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Portland Redevelopment Project Wins US

23 October 2003

(Portland, Ore. – Oct. 23, 2003) A project that transformed a contaminated waterfront area in Portland into a thriving residential, commercial and recreation area has won a prestigious Phoenix Award as one of the nation’s best brownfields redevelopment projects. The award will be presented to the Portland Development Commission during the Oct. 27-29 Brownfields 2003 Conference in Portland.

Environmental work on the 73-acre South Waterfront Redevelopment Project was performed by AMEC’s Earth & Environmental office in Portland, one of 90 specialist environmental offices AMEC operates across North America. It included:

  • An assessment of the nature, extent and magnitude of contaminants found in the soil and groundwater. Major contaminants were lead and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the soil and PAHs in groundwater.
  • Surface capping of areas with two feet of clean fill to prevent human exposure to contaminants. Traditional dig and haul remedial techniques may have precluded redevelopment due to cost.
  • Creation of an innovative bank-stabilization system to prevent erosion from possibly carrying contaminated soils to the Willamette River. The system consisted of durable rip-rap underlain by geotextile in lower portions of the riverbank and native vegetation in the upper portions.
  • Dredging and disposal of several thousand cubic yards of river sediment prior to the capping and bank stabilization activities. The contaminated sediments were used beneficially in constructing an embankment for the Portland Airport light rail segment, saving more than $50,000 in disposal costs.
  • Operation of a five-year groundwater-monitoring program. The monitoring confirmed that contaminants were not migrating to the river.

The work cleared the way for the transformation of a degraded and underutilized industrial area south of downtown Portland into an upscale residential and commercial area. Today the site features 480 residential units, 40,000 square feet of commercial space, a 74-room hotel, an athletic club, 26,500 square feet of retail and restaurant, an 83-slip marina, public breakwater and 34 acres of public park, streets and open space.

Phoenix Awards are selected annually by a panel of brownfields experts that includes representatives of state and national environmental regulatory agencies. The awards are affiliated with the Marasco Newton Whittaker Foundation, an environmental and community service foundation in Arlington, Va. Since the awards program began in 1997, 52 projects in 17 states have been honored.

AMEC’s Earth & Environmental office was also part of a Portland Development Commission team that won a Phoenix Award three years ago for a brownfields redevelopment known as The Yards at Union Station. That project featured the removal of 3,255 tons of crude-oil-contaminated soil from a former rail yard, plus surface capping to seal off contaminants.

“We are thrilled that our environmental engineering expertise and PDC’s vision have brought the community two flagship redevelopment projects that truly are worthy of Phoenix Awards,” said Leonard Farr, an AMEC senior associate and project manager.

AMEC operates 90 Earth & Environmental engineering offices in North America that specialize in environmental, water resources, geotechnical and materials-testing projects. The Portland, Ore. office is located at 7376 SW Durham Road.

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