June 10, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

Although lead-based paint has been discovered on some of the walls and floors remaining in the demolished main building of the Highway Department shops on Adams Avenue, there should be no delay in the plan to build a new Safeway store there.

Thats the word from Scott Fairley of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Fairley said last week that Bob Schwartz of The Dalles, the DEQ cleanup person who has been working with Safeway on the site, indicated Safeway can move forward with little delay.

Fairley said Safeway had wanted to grind up the large amount of concrete left after the demolition of the old shops. Such material is good drainage material, Fairley said.

However, on the material found in the former headquarters building at the corner of Willow Street and Adams Avenue, the amount of lead paint was not sufficient to delay the entire project, Fairley said.

They did a leach test on the material and found the amount of lead was small enough so that the material from that part of the site could be hauled to an ordinary landfill.

If it had a larger amount of lead, the material would have needed to be taken to a hazardous waste disposal site, Fairley said.

The contractor cannot grind up the material found in the headquarters building but it can be hauled to a landfill, Fairley said.

Our cleanup guy felt there was not a lot of risk if the material were left intact, Fairley said. Lead in a persons bloodstream can cause brain damage and neurological problems.

Safeway is putting up a 55,000-square-foot store. It hopes to open it by the end of the year.