North Ridge asbestos cleanup nears completion

Klamath Falls, Ore. – Crews are putting the finishing touches on a 40 million dollar project to remove asbestos from a contaminated subdivision near Klamath Falls.

Susan Newton has been watching the North Ridge cleanup from the start.  “Drastically changed landscape – we didn’t know how many trees they were taking, it’s just totally different.”

Linda Meyer of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes the cleanup is almost complete.  “We’re in the last few weeks of the remediation project, of this three year project for cleaning up the superfund site.”

The site was used as  Marine recuperation barracks following World War II.

The buildings were demolished in the late 1970’s.

Asbestos contamination was discovered about 18 years ago, after two dozen homes were built on the site in the late 90’s.

“We’ve taken care of the asbestos problem.”  Meyer says.  “By excavating all of the properties within the footprint of this historic development.”

“And what a difference.”  Adds Klamath Falls Mayor Carol Westfall.  “The trees are gone – but if you look around, it’s beautiful – they’ve hydroseeded that whole area.”

The hydroseeding will allow new lawns to grow on clean soil.

But, some believe the cleanup project isn’t worth the 40 million dollar price tag.

Newton doesn’t believe the asbestos posed that much of a risk.  “I trust Jesus with my health.  I’m healthy – and so this is not, I feel it’s political.”

Mayor Westfall says she’s just happy that the project is nearing completion.  “Cleaning up this site was a huge deal.  We had a big problem here.”

Two houses at North Ridge are expected to go up for sale next month.

An event to mark completion of the North Ridge Estates cleanup effort will be held later in October.

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