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|Articles - September 2011|
|Wednesday, August 24, 2011|
Environmental officials are quick to assert that Oregon’s most expensive publicly funded cleanup is not failing from an environmental perspective. But from a real estate perspective, the $55 million cleanup of the former McCormick & Baxter creosote factory in North Portland has created complications. The property is located next to a former industrial parcel bought by the University of Portland as part of a campaign to create a new “river campus” on the Willamette River waterfront. But UP has held off buying the McCormick & Baxter property because of concerns about the cleanup.
Rather than haul away several million tons of creosote and contaminated debris, officials opted to contain the pollution with barrier walls and two caps, one in the river and another upland. The upland cap has experienced unexpected stress as a result of the biodegradation of waste wood used as a fill underground. Department of Environmental Quality project manager Scott Manzano says the resulting chemical reaction raised groundwater temperatures to 104 degrees, released methane and created a 75-foot conical depression a foot deep.
Manzano says the chemical reaction and the uneven settling of the ground there was “not expected” but “in no way shape or form is that a failure.” After identifying the problem, environmental contractors cut off the oxygen supply to minimize the chemical reaction.
But UP officials turned skittish after contemplating the liability involved with buying tainted property. They backed away from buying the 43-acre property, which they had hoped to redevelop for recreation fields, sports facilities and environmental labs. The university also got tangled up in a legal battle with the Zidell family over the adjacent property, further delaying expansion.
UP assistant vice president James Kuffner says the university hopes to break ground next year on a new riverfront baseball stadium on the former Zidell property and has not given up on the McCormick & Baxter property. “If the DEQ is feeling they’ve made some strides there, it’s probably time for us to check in with them,” he says.
The university has already invested more than $10 million in the area and is likely a year away from moving dirt.
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BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
Carbon pricing is gaining momentum in Oregon, sparking concern for energy-intensive businesses — but also opportunity to expand a homespun green economy.
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The 2014 Bend Venture Conference set a record for the most cash, investments and prizes awarded at an angel conference in the Pacific Northwest. Investments in the six winning companies exceeded $1 million. The 11th annual conference was hosted by Economic Development of Central Oregon.
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Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.
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BY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR
The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.
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Catching up with Amen Teter, Portland-based global director of action sports for Octagon Olympics & Action sports talent agency.
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Is your business ready to join us in the call for action? This opening panel includes Oregon businesses who will discuss why they signed the Oregon Climate Declaration, the investments they are making to reduce carbon emissions, and how their actions are affecting their companies.
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The official launch will be Jan. 14.
In a switch on the traditional trade show, representatives from UO departments and local and state agencies will host tables to connect with businesses and vendors. The fourth Reverse Vendor Fair will take place Wednesday, Feb. 25, in Eugene.