Argay Terrace and Parkrose Residents Bring Science to Fight Over Freight Warehouse

They’re mulling an “environmental justice complaint” against the colossus.

The vacant Kmart in Argay Terrace. (Brian Burk)

Residents of the Argay Terrace and Parkrose neighborhoods aren’t backing down in their fight to stop the wealthy owner of the Minnesota Vikings from building a 260,000-square-foot freight warehouse on a piece of property he owns in their East Portland neighborhood.

Residents of the Parkrose Argay Opportunity Coalition say they are working with a firm called Argos Scientific to collect air quality data and determine if they should file an “environmental justice complaint” with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Vikings owner Zygmunt Wilf plans to build the tilt-up concrete warehouse at the site of the huge, vacant Kmart on Northeast Sandy Boulevard at 122nd Avenue, and lease it to Prologis, a San Francisco-based company that ships merchandise for Amazon, Home Depot and others.

“Argos Scientific produces highly sensitive air quality equipment and is deploying monitors in the community,” the coalition said in a press release. “They will be modeling impacts that diesel truck pollution from these types of warehouses will bring to a part of Portland already experiencing disproportionate amounts of pollution and traffic.”

Wilf’s parcel of land is across the street from Parkrose High School and adjacent to a low-income housing development called Hidden Oaks Apartments. The freight warehouse would be the latest of many in the area. The others, though, are north of Sandy Boulevard. This one would protrude southward into a largely residential neighborhood.

The site became notorious in August 2021 after the Proud Boys gathered for a far-right festival that turned into a paintball and baseball-bat brawl with anti-fascists.

Wilf made his fortune in real estate after taking over his father’s residential building company, Garden Homes. Wilf has owned the Kmart property under various entities since the 1980s.

“The coalition would love to see the property owner, Garden Homes, work with the community to find a better use for the former Kmart ,” coalition member Angela Baker said in a statement. “Community members have expressed interest in a grocery store, additional housing, and restaurants, and Parkrose Schools are interested in using the location as a STEM center.”

Neither Garden Home nor Prologis immediately returned emails seeking comment.

Portland’s Bureau of Development Services said its statement from 2022 still stood:

“At this time, a permit application is under review by the Bureau of Development Services and other city bureaus. This application proposes a ‘new tilt-up concrete semi-heated warehouse building with one office tenant space’ and ‘associated site work.’”

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