What is a Brownfield?

A brownfield is a property, of which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence, or potential presence, of an environmental issue.

Community Assessment - Baker City and La Grande

What is a Brownfield?

A brownfield is a property, of which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence, or potential presence, of an environmental issue.

It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, facilitates job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures off of undeveloped, open land, and both improves and protects the environment. By completing environmental site studies that would aid in overcoming redevelopment challenges, it is possible to transform brownfields from liabilities into assets that will benefit both property owners and the community.

In 2020, BTI, Baker City, EOU, and La Grande formed a coalition and received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide free environmental studies to aid property owners in obtaining financing, engage through property transactions, and overcome redevelopment challenges.

Stantec, a consulting firm with a widely recognized brownfield team, is advising the coalition in implementing a program to use these funds to provide environmental site assessment, planning, and other services to aid property owners in Baker City and La Grande as well as involve BTI and EOU students as an educational opportunity in community revitalization.

Have a Property in Mind?

Fact Sheet – community’s role in the program.

Process Guide for Property Owners & Stakeholders – Find out more about the steps taken to receive funding, assessment, or planning activities for a property.

Nomination Form - Nominate a property for assistance. For best results, download the form and save it to your computer before entering information.

Access Agreement – If your property is selected for the program, please fill out this access agreement to allow work to begin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn More

Public involvement is important for establishing a successful brownfield revitalization program. Public meeting notices are shared on BTI’s calendar.

Do you have questions about redeveloping a potential brownfield property? Contact grant consultant Jacqueline Brenner at Jacqueline.Brenner@stantec.com or 503-220-5420.

Project Updates – Fall 2022

Public Involvement Plan – Through our partnership with EOU, students put together a public involvement plan that is currently in review by EPA demonstrating community outreach efforts and responsibilities during the grant period. This will be available for public review.

Baker City

Baker School District 10th Street Lot, 3110 10th Street – A Phase I ESA has been completed at this property. Largely due to sawmill saw dust fill material hindering development at the property, a geophysical survey was recommended and was approved for the site. This work is expected to be completed Fall 2022.

La Grande

Bonenkamp Building (Mountain Works), 1301 Adams Avenue – A regulated building material survey, including asbestos and lead-based paint sampling, has been completed in support of possible redevelopment of the vacant upper floors of the building to be converted into housing. Additionally, EOU students worked to assist the property owner in identifying additional funding for a new elevator to support the redevelopment.

Globe Furniture Warehouse, 1501 Jefferson Avenue – A Phase I ESA was completed at the property.

Old Miller’s Lumber, 307 Greenwood Avenue – A Phase I ESA was completed at the property.

Mountain West Moving, 1305-1315 Jefferson Avenue – A Phase I ESA is in progress at the property.

Central Building

Located at 2425 Washington Ave., the 1.46-acre Central Building property is occupied by the 57,000 square foot former Baker High School (1917-1952) and Baker Middle School (1953-2009) school building. It was constructed by Ellis F. Lawrence, the founder of the School of Architecture at the University of Oregon. It is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and has been vacant since 2009.

Project Update – Fall 2022

A Phase I ESA was conducted in 2019 prior to BTI’s acquisition. A regulated building materials survey, including asbestos and lead-based paint sampling, was also completed at this time. This work was funded by a Brownfield Assessment Grant from Business Oregon. In 2020, BTI received a $500,000 EPA Brownfield Cleanup Grant. Due to COVID, cleanup work was delayed to the end of 2021. The Central Building is currently slated for roof asbestos abatement to begin spring/summer of 2023. Additional funding is being secured for a new roof. Interior asbestos and lead-based paint abatement will occur once the building envelope is sealed when the roof is replaced.

Student Involvement

BTI students put together an RFP for the environmental consultant, and reviewed the proposals received, conducted interviews and selected a consultant. They also job shadowed the consultant in conducting the Phase I ESA and in the identification of asbestos and lead-based paint. EOU students are currently assisting in community outreach, including creating signage for the building and helping plan public meetings.

Other Projects - The Umatilla Property

The Umatilla property is located at 28895 and 28899 Hwy 730 addresses in Umatilla, Oregon. It’s owned by the City of Umatilla and zoned Planned Commercial in the Urban Growth Boundary of the City of Umatilla. It is 1.55 acres of land developed with four buildings: a former restaurant/auto repair facility, gas station, single-family residence, and stand-alone truck stop bathroom/shower facility, and their associated parking areas. It has been vacant since at least 2020 when the City of Umatilla took ownership. The Property is located west and across the Umatilla River from downtown Umatilla and south of the Irrigon Wildlife Area adjoining the Columbia and Umatilla River.

Project Update – Fall 2022

A Phase I ESA is underway and prior gas station and auto repair use are leading to a Phase II ESA. EOU students are conducting the site visit, interviews, and some historical record review associated with the property, and will participate in Phase II ESA activities as they are scheduled.