Merkley, Wyden Announce Federal Investment of over $8 Million to Fuel Economic Revitalization of Oregon Communities

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that a total of $8.3 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds are headed to eight regions of Oregon to revitalize communities and tackle polluted brownfield sites.  

“Regardless of zip code or income, Oregonians in every corner of the state deserve for their communities to be free from environmental hazards and ready to grow economically,” said Merkley. “These investments will help clean up more than eight brownfield sites across the state and allow communities to invest in new projects, expand developable land, and promote economic development. These federal funds will help foster safer and stronger communities across Oregon, and I’ll continue to do all I can to secure federal resources to ensure all our communities or Oregonians can thrive.”  

“Oregonians working for a clean path to create jobs and new business opportunities in their communities often need cleanup of sites left potentially contaminated by previous owners,” said Wyden. “These federal funds in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law I was proud to support help our state take significant steps on that path to economic reuse and redevelopment. This is good news for Oregon, and I’ll keep battling to make sure our entire state gets our fair share of the resources provided by this groundbreaking infrastructure law.”

Brownfield sites are properties where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be hindered by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. The Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, ensuring that at least 40% of benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy flow to disadvantaged communities. Redevelopment includes everything from grocery stores and affordable housing to health centers, museums, greenways, and solar farms.

A breakdown of grant awards and communities can be found below: 

  • $402,000 to the City of Chiloquin for a Brownfields Cleanup Grant 

Funds will be used to clean up the former Markwardt Brothers Garage Assemblage site that contains a collapsed building and contaminated underground storage tanks.  

  • $500,000 to Clatsop County for a Brownfields Assessment Grant 

Funds will be used for environmental site assessments and development of cleanup and reuse plans. Possible cleanup sites include a former gas station in Surfside and an abandoned collection of buildings in Astoria.  

  • $1,000,000 to Columbia Pacific Economic Development District of Oregon for a Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grant 

The grant will be used to provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities. Potential cleanup locations include a 60-acre area dotted with vacant structures, an 81-acre wood veneer processing plant and lumber mill, a dry dock, and a vacant gas station.  

  • $500,000 to the City of Hillsboro for a Brownfields Assessment Grant  

Funds will be used to develop a Brownfield site inventory and conduct environmental site assessments to develop cleanup plans. Possible cleanup sites include a former rail depot and silo site, a gas station and carwash site, a dry cleaner, and auto repair site.  

  • $500,000 to the City of Lincoln City for a Brownfields Assessment Grant 

Funding will be used to inventory and prioritize Brownfield sites, and conduct site assessments to be used to develop six cleanup plans, possibly including a former auto shop, a dry cleaner, and a rock quarry.  

  • $500,000 to the City of Portland for a Brownfields Assessment Grant 

Funds will be used to conduct environmental site assessments and cleanup plans for sites that may include a former automotive repair shop and junkyard located within walking distance of public transit and is considered a prime candidate for reuse. 

  • $500,000 to the Rogue Valley Council of Governments for a Brownfields Assessment Grant 

Grant funds will be used to perform environmental site assessments, inventory and prioritize sites, and develop cleanup plans. Potential cleanup areas include a former log truck service and repair station, three gas stations, and a fruit orchard. 

  • $500,000 to the Tillamook County for a Brownfields Assessment Grant 

Funding will be used to conduct environmental site assessments and to develop cleanup plans for sites that could potentially include a former sawmill and an automobile wrecking facility. 

  • $3,900,000 to the Oregon Business Development Department as supplemental funding for an existing Revolving Loan Fund grant to pay for additional Brownfield site cleanups 

This funding will help the recipient to continue success in their work to cleanup and redevelop brownfield sites. 

“Clatsop County is excited for this grant opportunity and are pleased to have been selected to accomplish this much needed work,” said Mark Kujala, Clatsop County Commissioner Chair.

“This grant will help us carry forward work to assess brownfield properties countywide and engage with community partners to identify opportunities for redevelopment. Because Tillamook County faces unique buildable land constraints amidst an unprecedented housing crisis, we must think creatively and take big steps to find solutions. This is a big step towards unlocking underutilized sites for potential future housing and community resources,” said Erin Skaar, Tillamook County Commissioner.