Port begins lower Hanel mill ground work


PORT TOUR takes Anne Medenbach, Hoby Streich, Fred Duckwall and Rich McBride to the former lower Hanel mill in Odell, now a “redevelopment site” for the Port of Hood River. Ground work to clean up the site begins next week.

Photo courtesy of the Port of Hood River
PORT TOUR takes Anne Medenbach, Hoby Streich, Fred Duckwall and Rich McBride to the former lower Hanel mill in Odell, now a “redevelopment site” for the Port of Hood River. Ground work to clean up the site begins next week.



Cleanup time is at hand for the lower Hanel Mill.

The Port of Hood River will begin excavation and groundwork at its newly purchased 9-acre parcel in Odell next week. By the end of fall, the port hopes to turn the abandoned mill site into a buildable piece of land for light industrial businesses.

The lower Hanel Mill property sits just off Highway 35 north of Odell at 3289 Neal Creek Mill Road, near the tracks of Mt. Hood Railroad — a potential spot for businesses in need of rail and highway access. The Port plans to subdivide the 9.3 acres into four lots.

The port bought the property in July after a year of protracted due diligence and environmental studies. Due to the relatively unknown history of the former wood products mill, the port has engaged in extensive environmental studies since it initially planned to buy the property for $850,000 in 2014.

“It’s about as thorough as you can get,” said Anne Medenbach, port development and property manager.

With the help of a $200,000 grant from the EPA’s Oregon Brownfields Cleanup program, which funds historic site restoration projects, the port has undergone multiple environmental and geotechnical studies, as well as minor cleanup activities since last year.

The Department of Environmental Quality issued a “No Further Action” determination in December 2014, which meant “no hazardous material … found on site.”

The top challenge in cleaning up the site, which was formerly a wood product processing facility, is to remove a 100-year-old “log pond” of discarded wood. A blanket of dirt and gravel lies over the top, so the port plans to dig down and excavate the debris — an estimated 13,000 to 15,000 cubic yards of wood waste.

The port has divided the wood waste cleanup into two parts. During Phase 1, crews will remove the wood product from the log pond, and haul it off to be re-used for agricultural purposes. During Phase 2 the pond will be filled and compacted with graded soils and, if needed, imported fill.

The excavation and fill phases of work are expected to take 2-3 weeks, respectively. By the end of November, the port hopes to have saleable land.

Next week, trucks and excavators will start rolling onto the property.

“The traffic impacts should be minimal because most of the work will be contained on site,” said Medenbach, referring to the adjacent highways.

However, Neal Creek Road will be busy. The public is advised to stay off the property during excavation work, not just to avoid trespassing, but for safety reasons.



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