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Campus Expansion: McCormick & Baxter Property
The University of Portland has engaged in preliminary discussions with the owners of the McCormick and Baxter site regarding the possibility of purchasing their property. However, there are a number of issues that must be resolved, including determining the best use of the property with the University’s public partners, reaching an agreement on price and timeline for a purchase and sale agreement, signing a PPA with the EPA, and determining the University’s role in the stewardship of the land. Because the property was named a superfund site, the process to remediate the land and transfer ownership would take much longer than normal. The University’s utmost concern is the health and safety of its students, faculty, and staff.
The McCormick and Baxter property is owned by the McCormick and Baxter Creosoting Company, which operated between 1944 and 1991. The company treated wood products with creosote, pentachloro-phenol and inorganic preservatives, and discharged its wastewaters directly into the Columbia River. The site was investigated by the DEQ between September 1990 and September 1992, and a cleanup plan was proposed in 1993. DEQ began a number of cleanup procedures including demolishing the plant, removing soil and extracting creosote. The site was later listed on the National Priorities List by the EPA in 1994, and later became a Superfund site.
Since 1994, extensive cleanup efforts have been made by both the DEQ and EPA to remedy the groundwater and soil pollution, including removal of polluted soil and pilings, creosote extraction, installation of fresh soil and a sediment cap to prevent further seepage into the Willamette River.