Klamath Falls, Ore. – A 40 million dollar cleanup project is now complete at an asbestos contaminated housing development in Klamath Falls.
Dennis and Gail Bailey began building their dream home at North Ridge Estates 16 years ago.
Dennis Bailey recalls, “When the bad stuff was discovered in a place down the road from us that was also being built.”
That ‘bad stuff’ was asbestos – left from demolition of a World War II military barracks.
Residents and neighbors met to mark the end of the cleanup Tuesday evening.
“We’re celebrating the end of our three year construction project here at North Ridge Estates.” Notes Linda Meyer of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The cleanup involved removing and capping about 360 thousand cubic yards of contaminated soil, and cutting down over 800 trees on the 125 acre site.
Gail Bailey was first drawn to North Ridge because of the trees.
“They’ve come in and planted some trees.” Noted Bailey. “The trees, of course, I won’t see in my lifetime.”
E.P.A. officials say the Superfund cleanup provided an economic boost.
“We hired about 95 percent of the work.” Linda Meyer pointed out. “And the contracts stayed within the Klamath County area.”
Homes couldn’t be sold, and loans couldn’t be made to homeowners once the contamination was discovered.
While Dennis and Gail Bailey have been North Ridge residents for the duration, they can now sell their home.
“Getting kind of old.” Said Dennis Bailey. “There’s a lot of snow up here. Maybe we’ll not like it, sell, and move to the coast – who knows?”
The next phase will involve monitoring plant growth, and the effectiveness of the soil capping.
Following the cleanup, 17 restored homes at North Ridge will be available for sale, with 3 homes listed for sale this year.
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