This bill establishes and allocates funding to the Oregon Brownfield Properties Revitalization Fund to support a forgivable loan program for owners or operators of brownfield properties that incur eligible costs in the recovery of the brownfield property. Requires Business Oregon to develop the forgivable loan program for minority-owned and woman-owned businesses and emerging small businesses controlled by socially disadvantaged individuals. Establishes limits on total forgivable loans and purposes for which loan proceeds may be used.
Establishes Oregon Brownfield Properties Revitalization Fund with an appropriation of $5,000,000 from the General Fund to the Department for purposes of the forgivable loan program. Specifies amount of forgivable loan equal to the lesser of 50 percent of eligible costs incurred by owner or operator or $250,000. Allows additional forgivable loan equal to 25 percent of eligible costs for up to two specified enhancements owner or operator includes in removal or remedial action. Limits total amount of forgivable loan to lesser of 100 percent of eligible costs incurred by owner or operator or $500,000. Allows additional forgivable loan enhancement for specified uses of brownfield property after completion equal to lesser of 25 percent of eligible costs incurred by owner or operator or $125,000.
ORS 285A.185 defines “brownfield” as real property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by actual or perceived environmental contamination. Business Oregon’s Brownfields Program is available to provide financing for the full range of environmental activities, assessment through cleanup, associated with brownfields redevelopment. Business Oregon works closely with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to ensure that a project’s scope and scale of work will not only achieve environmental compliance but also will meet the needs of the redevelopment project. The purpose of Business Oregon’s Brownfields Program is to assist individuals, nonprofit organizations and local governments with financing to evaluate, cleanup and redevelop brownfields. The Department manages two brownfields financing programs: 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. HB 2518A requires Business Oregon to develop the forgivable loan program for minority-owned and woman-owned businesses and emerging small businesses. This is straying from focus on restoring Brownfields and obligates the state (taxpayers) to pay for the restoration so social disadvantaged can use it for businesses. It creates discrimination that goes against U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruling to approved a temporary restraining order forbidding President Biden’s administration from giving out grants in a program aimed at prioritizing applicants due to their race and/or gender