North Ridge Estates clean up

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – A massive cleanup effort is underway at an asbestos-contaminated subdivision in Klamath Falls.

A graduation ceremony was held Tuesday night for 16 people who have completed the ‘Superfund Jobs Training Initiative’.

Shawn Blocker of the Environmental Protection Agency explains:  “It is a program developed by the E.P.A. where we take unemployed, or underemployed people in the communities, send them through all kinds of job trainings, and then they go out and work at a superfund site.”

One of those projects is at North Ridge Estates, where a $30,000,000 asbestos cleanup effort is underway.

The project involved removal of most all of the trees, and replacement of several feet of topsoil.

Richard Gibson is one of the few remaining homeowners. He said, “They took down 180 of our trees, and save about 24, hopefully.  We’re getting ready to dig out two feet of dirt.”

“We actually started moving material, doing the excavation for the site on Monday.”  Adds the E.P.A.’s Blocker.  “And we should really get going by next week.”

Over 170 acres were contaminated with asbestos through demolition of a former military barracks.

Most of the homeowners left in 2005 following a settlement agreement.

“We wish we’d never built here, first of all,” said Gibson. “And then we should have got out when everybody else left.”

Blocker says cleanup at North Ridge will continue through the end of 2018.  “We hope to have nearly a third of the site remediated by the end of this summer.”

Richard and Susan Gibson are being relocated for three months while their property is being decontaminated.

The E.P.A. will host a meeting at the Klamath County Library on Thursday, May 4th from 4 to 7 to discuss the North Ridge Estates project.

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