United States
                       Protection Agency
                       Washington, D.C. 20460
                                                 Solid Waste
                                                 and Emergency
                                                 Response (5101)
                     EPA 500-F-98-256
                     November 1998
                       Brownfields  Showcase
                       East  Palo Alto,  CA
Outreach and Special Projects Staff (5101)
                                                                   Quick Reference Fact Sheet
Brownfields are abandoned, idled or underused industrial and commercial properties where expansion or redevelopment is
complicated by real or perceived contamination. In May 1997, Vice President Gore announced a Brownfields National Partnership
to bring together the resources of more than 15 federal agencies to address local cleanup and reuse issues in a more coordinated
manner. This multi-agency partnership has pledged support to 16 "Brownfields Showcase Communities"—models demonstrating
the benefits of collaborative activity on brownfields. The designated Brownfields Showcase Communities are distributed across
the country and vary by size, resources, and community type. A wide range of support will be leveraged, depending on the
particular needs of each Showcase Community.
                       Community Profile

The Brownfields National Partnership has selected
the City of East Palo Alto as a Brownfields Show-
case Community. East Palo Alto is a small city com-
prising only 2.5 square miles, with an ethnically di-
verse population of 25,000; 41% of the population is
African  American,
and 36% is Latino.
The city's unemploy-
ment rate of 6.6% is
nearly three times
higher   than   the
county's  unemploy-
ment  rate of 2.6%.
Although surrounded
by the affluent and
high-powered Silicon
Valley, East Palo Alto
has never enjoyed the prosperity of neighboring com-
munities.  The East Palo Alto area has traditionally
been used for agriculture, heavy manufacturing,
chemical manufacturing, and auto wrecking.

East Palo Alto plans to reverse its fortunes by be-
coming a true partner in the region's high-tech
economy. The city's aggressive efforts toward re-
developing its brownfields has left the Ravenswood
Industrial Area (RIA), the city's most significant
brownfield, poised to take advantage of a tight real
estate market, and to provide the catalyst for the city
to join in the prosperity of the booming regional
economy. East Palo Alto targets the 130-acre RIA,
awarded an Environmental Protection Agency
Brownfields Pilot in 1997, for cleanup and redevel-
opment. Two other brownfields sites are already well
                        on their way to redevel-
                        opment: the Gateway
                        101 area is targeted for
                        a large retail center;
                        while a hotel, confer-
                        ence center and retail
                        complex are planned
                      Easf Palo Alto, California
                                           East Palo Alto is an historically
                                           agricultural community with an
                                           ethnically diverse population of
                                           approximately 25,000. Restoration of
                                           the 130-acre Ravenswood Industrial
                                           Area, a city-designated brownfields
                                           site, will provide space for high-tech
                                           industryemploying nearly 4,000
                        for University Circle.
                        The RIA is planned to
                        be the employment cen-
                        ter of the city, slated for
                        office and  light indus-
trial uses. The site is bordered to the north and east
by wetlands which are home to two endangered spe-
cies; an abandoned railroad spur  and adjacent resi-
dences form boundaries to the south and west.


In addition to progress in redeveloping two of its three
brownfields target areas, East Palo Alto has enjoyed
other successes in its efforts to revitalize the com-

munity. One of its most significant accomplishments
is the creation of the  Brownfields Environmental
Job Training program, the first training program of
its kind in the nation.  Of the seventeen students
who graduated from the first training class in 1997,
nine have full-time positions, and most of the others
are working through temporary agencies. Further,
with $25 million anticipated to be spent on redevel-
opment activities in the city over the next two years,
this training will give local residents access to new
job opportunities that previously would have been
unavailable to them. This program underscores the
value of partnerships between local governments,
non-profits and federal agencies.

Other highlights of East Palo Alto's brownfields
program include:

• Conducting aten-month sampling study ofthe RIA
  which revealed much lower levels of contamination
  than previously thought, reducing cleanup estimates
  forthe site from $30 million to $2-5 million;

• Sponsoring an Environmental and Home Financing
  Fair to heighten environmental awareness  and
  encourage safe, decent and affordable housing.
  Participants  included  government agencies,  a
  medical center, private businesses and other
  organizations,  and the city  conducted  extensive
  outreach to encourage residents to attend; and

• Creating alocal environmental information brochure
  in English and Spanish, which has been widely
  disseminated throughout the community.
East Palo Alto's success is due in large part to the
many partnerships it has fostered with federal, state,
and local agencies, non-profit organizations, commu-
nity development groups, academic institutions, and
business interests.  The city's extensive community
outreach activities have ensured that the community's
goals for the revitalization of the area are incorpo-
rated into final redevelopment plans.


East Palo Alto's partnerships with EPA and the De-
partment of Housing and Urban Development have
been extremely important and successful. They pro-
vide a model for collaborative effort for smaller, eth-
nically diverse, low-income communities throughout
the country where redevelopment of brownfields will
address not just a portion of a community, but will
bring self-sustainability to the entire community. East
Palo Alto's brownfields program serves as a model
for small cities with small budgets, where federal and
state partnerships make the critical difference.

Strategic planning for redevelopment involves eco-
nomic, environmental, housing, public health and trans-
portation issues; as a Showcase Community, East
Palo Alto will leverage its increased access to fed-
eral  resources and assistance to address these is-
sues comprehensively.

                           City Manager's Office
                           City of East Palo Alto
 Regional Brownfields Team
 U.S. EPA- Region 9
                           For more information on the Brownfields Showcase Communities,
                                    visit the EPA Brownfields web site at:
Brownfields Showcase Community
November 1998
                          East Palo Alto, California
                               EPA 500-F-98-256