The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is overseeing the cleanup of the 13.4-acre United States Postal Service - Processing and Distribution Center, referred to as the USPS site. Work started in August 2020 with demolition of the former Vehicle Maintenance Facility, and cleanup work will start September 2020, including removal of about 2,200 tons of petroleum-contaminated soils from the north end of the site.
Prosper Portland owns the site and is leading its cleanup and redevelopment as part of the Broadway Corridor project. DEQ's role is to ensure that the cleanup and remediation is performed properly and will be protective of human health and the environment.
Demolition of the Processing and Distribution Center and additional cleanup is expected to begin in spring 2021.
Cleanup Status: Last Updated Sept. 1, 2020
- August: Demolition of the Vehicle Maintenance Facility.
- September-October: Excavation and removal of approximately 2,200 tons of petroleum-contaminated soils from the former Vehicle Maintenance Facility and the former gas plant area at the north end of the site.
Why does this site need to be cleaned up?
The Northern Pacific Terminal Company developed the site as a railyard in the early 1880s. Railcar repairing and cleaning was conducted on the west half of the site, while freight depots operated on the east half (see above figure).
The Pintsch Compressing Company operated a plant in the northwest corner of the site that manufactured compressed gas from crude oil for passenger rail car lighting from about 1893 to 1934.
The USPS facility was constructed on the site in the early 1960s and USPS purchased the site from the railroad in 1974. The facility processed all outgoing mail for the state of Oregon.
In 1993 and 1994, five underground storage tanks at the maintenance facility were decommissioned by removal and a heating oil tank was removed from the south side of the property.
There is some remaining petroleum contamination as well as lead and arsenic from the historic operations on the site. In 2012, DEQ determined that there was no risk to public health and the environment if the site remained in its current condition – as a paved industrial facility operated by the USPS.
Now that redevelopment is beginning, DEQ requires that Prosper Portland remove areas of highly contaminated soils known as hot spots, along with the pockets of petroleum-contaminated soils at the Vehicle Maintenance Facility. The site redevelopment will serve as a cap, where coverage of the site will include buildings, pavement and at least two-foot layer of clean soil.
Frequently Asked Questions
This is a significant cleanup effort in the center of what is now a commercial area of NW Portland. In the past, this site was integral to transportation in the region – the gas plant manufactured the gas to light the rail cars that carried passengers through Union Station. In the 1960s, the site was repurposed for the USPS, and now it will transform again into a new use for present day Portland. Learn more about the Broadway Corridor project and the future of this site.
Prosper Portland estimates that removing the contaminated soil will take about 75 truck trips.
DEQ, Prosper Portland and contractors hired to assist with the cleanup have all established health and safety plans that include protocols for minimizing person-to-person exposure, which can lead to the spread of COVID-19.
Cleanup of the Vehicle Maintenance Facility and former gas manufacturing plan is scheduled to take place from September to October 2020. Demolition of the Processing and Distribution Center and cleanup of the remainder of the site is expected to begin in spring 2021.
This project website contains the most recent information. Additionally, you can contact project managers at DEQ or Prosper Portland below:
DEQ: Kevin Dana, 503-229-5369 |
Prosper Portland: Colin Polk