Final season of asbestos cleanup underway at North Ridge Estates

Klamath Falls, Ore. – A 40 million dollar project to clean up an asbestos contaminated subdivision in Klamath Falls is nearing completion.

Cleanup efforts are in high gear at North Ridge Estates.

“We started construction on the last season of our work here at North Ridge Estates.”  Notes Linda Meyer of the US Environmental Protection Agency.  “Season 3, we’ll be finishing up excavation, and restoring all the properties and getting them ready to sell.”

Improper demolition on a former military barracks resulted in asbestos contamination on over 170 acres.

The contamination wasn’t discovered until more than two dozen high-end homes were built on the site.

North Ridge resident Dennis Bailey says he’s pleased to see the cleanup nearing completion.  “Absolutely.  It’s been a long haul – this all came down in the summer of 2002.”

Once the cleanup is completed, the homes can be put up for sale, and families will return.

“That would be nice.”  Notes Gail Bailey, though she adds with a laugh:  “Not looking forward to a bunch of barking dogs.”

Mrs. Bailey was upset that the cleanup involved the removal of most all trees.  “The trees they planted, wonderful – but we’re never going to see them (grown) in our lifetime.”

Crews are also rebuilding all roads through North Ridge.

Dennis Bailey says he’ll be happy when the project is complete.   “And we’ll be darned glad that we don’t have to hear that ‘beep beep beep’ – heavy equipment, like 12 hours a day.”

Crews are replacing all soil on the site, and burying and capping the contaminated soil at an on-site repository.

The E.P.A. says the amount of soil being replaced would fill about 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful. 

He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.

“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.

When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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