A brownfield is property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by actual or perceived environmental contamination. Oregon's Brownfields Program is available to provide financing for the full range of environmental activitiesassessment through cleanupassociated with brownfields redevelopment. The department works closely with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to ensure that a project's scope of work will achieve environmental compliance and meet the needs of the redevelopment project.
The benefits of redeveloping brownfields include:
- promoting economic development,
- enabling efficient land use,
- minimizing the construction of new service infrastructure,
- facilitating the resolution of environmental justice issues and
- protecting environmental and human health.
The purpose of the Brownfields Program is to assist individuals, non-profit organizations and local governments with financing to evaluate, cleanup and redevelop brownfields. The department manages two brownfields financing funds: the Oregon Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, funded by proceeds from the sale of state revenue bonds; and the Oregon Coalition Brownfields Cleanup Fund, capitalized through a revolving loan grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Any individual, business, non-profit organization, prospective purchaser, municipality, special district, port or tribe may make application to the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund.
Environmental actions funded through this program must be linked to site redevelopment that facilitates economic development or community revitalization. Examples of eligible redevelopment projects the program will support include business development projects, industrial lands capacity projects, community facility projects and downtown or mixed-use center revitalization projects. Examples of ineligible projects include market-rate housing projects and cleanup projects not associated with redevelopment.
Both programs are primarily revolving loan programs; however limited grants can be awarded on a case-by-case basis for publicly-owned projects, depending on a financial analysis of the applicant's debt capacity and public benefits of the redevelopment project. Financial analysis of an applicant's ability to repay a loan is the primary method the department uses to manage and allocate limited grant resources. Examples of public benefits that factor into the funding decision include family-wage job creation assistance to rural or economically distressed communities; or addressing an urgent need of a local population. The department sets the interest rate and the terms of loan repayment with consideration to the applicant's ability to repay, credit worthiness, economic benefit of the project and use of proceeds as defined in the project. The maximum term of a loan can not exceed 20 years from the date of loan closing.