Broken down and unused properties are more than just eye-sores—they may contain chemicals or other public health hazards. But testing for contaminates can be a costly process. A Eugene/Springfield coalition wants to help fund these assessments.
A brownfield is any type of previously developed property with real or perceived environmental contamination, like an old gas station, dry cleaner, or lumber mill. These properties are often found in low income and industrial neighborhoods.
That's according to Anne Fifield, economic development planner with the City of Eugene. She says there are about 400 known brownfields in Eugene and Springfield.
Fifield: "The trouble with a brownfield is we don't know if it's bad, if it's terrible, or if it's not a problem at all. We don't know. It's a lot of uncertainty."
That means it could be an inexpensive fix, Fifield says, or it could cost tens of thousands of dollars to measure the levels of contamination.
Fifield says Lane County and the Cities of Eugene and Springfield created the Brownfields Coalition, which is funded through EPA grant money. So far the group has helped assess 15 properties now planned for redevelopment.
The Eugene Brownfields Coalition hosts an open house Thursday, December 1st, 2016, from 2-6 p.m. at Echo Hollow Pool.