Sources: Portland Superfund talks in high gear
The City Council could take a major step toward cleaning up the Portland Harbor Superfund site next week.
Mayor Ted Wheeler requested a $6 million interagency fund transfer to the Bureau of Environmental Services for continued work cleaning up the harbor. The city is one of more than 100 potentially responsible parties identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that contributed to the pollution that prompted the superfund designation in 2000. The EPA has said the site must be in planning or progress for cleanup design by the end of 2019.
The superfund site is located in the lower Willamette River, just south of the Columbia Slough and north of the Broadway Bridge. Portland and the other potentially responsible parties have been in confidential settlement negotiations with the EPA for the past few years. Cleanup costs are estimated at around $1 billion.
Talks about moving Hazelnut Grove homeless heat up
St. Johns residents are split over whether to relocate the controversial Hazelnut Grove homeless camp to a vacant lot owned by the St. Johns Church at 8005 N. Richmond St.
The church has offered to lease the lot to the Do Good Multnomah nonprofit organization for the camp, which is under community pressure to leave the Overlook neighborhood, where it has been located for several years.
The St. Johns Neighborhood Association will host a discussion on the relocation at its Monday, May 13, meeting. Church members and some residents support the relocation as a humane solution to the current dispute. Other residents oppose the move, saying the site is too close to several schools, among other things. The city-county Joint Office of Homeless Services would help pay for its ongoing operation.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the St. John's Community Center, 8427 N. Central St. No association vote is scheduled on the relocation.
Masonry fight continues
Attorneys for the city of Portland and some unreinforced masonry building owners are fighting over how many questions former Commissioner Dan Saltzman should be required to answer in the federal lawsuit over them.
Before he left the council in January, Saltzman, an engineer by training, was the strongest advocate for requiring owners of unreinforced masonry buildings to post signs warning that the buildings could collapse in earthquakes.
He then wrote an opinion piece published in the Feb. 19 issue of The Oregonian urging the council to not delay the posting requirements for private buildings owners as proposed by Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who replaced him.
Attorneys for building owners want to question Saltzman about his work and advocacy on the requirement, both before and after he left office. City attorneys want to limit the questions to just some of what he did in office.
A hearing on the issue was scheduled for earlier this week. A hearing on the injunction sought by building owners is set for May 14 and 15 before U.S. District Magistrate Judge John Acosta.
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