U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also awards grant to Sherwood to transform former Frontier Leather Tannery

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced that Tigard was awarded two grants in the competitive Brownfields Assessment Grants Program.

The grants total $400,000 and will be used to take inventory, assess, and conduct planning and community involvement as they relate to brownfield sites. Tigard is one of five redevelopment projects in Oregon to receive some of the $1.55 million in 2014 brownfields funding.

A brownfield site is a potentially contaminated industrial or commercial property being considered for redevelopment.

“Addressing brownfields is a key component in encouraging economic development and promoting public health,” said Community Development Director Kenny Asher. “These properties tend to be strategically located, and redevelopment is necessary for Tigard to become a more interesting and walkable place. But, the contamination needs to be solved first.”

The EPA grants will aid Tigard's goal to clean up key sites and put them to use. The money will be focused on the downtown area and the 1,100 acres of industrial and employment land. All of this is important in advancing the city's Brownfield Initiative, which engages property owners and residents to plan for the productive reuse of contaminated properties, Asher said.

“The city is looking forward to working with its community partners to address the key issue of contaminated properties, and creating a more livable, walkable and economically resilient community,” said Tigard Mayor John Cook.

Sherwood was also a recipient of grant funds from the EPA, totally $200,000. The money will be used to combat a 25-acre portion of the former Frontier Leather Tannery, which has been vacant since 1999.

“The EPA funding will allow the city to assess and plan for cleanup of the former Frontier Leather Tannery property in order to redevelop this site in the future,” said Sherwood Mayor Bill Middleton. “This will greatly increase economic opportunities in the community. Bringing this property back into productive use is a critical part of our long-term downtown plan.”

According to Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Merkley, who supporting these funding requests, these grants will create good-paying, green jobs while allowing each city to accelerate the redevelopment of the brownfield sites.

“This funding is a major win for Oregon’s natural resources, our citizens’ health and our economy,” Merkley said. “Redeveloping brownfield sites will ignite growth in these communities, revitalize properties long forgotten, and most importantly, put Oregonians to work.”

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