Department Of Ecology & Port Agree On Lora Lake Cleanup; Public Review Is Thurs., July 23rd

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The Department of Ecology and the Port of Seattle on Thursday (July 2nd) reached an agreement on doing a study and subsequent contamination cleanup at the unoccupied Lora Lake apartment complex in Burien.

The Port-owned property, located at 15001 Des Moines Memorial Drive, once housed a barrel-cleaning company in the 1940s and 50s and an auto-wrecking facility from roughly 1960 to 1981. A 22-building apartment complex was built in 1987, then in 2007 the remaining units were vacated before becoming a rallying point for affordable housing and the prevention of homelessness, with legislators and community activists bearing down on Burien.

The Port, which owns Sea-Tac Airport nearby, bought the property in 1998 and demolished six buildings within the airport’s Third Runway protection zone in 2007.

Environmental samples taken in preparation for that demolition showed higher than expected levels of contaminants from the pre-apartment complex activities at the site.  The legal agreement, known as an Agreed Order, lays out a process under which the Port will evaluate the nature and extent of contamination at the site and assess cleanup options.

Pollutants associated with the site’s former activities include petroleum products, dioxin, solvents and other contaminants.

The Port, meanwhile, plans to demolish the remaining 16 structures on the property because they claim that vacant buildings pose public safety hazards from arson, accidental fires and vandalism. Only above-ground portions will be demolished, and the Port will take measures – under Ecology oversight – to not disturb potentially contaminated soil.

The Department of Ecology will be hosting a public meeting about the site and the cleanup at 7pm on Thursday, July 23rd at the Highline School District’s Educational Resource and Administration Center, located at 15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW. The Lora Lake agreement will be available for public comment through Aug. 10th.

The Agreed Order is available for public review at:

For technical questions or to comment on the plan, please contact David South, Ecology Site Manager, 425-649-7200; e-mail [email protected].  A fact sheet on Lora Lake Apartments site is available at

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