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Saturday, April 18, 2009

SoWhat greenway hits toxic snag

A reader who follows the financial train wreck known as the SoWhat District in Portland reports that despite earlier denials, the city now admits that the ground on which the district's greenway is supposed to be built has some potentially serious soil contamination problems. These are going to set the project schedule back even further than the lack of money to build it already has. The reader forwards this e-mail message which the readers says is from city Parks Bureau manager Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong:

It has been some time since we last gave you an update about the progress of the South Waterfront Greenway. Here is the latest news.

First, the Project Manager, Patty Freeman was offered an excellent opportunity to work for Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District (THPRD). As many of you know, THPRD just passed a significant bond and is staffing up to work on a variety of projects. We are very sad to lose Patty's enthusiasm and skill, but wish her the best!

In her absence, Liz Moorhead and Robin Grimwade will oversee the project on an interim basis. Once the federal permitting requirements have been obtained and we are ready to proceed with construction, we will identify a permanant Project Manager.

Regarding the project schedule - As many of you realize, one of the causes for the project delay, was the discovery of soil contamination. After lengthy discussions between the Department of Environmental Quality, property owners, Portland Development Commission and Portland Parks & Recreation, its been agreed that some additional sampling work needs to be undertaken along the greenway. This work is expected to start in May.

In addition to the information we gather from the soil samples - we will incorporate the feedback from the discussion between the City and National Marine Fisheries that took place in late 2008. These two additional information sources will inform the projects design so that an updated permit application can be submitted to the Army Corp of Engineers and National Marine Fisheries Service. We anticipate being able to submit the updated permit applications in November 2009.

In October 2009, we will invite the community to review the updated designs so that you know how the project may have been amended.

Thanks to everyone for your patience and support and we work through these challenges.

Go by streetcar!

Comments (11)

This is taking toxic assets to a whole new level.

Dammit, the mess was preknown and preventable.

On record, I told you so, in a Bojack comment I made early on, years back, in one of the threads on the topic of the tram foundation, or the high-rises project, or some other development ground-breaking in SoWhat.

Ziedel Shipyard soaked the soil lethal. Everyone who goes there dies -- contaminated on contact instantly, suffer protracted in agony.

Who knew? We ALL did. It was in all the newsblogs. Media that censored the story are liable -- disinformation lawsuit.

I really don't get why they need the poodle park when they have the greenway. I mean the whole area is only 4 blocks wide, even with their funny height games shouldn't they be trying to put as many buildings as possible to get the future tax revenue.

Sounds like the Parks Bureau is happy to see construction delayed indefinitely.

I wish my boss was so forgiving.

This is so typical of Portland. The rich and prominent families sell their environmentally impaired lands to the city, and Portland's taxpayers end up paying ridiculous prices for land that has toxic waste all over it. When will we ever learn? I say never. It keeps happening over and over and over again.

it's simpler than all of this. I studied the North Macadam plan and project from early on--and this issue was well known by everybody involved.

especially Vera Katz and Sam Adams.

which begs a few questions, doesn't it?


I don't think this is about the Ziedel Shipyard area. It's still the Ziedel Shipyard with no greenway project in the pipeline at this time.
This is about the central district greenway where it's already developed and awaiting the greenway project.

Of course we never get the whole story on any part of it.

They should build the new soccer stadium down there. It would be a nice "cap" for all the dirty dirt.

Eugene is following in your footsteps. The "return to the river" urban renewal merry go round is about to start work on a building for Oregon Research Institute. It is being built on a toxic waste dump at the riverfront and construction begins this summer. I believe there is still some squabbling about what to do about the toxic issue. The O.R.I. "green" site plan has rows of parked cars parking 35 feet from the edge of the river. Of course it will be LEED certified which I think you all known does not mean crap. Features likely to be included like sustainable energy features-windows that open-and all the various rainwater gizmos will surely get city tax breaks and environmental awards. Meanwhile the riverfront becomes a expensive privatized toxic parking lot. Placeless strip mall urbanism dressed up as name brand $mart Growth(a product of the organization Smart Growth America). So glad Eugene planners constantly gush about how we have to "grow smart" just like Portland.

LEED is to ecological health what Britney Spears is to sexuality.

This is typical standard operating procedure for Portland. There were even articles about the contamination in the Boregonian (buried in the back pages, to be sure)at the time, but of course the "powers that be" chose to overlook this toxic gift horse. Truly sickening. But not at all surprising.

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