Bend, Oregon - A non-profit organization known as the Sunriver Owners Association filed a lawsuit against the federal government in July 2010, claiming there was asbestos left on the site where their housing development was built in 1968. This week, the government agreed to pay $500,000 to settle the lawsuit.
According to an article in the Portland Business Journal, the organization provides road maintenance and other services to 4,000 member homes in the Sunriver development near Bend, Oregon. The homes sit on land that was once occupied by Camp Abbott, formerly a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers training camp.
Most of the buildings in Camp Abbott were demolished around 1944. However, the Army abandoned some asbestos-laden materials at the site. Though the houses in Sunriver were built beginning in 1968, the association didn’t discover the asbestos debris until 2002. Now, the money paid by the federal government will help recover the costs of asbestos removal at the site.
The asbestos remediation would have cost $3.2 million dollars, noted the article, but the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality agreed to put a “cap” on the contaminated soil by building the Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic & Recreation Center on the 22-acre site. Now, homeowners can breathe a sigh of relief and will be less concerned about the dangers of asbestos exposure, which can result in the development of lung diseases, including mesothelioma cancer.
“We are pleased this dispute has been resolved fairly and that the United States accepted responsibility,” said Bill Peck, general manager of the association. “Our homeowners were able to recoup almost all of the costs of dealing with the asbestos contamination. Sunriver developed a beautiful new recreation facility, the environmental hazards of the site were remediated, and the cleanup cost was reduced by more than $2.5 million.”