A "brownfield" is generally defined in federal and state law as: real property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by the actual, potential, or perceived presence of environmental contamination.
DEQ can help remove environmental barriers to redevelopment by providing technical assistance and other services to assist parties with investigating, cleaning up, and planning reuse of brownfields. See DEQ's brownfields fact sheet.
Many federal, state, and local programs also assist with brownfields. Below are links to programs and funding sources commonly used to assist in brownfield investigation, cleanup, and redevelopment.
Identifying brownfields in Oregon
Every Oregon city and county, whether rural or urban, has vacant, underused and potentially contaminated properties. To get lists of sites that DEQ considers brownfields (sites that have received financial or technical assistance), visit the DEQ Environmental Cleanup Site Information
query page, and click on "Search complete ECSI database." Then, when the fill-in form appears, click the box at the bottom right labeled "Return only Current or Former Brownfield Sites," enter other limiting parameters as desired, and click "Submit."
Opportunities to redevelop old mill sites: DEQ partners with other Oregon state agencies on the Oregon's Collective Impact Mills Project
to provide a centralized searchable inventory and map of over 500 abandoned or diminished wood-product mill sites, which are a significant subset of Oregon’s brownfield sites. The inventory and map can be used to identify the status, location or footprint of abandoned or diminished wood-product mill sites in Oregon.
Business Oregon also provides a comprehensive database of Oregon brownfield sites and buildings. The Oregon Prospector GIS web tool
provides easy access to information about local industrial sites and economy. You can use it to evaluate land supply and pricing data.
Metro offers a tool to identify contaminated cleanup and leaking underground storage tank sites, as well as marginalized communities and park areas, in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. Visit METRO Interactive Site Locator
DEQ Site-Specific Assessments of Brownfields
DEQ performs Site-Specific Assessments, including Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, which are funded by EPA and designed to promote redevelopment or property transfer. An SSA generates detailed information on environmental conditions at a site, and provides recommendations and cost estimates for cleanup, as needed. An SSA helps remove environmental stigma from a property by providing information on whether it is contaminated - and to what extent. DEQ addresses concerns about the site in an advisory capacity; neither DEQ nor EPA will require additional action unless an SSA documents an imminent threat to human health or the environment.
Public entities, non-profit/community development organizations; and "quasi-public" organizations such as port authorities. Private-sector site owners cannot apply directly for an SSA, but may find an appropriate local government to do so on their behalf.
With a few exceptions, almost any property is eligible for an SSA. DEQ gives preference to sites with little or no environmental information, and where community-supported redevelopment plans are in place. SSAs are free to public-sector and non-profit owners who are not responsible for site contamination. Privately held sites must have a local-government sponsor for DEQ to provide an SSA. Additionally, a private owner must agree to help offset the SSA's cost, either through direct repayment, an agreement to discount the property's sale price or fund site cleanup, or other means that can be negotiated with DEQ.
To apply, contact the DEQ Regional Brownfields Program.
Other state resources
Business Oregon provides low-interest loans and grants to help public and private parties finance assessments, cleanups, and redevelopment planning for brownfield sites.
Oregon Health Authority
OHA supports efforts that engage local residents and traditionally underrepresented communities, involve local leaders, foster cross-sector collaboration, and prevent harmful exposures to contamination to plan and improve health through redevelopment and land reuse. See OHA’s Brownfield web page to learn about its Brownfield Initiative.
Local and other brownfield resources
- EPA brownfields home page
- Technical Assistance to Brownfields Communities
EPA’s TAB Program provides technical assistance to communities, states, Tribal Nations and other public entities to help address their brownfield sites and to increase their understanding and involvement in brownfields cleanup, revitalization and reuse. The program supplements other efforts under the Brownfields Program.