Just before the July 4th holiday weekend, demolition crews moved in and started tearing down the Meyer Memorial Boys & Girls Club in Westmoreland, to make way for a full-block apartment structure.
The newest part of the club complex, the gymnasium, was the first section to be dismantled – taken apart in mere hours on June 30 by an excavator with a grip claw, which ripped apart the walls, and removed the beams.
Throughout the demolition process, neighbors wondered if steps were being taken to protect the environment from lead paint and asbestos debris.
As the following week proceeded, the wrecking crew chewed through the building – from where the gym once stood, working eastward toward S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, mowing down the next newest section of the building.
On July 14, resident Gail Hoffnagle, currently Vice President of neighborhood association SMILE, noticed that demolition workers had constructed a containment area, completely encasing the still-standing fragment of the old Safeway Store that had previously occupied the site in plastic sheeting – with "Asbestos Danger" tape clearly stuck to the side.
"I wonder how much asbestos was released before they tested or discovered it?" mused Hoffnagle.
In an effort to discover the answer, THE BEE called Portland representatives of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to learn when an "Asbestos Removal Permit" was issued, and any other pertinent facts.
We were directed to file an official DEQ Public Records Request.
The response we received when we did so: "In accordance with ORS 192.440(2), this is to acknowledge that your request for DEQ records has been received. We will contact you regarding this request as soon as possible."
THE BEE will update this story as more information is available.
After the demolition is complete, construction will begin on a four-story, 232 unit apartment building, being developed by "NBP Capital".