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City takes a closer look at Boise property

Environmental site assessment first step in possible purchase of Boise Inc. property next to Olde Towne St. Helens


by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: KATIE WILSON - St. Helens city officials say they are in negotiation with Boise Inc., for the purchase of a 17-acre waterfront property. A Brownfields Redevelopment Fund Grant Agreement signed May 16 between the city and the state will take a closer look at any contamination at the site.The city of St. Helens has entered into an agreement with the state for an environmental site assessment of riverfront Boise Inc. property for sale near downtown St. Helens.

The city has long been interested in the 17-acre property. With its water access and proximity to downtown St. Helens, the city has viewed the property as a way to expand Olde Towne’s commercial and residential options. Earlier this year, city officials revealed they were in negotiations with the company to explore a purchase of the property, formerly the site of a veneer plant. The site assessment puts them one step closer.

The environmental site assessment is similar to a home inspection: intended to root out problems before a buyer purchases a home.

“We don’t know if it’s contaminated at all,” said St. Helens City Administrator John Walsh about the former industrial site.

The Brownfields Redevelopment Fund Grant Agreement was approved by the St. Helens City Council in regular session May 16 and gives the city $60,000 to complete the assessment. The city will be required to provide $6,000 in matching funds.

Mayor Randy Peterson believes the money should be enough to cover all the assessment work.

“We don’t know for sure,” he said. “The thought is that it will pay for all of it.”

The state fund is dedicated to getting fallow properties back on the tax roll, Walsh explained, since “a lot of the time, they’re ideally located.”

Boise has been working to clear the site for a number of months now. The property has an appraised value of $3 million and went on the market last summer.