Fred Meyer building should come down in environmentally sound way

When Gresham looks into its future, it sees green - monetarily as well as environmentally.

The concept of sustainability is one with great appeal in Oregon, and the city appropriately is giving more than lip service to the idea that environmental sensibility can help - not hurt - the local economy. The city has discussed the prospect of sustainable industries forming a cluster in the Springwater community. It also is trying to walk its talk by using green practices as it conducts its own business.

Now, the City Council - acting as the Gresham Urban Renewal Commission - is considering whether to employ green deconstruction in the removal of the old Fred Meyer building in Rockwood. We would say yes to that question, within reason.

The traditional method of knocking down buildings requires either a wrecking ball or explosives. Such demolitions stir up air pollution and also leave piles of debris to be carted off to landfills. Green deconstruction, on the other hand, involves taking the building apart in phases and salvaging reuseable materials such as sinks, light fixtures, wood, concrete, doors and windows.

The only drawback to the more painstaking process is that it can take longer and cost more. The city is asking for contractors to bid it both ways - quick and dirty, or slow and clean.

We believe most citizens would prefer the latter, and would be willing to pay a small differential. And we would hope that the more rational process of tearing down buildings will become the cost-effective standard

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