The City of Milwaukie – “What were they thinking?”

This is a field about one mile from where I live. There is an apartment complex across the street to the north. I often see people who I guess live in the apartments walking their dogs or letting them run on this property. The City of Milwaukie has planted some flowers and ground cover and placed two benches on the NE corner of the property.

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I have often wondered about the area fenced off with warning signs on it so I did some Google research and found the information about the environmental hazard on the state’s DEQ website.

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It really makes me want to know why the city invested any money to beautify this property if right next to it is an enviromental hazard. What were they thinking? My tax dollars at work!

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From the Oregon DEQ website:

Site History:
Contamination Information: Environmental investigations conducted since 1989 have revealed the presence of PAH contamination in on-site soils to depths greater than 40 feet bgs, in off-site soils beneath the adjacent SPTCo railroad right-of-way, and on the Milwaukie Marketplace. The investigations have also revealed the presence of elevated PAHs in on-site groundwater.
Manner and Time of Release: Past practices and vandalism at pole-treating facility caused releases of creosote. The facility operated from the 1920s to 1953. Ten thousand gallons were released in 1951 when young vandals opened valves on the creosote vats.
Hazardous Substances/Waste Types: The contaminants of concern are constituents of creosote: polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dibenzofurans.
Pathways: On-site and off-site soils are contaminated; on-site groundwater contaminated; off-site groundwater threatened. PAHs detected in on-site and off-site soils and in on-site groundwater may threaten the Milwaukie drinking water supply. (Two city supply wells are located adjacent to the site.) Current land use within 0.5 mile of the site is primarily residential and commercial. The site is located near a wetlands area.
Environmental/Health Threats: Soil and groundwater contamination confirmed. Milwaukie drinking water supply wells located adjacent to site; wetlands adjacent to site; site is located in residential area adjacent to shopping center. Potential threats to humans by contact with site soils and ingestion of drinking water.