As the July issue of THE BEE went to press, concerns of Westmoreland and Sellwood neighbors had arisen, during the demolition of the Fred G. Meyer Memorial Boys & Girls Club building, when – after the major portion of the structure had been demolished – a "tented" area warning of asbestos appeared inside the remaining structure.
The sealed-off area, replete with ominous-looking asbestos warning tape caused concerns that this demolition might have taken place without an inspection and abatement plan approved by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
On July 24, the DEQ's NW Region Asbestos Program person, Susan Farland, e-mailed THE BEE an "Asbestos System – Project Summary Report", end date of May 12, 1989, which contained little information. "The project was completed long enough ago that it is past our retention schedule; therefore no original exists, [the] only copy from online database is] attached," Farland wrote with the cover note.
THE BEE responded, sending Farland photos of the 2017 tented Asbestos Hazard Area, asking if this remediation project was unknown to DEQ.
In a subsequent e-mail sent by Farland on July 25, she wrote,
"I have found an additional record for your request (see attached copy of notification). The contractor made a clerical error slightly with the address, which is why it didn't show up in our original search; that has been corrected. The contractor will be sending additional information on this site today and I will forward that upon receipt."
The two attached "Asbestos System – Project Summary Report" forms showed that this analysis began on July 14 and ended on July 21, but provided little meaningful information.
The paperwork did indicate that testing was done by MESA Environmental LLC; other than that the asbestos remediation was performed by Richard "Rick" Zillmer of Zilco NW, LLC – a firm with a colorful past, as documented by the Oregon Construction Contractor's Licensing Board.
Asking for help deciphering the forms, and learn about asbestos remediation at the site, Farland suggested speaking with Zeb Bates of the DEQ Asbestos Program.
"In November, 2016, East Bank LLC hired MESA Environmental, who did a very good survey of the building," Bates told THE BEE.
"That inspection identified asbestos-containing materials," Bates said. "The amount of asbestos found was small. When the area of asbestos is under 40 sq. ft. or 80 linear feet, [it] can be reported as part of the contractor's annual 'small-scale notification' report; that material was removed."
During the actual building demolition that began in late June, Bates told THE BEE that the crew found floor tile, suspected of containing asbestos, under a "rat slab" – a thin layer of poured cement.
"The demolition stopped, and they had had Mesa collect samples; then Zilco NW, LLC removed the materials from the site," Bates reported.
So, after a rather labyrinthine inquiry by THE BEE, it appears in this case that the developer, and its contractors, did follow the rules and laws, and they did not expose the neighborhood to danger from asbestos exposure.If you would like to examine the three documents THE BEE received from the DEQ for yourself, you will find them here: >tinyurl.com/ya9ypwzg