Metro will work with a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to identify and inventory petroleum-based brownfield sites throughout the region.
Brownfields are pieces of land that are contaminated enough to make their future use hazardous or impossible.
No region-wide inventory of brownfield sites currently exists. Three local jurisdictions — Clackamas County and the cities of Portland and Gresham —have existing brownfield assessment programs. Metro will work with these and other local and state agencies, including the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, to better identify and facilitate the restoration of brownfield sites for public and commercial use.
"Through this grant, the region has an extraordinary opportunity to identify the most contaminated sites and promote their restoration as community assets," said Metro Council President David Bragdon.
"This, in turn, can provide significant opportunities to create jobs and enhance the livability of the region by developing industrial and mixed use centers as well as affordable housing, parks and open spaces."
Metro will use the money to complete Phase I and Phase II assessments of brownfield sites, particularly those with petroleum-based contamination such as those found at old gas stations, fueling facilities, auto-related businesses and some industrial sites.
Phase I involves identification of brownfield sites using existing public data sources such as tax assessment records as well as anecdotal information. Phase II assessments will determine specific contamination problems and identify necessary clean-up procedures. Metro may apply for a subsequent federal clean-up grant based on the nature of the problems identified.
Metro has up to two years to complete the work funded through this grant. The first distribution of grant funds will likely be made in September. More information on the Environmental Protection Agency's brownfields cleanup and redevelopment program can be found online at www.epa. gov/brownfields.
Metro, the regional government that serves 1.3 million people who live in the 25 cities and three counties of the Portland metropolitan area, provides planning and other services that protect the region's livability. For more information, visit www.metro-region.org.