hosting on October 27 through 29 where we will show off all of our brownfield successes.”

In addition to the city’s grants, the PDC was awarded $200,000 that will be used to help clean up the site of the Grant Warehouse in northeast Portland. Heavy metals, petroleum and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are among the environmental contaminants found at the site.

“The EPA grant will allow us to tackle a very difficult, but key site in Northeast Portland,” says PDC Executive Director Don Mazziotti. “We are poised with great plans for the site and cleaning it is the first step towards realizing community goals.”

Located at 3368 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. in the Elliot neighborhood, the overall future vision for the site is a mixed-use project featuring both residential live/work townhomes with rental or ownership units, and more than 3,000-sf of commercial space. The plan currently calls for cleanup to begin in 2004 with redevelopment starting in 2006.

With its $200,000 grant, Multnomah County plans to clean up the site of a former gas station and market taken into public ownership through property tax foreclosure. The current plan for the site is to develop the Seven Corners Disabled Housing project, a 12-15-unit apartment building for people with physical disabilities.

“The County feels an obligation to provide good stewardship and management of tax foreclosed lands as a public asset. Receiving the EPA Brownfields grant allows a real chance to reclaim this property and remove a neighborhood blight,” says Diane M. Linn, Chair of the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.

The County, REACH Community Development Inc. which competed with other non-profit agencies and won the right to develop the property, and the State Department of Environmental Quality have already conducted a preliminary investigation as to the contamination on the property.

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