Haunted Highway, Part 3
By Patrick Ahern
Recent construction at the old Gasco building site peaked my interest, once again, in the haunted looking corporate office building of the old Portland Gas and Coke company that stands as a silent sentinel just off highway 30 near Linnton.
I was curious because of the well-known soil contamination at the site (a superfund project), and my belief that nothing could be constructed there until those problems were corrected.
This led to a conversation with Dana Bayuk from the DEQ, a very knowledgeable and helpful individual who explained how the redemption process works:
The general procedure in approaching these sites is to conduct a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS). The RI portion consists of the following parts:
The FS considers what options are available for the cleanup, and what technologies will best address the situation. The Gasco site is at the beginning of planning the FS stage now. It is likely that a combination of different approaches will be used, and although some excavation of the remaining coal tar will most likely be conducted, there will be other methods that might prove just as effective in removing the risks to health and the environment.
The new blue steel building is the beginning part of the process. It's function is to gather the groundwater from the site, treat and filter it, and discharge it into the river. The building process did indeed remove soil from the site which was deposited at a landfill permitted to take contaminated soil and fill material.. Costs are borne by Northwest Natural.
Thus begins the process of the cleaning up the site. Hopefully the once grand old office building can be saved.
There is a great little video about the building's history and the current attempts to save it at: http://vimeo.com/94880678.