compiled by Steve Weatherly 12 Feb 12
The operation and closing of a radar site included waste disposal. What follows is an environmental assessment of wastes removed from Mt Hebo AFS in 1977, during the period of site demolition from 1983 to 1986, and current conditions as of Sep 2010. The 1977 waste went to the Pacific City Disposal site at 38255 Brooten Rd. Pacific City 97135, Tillamook County, Oregon.
The following is included in the Oregon Environmental Cleanup Site Information (ECSI) Database, Site Summary Full Report - Details for Site ID 927, Pacific City Disposal Site. The data in this report is considered current through February 11, 2012.
"A U.S. Air Force contractor hauled wastes from Mt. Hebo Air Force Station (AFS) (ECSI #181) to this landfill in 1977 (building materials, roofing materials, construction materials). Landfill waste receipts suggest this may have amounted to about 1,100 cu. yds. of compacted wastes brought to the dump in July thru October 1977. DEQ directed Mt. Hebo AFS to cease such disposals, as well as sewage disposals, at the dump on November 1, 1977.
The Mt. Hebo ASF (SIC) was inactivated in 1980, and demolished in 1983-86. Demolition wastes from the AFS contained PCBs and asbestos. In addition, blood tests and behavioral changes of an on-site demolition contractor at the Mt. Hebo AFS indicated that he suffered from lead intoxication, so lead may also have been a contaminant at the former AFS. There is no indication that any of these demolition wastes were sent to the Pacific City Disposal site, although AFS wastes sent to Pacific City Disposal in 1977 were never fully characterized or analyzed."
With respect to hazardous materials and waste types, the Pacific City Disposal Site report includes the following statement. "Building debris that was sent to the site from the Mt. Hebo Air Force Station (AFS) in 1977 probably contained asphalt (PAHs in roofing material) and may also have contained asbestos, PCBs, and lead."
I donít know what activity resulted in the 1977 waste disposal activity. Clearly, the 1983 to 1986 period involved the demolition of the entire Mt Hebo AFS and its return to a natural state. The disposal location for the resulting wastes is unknown.
When I walked the site in Sep 2010 during the reunion, there was not much residual debris on the surface. I saw very limited pieces of electrical wire, roofing shingles, and metal pipes and rods. There were no mounds of debris, large chunks of broken up concrete, and no recognizable building materials. Some manholes were seen near the old power house. There is also some of the old foundation for the FPS-24 radome support structure. Only the old operations area has large areas of exposed soil with little vegetation.
I did see what appears to be a substantial remaining portion of the former sewer treatment facility to the northwest and lower down the mountain top than the former operations area. Considerable brush partially hides the concrete remains and it is not easily visible from the former operations area.
None of the houses are left in the former housing area. Since I did not walk this area, I do not know about the supporting infrastructure such as the road that circled through the area, and the underground facilities like water and drainage. I did not go to the housing area pump station, or sewer treatment facility.
In addition, I did not go to the Three Rivers water source (about 2500 feet down the south side of Mt Hebo) or itsí pumping station and water distribution pipe lines and power cables.
I also did not visit the firing range, the GATR site, or the old auto hobby site. I did notice that the protected wire distribution cable path to/from the GATR site is still beside the road. The GATR access road is no longer paved.
The 4 emergency telephones that went from the housing area along the access road to the top of Mt Hebo are gone, but I do not know if the cable was removed.
Now that I have also seen other former radar stations, I can say with conviction that I would rather see nothing left than mounds of rubble, decaying buildings, and graffiti. To this end, the higher elevations of Mt Hebo are now reclaimed by the Siuslaw National Forest and serve a worthwhile recreational purpose. The views are still spectacular and include mountains like Mt Hood and the Pacific Ocean.
Notes: DEQ is the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. The full report is at: http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/ECSI/ecsidetailfull.asp?seqnbr=927#photos