Toxic battery plant site will become 61 units of affordable housing in Portland, Oregon

On April 18, 2019 in Portland, Oregon, the Bureau of Environmental Services awarded a $200,000 grant this month to assist in the final environmental cleanup of the former Wagstaff Battery Company.

The building in its original form.

The grant is made possible through a Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund awarded to the city by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2011.

A brownfield is a property where past use has led to contaminated soil or water. There are over 900 acres of brownfields throughout Portland.

They include places like former industrial sites, gas stations, and dry cleaners. Their former use makes redevelopment expensive and challenging.

The property will become a four-story, 61-unit affordable housing community.

It is being developed by non-profit BRIDGE Housing with funding by the Portland Housing Bureau and Multnomah County.

The building will include 10-units of Supportive Housing and will use the City’s right-of-return policy.

This grant is an investment in our community, helping to create healthy neighborhoods, while providing deeply affordable housing in a historically underserved neighborhood. It’s a win-win-win. I’m proud to have the Bureau of Environmental Services support this project,” said Commissioner Nick Fish.

The value of the small grant in this larger project is to help the non-profit developer remove contaminated soil and restore an old industrial site into a neighborhood asset – a hurdle that other properties don’t face.

This photo (via Google Maps) shows the former Wagstaff building as it is today.

To date, the Brownfield Program has helped address environmental concerns on more than 100 acres in Portland, acting as a catalyst for new businesses, housing, and community gardens.

Since 1983, BRIDGE has been a mission-driven nonprofit that pays close attention to the double-bottom line of financial and social return on investment, always in pursuit of quality, quantity, affordability and in keeping with our core values.

In this time, BRIDGE Housing has:

  • Participated in the development of more than 17,000 homes and apartments in California and the Pacific Northwest, with total development cost of over $3 billion.
  • Approximately 11,700 apartments currently under property and/or asset management.
  • $3.8 billion in total development cost under construction and in pipeline.
  • Built a track record of successful collaboration with all levels of government, market-rate developers, financial institutions and other nonprofits.
  • Partnered to bring a growing slate of educational, health and wellness programs to residents, with more than 350 programs and services offered today.
  • Created parks and wetlands, child care centers, police substations, libraries and more than 500,000 square feet of community-serving commercial and retail space.
  • Received more than 180 local, national and international awards, including five ULI Global Awards for Excellence.

Featured rendering is courtesy of BRIDGE Housing.

See BRIDGE Housing website.

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