OHA's Brownfields Initiative teamed up with the Environmental Health Assessment Program (EHAP) to conduct a Health Consultation (pdf)
for the Cully Park site. The Health Consultation (HC) reports on soil and air sampling meant to ensure there are no human health risks associated with the former landfill and that the site can be safely used as a park for generations to come.
The report indicates all contaminants tested for are at levels typical of those found in urban environments, and are considered to be too low to be of concern for human health. Summaries of the report are available in English
What are Brownfields?
Brownfields are inactive, underused or abandoned properties that may also have contamination issues. Examples include former gas stations, laundromats, mill sites, or landfills. These properties are located throughout the state and in most communities. People living near brownfields may have concerns related to the property. Public health involvement ensures that concerns relating to health and safety are considered as a site is assessed, cleaned up and redeveloped.
The Brownfields Initiative is committed to involving community members, identifying actions that support healthy living, fostering collaboration among stakeholders, providing education, and understanding the health benefits of brownfield redevelopment. The Brownfields Initiative works with EHAP to identify, assess and prevent health risks at sites with chemical contamination concerns.
New! Healthy Urban Gardening fact sheet:
OHA has released this fact sheet (pdf)
, which provides information on gardening in urban environments, where contamination may be a concern.
Cully Park: Improving health through community partnerships
The Cully Park property is 25-acres of fenced, mounded open space, offering spectacular views of the surrounding area. It is located between NE 72nd and 78th Avenues, and NE Columbia Boulevard and Killingsworth Street.
In 2011, the Let Us Build Cully Park! (LUBCP!) Coalition collected over 200 surveys to assess community awareness of the Cully Park project, community issues, and community interest in participating in park development activities. The results of this survey (pdf) informed the development of a Community Involvement Committee (CIC). The CIC was formed to keep the community in the driver's seat throughout the process of the site's redevelopment. The CIC reflected the diversity of the Cully neighborhood, and included youth, Latino, Somali, low-income residents, low-income housing providers, tribal people, longtime neighborhood residents, and newcomers to the neighborhood.
The Brownfields Initiative, DEQ, Verde and members of the CIC met monthly from January to September 2012. All meetings included childcare, translated materials, interpreter services, and transportation assistance. Learning opportunities included sharing information about government processes and the science behind risk assessment, field trips to participate in the air and soil sampling events at the park and a visit to the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services Laboratory.
Along side Cully Park is a smaller piece of property where the community came together to build a community garden. The City of Portland Brownfields Program was involved in assessing
the community garden site. The Environmental Health Assessment Program's HC
provides a green light to begin developing the full 25-acre park, which will include many features that are designed and developed by the community (see next steps).
Nationwide, there are many examples
of parks built over former landfills, and many more will be in the future as land for parks, green spaces, wildlife and recreation becomes less available in urban areas.
The first phase of Cully Park includes a community garden, a playground, a tribal gathering garden, a basketball court, a youth soccer field, a picnic area, an off-leash dog area and walking trails. Pedestrian access improvements are also planned as well as space for parking.
The Brownfields Initiative is continuing to work with Verde, the LUBCP! Coalition, and local residents to develop a baseline community health profile, a set of health indicators (measures that indicate the community's state of health), and a plan to track community health benefits as the park is redeveloped and opened to the community.
City of Portland Brownfields Program
Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
Oregon Business Development Division (OBDD) / Business Oregon
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
For more information contact:
Kari Christensen, MPH | Brownfields Coordinator
Public Health Division, Oregon Health Authority
971-673-1211 | email@example.com
*The Brownfields Initiative is funded by a grant from the "Community Health Projects Related to Contamination at Land Reuse and Brownfield Sites Program" within the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.