Weiser Livestock Sale Yard - Weiser
The former Weiser Livestock Sale Yard is an 11-acre parcel bounded by West Railroad Street, the Snake River, Mortimer's Island and Wastewater Treatment Facility, and a traffic bridge connecting Weiser, Idaho, to the State of Oregon. Adjacent land uses include the Union Pacific Railroad, Snake River, a traffic bridge connecting Weiser to Oregon, an onion shed, city-owned Mortimer's Island and Wastewater Treatment Facility.
The site, previously used as a sale yard for livestock by the Weiser Livestock Commission, is currently vacant. One small building remains on the site as well as the remains of concrete cattle chutes and multiple piles of highly weathered manure. The property is available for sale and has been for years. One barrier to purchase and redevelopment was the perception of environmental contamination of the property and the adjacent Snake River associated with livestock wastes. The main concern was the potential contamination of soils, ground water, and surface water from nitrates and ammonia due to extended exposure from livestock.
Site Investigation Process
The Washington County Economic Development Commission (WCEDC) submitted an application to DEQ for a Brownfields assessment of the property. WCEDC was working with a group of local citizens and the city of Weiser to develop green space and recreation property along the Snake River and identified this site as a potential candidate for redevelopment. WCEDC recognized the potential environmental condition of the property and wanted to ensure the property was suitable for future recreational use prior to assisting in the acquisition of the property.
DEQ's contractor, URS Corporation, completed a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment of the property in fall 2005. The Phase I assessment documented the site history as well as potential areas of environmental concern, namely the weathered manure piles. DEQ decided that additional assessment was warranted to facilitate potential redevelopment of the sale yard and protect human health and the environment.
In December 2005, another DEQ contractor, TerraGraphics, completed a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment at the sale yard. This assessment focused on the collection and analysis of soil and ground water samples at the site. While the Phase II assessment confirmed the presence of nitrate and ammonia in the site soils and ground water, the concentrations of these contaminants were too low to require cleanup or land use restrictions.
The former Weiser Livestock Sale Yard is being considered as part of a community development project titled Bridge-to-Bridge. The project would create a recreational development along the banks of the Snake River as well as a greenbelt trail system that would connect to the current Weiser River Trail. The site is within walking distance of downtown Weiser and is easily accessible from local businesses and the existing trail system. Local discussion is underway about how to connect the future riverfront development with downtown, a plan that will surely have a positive impact on local businesses.
The Weiser City Council is in support of the Bridge-to-Bridge project, and it was identified as one of the top community objectives in a 2002 Community Review. The development of the sale yard property as a public recreational site will greatly enhance the Bridge-to-Bridge project. The overall project will enhance the quality of life for all residents in Weiser. The Bridge-to-Bridge organization is being established as a 501(c)3 nonprofit and will take the lead for future development of the former Weiser Livestock Sale Yard.