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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

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Life in the Floodplain is coming up on October 8

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Take advantage of the FREE resource fair this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Anyone who has lived near an urban stream knows that it can be both a blessing and a curse. Walking in the cool shade of mature trees, and spotting birds, trout, beaver and deer just minutes from home is rejuvenating and good for our physical and mental health. Easy access to nature is one of the reasons that so many of us choose to live along rivers and streams.

Johnson Creek wintertime floodUnfortunately, the same creek that provides refuge in summer can also threaten our homes, businesses and roads with flooding in the winter. Come wintertime, thousands of people who live along Johnson Creek worry about flooding, sometimes checking stream levels multiple times per day. Many people also pay for flood insurance, which in some cases can cost as much as property taxes.

On Saturday, October 8, the City of Portland, in partnership with State Representative Jeff Reardon, local non-profit Green Lents, and many other organizations, are hosting an event called Life in the Floodplain for Portland residents who are grappling with the stress of flooding and flood insurance.

Groups including American Red Cross and the National Flood Insurance Program will provide information and tools to help you:

•             Understand flood insurance,

•             Reduce utility bill costs,

•             Learn about property improvements to reduce flood insurance costs,

•             Prepare for the next winter flood,

•             Learn about grants available to local businesses,

•             Get involved in local community projects,

•             Join the local Neighborhood Emergency Team,

•             And register for emergency alerts.

kids activitiesThere will be free food, raffle prizes, and fun arts and crafts and nature play for children. We hope you can join us!

Event: Life in the Floodplain

When: Saturday, October 8, at 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where: Zenger Farm, 11741 SE Foster Road, Portland, OR 97266

More info:


2016 Portland Ecoroof Symposium is coming up October 3

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Register today for Portland's annual gathering of ecoroof researchers, designers and practitioners

Seats are still available for the 2016 Ecoroof Symposium coming up October 2-4. The event is coordinated by Portland non-profit Green Roof Information Think-tank (GRIT) and Portland State University with support from several sponsors, including East Multnomah County Soil and Water Conservation District. The Symposium is directed towards designers and developers interested in the most current green roof policies and research.

Ecoroof at the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plan  

From the event page:

As the vegetated roofing industry continues to grow and mature, the Ecoroof Symposium will showcase the most up-to- date research on the economic and environmental impacts that green roofs provide to buildings and cities. We are honored to host London’s own Dusty Gedge as our keynote speaker, as well as a research medley on topics such as enhanced real estate value, energy impacts, and biodiversity. Panels of experts and breakout sessions offer a wealth of experience on best practices to avoid concerns, and to extend the service life of the roof membrane and vegetation. Green roof tours can provide insight into a variety of systems and approaches.”

Topics for this year’s Symposium include stormwater management, urban ecology, global green roof trends in design and policy, and best practices for successful green roofs and living walls. Speakers will include Environmental Services’ own Henry Stevens, who will discuss green roof design and soils, and Adrienne Aiona, who will discuss using green roofs to meet Portland’s Stormwater Management Manual. Continuing education credits are available.

The event takes place Monday October 3 in the Smith Ballroom at Portland State University. Please contact Elizabeth Hart, Executive Director of GRiT, if you have questions or visit the GRiT webpage for more information.

In addition to the Symposium:

·         On Sunday October 2nd,  GRIT members will host the "Green Roofs in Wine Country" tour. $45 includes round-trip shuttle from Portland to Sokol Blosser, Durant, and Stoller Wineries (including their solar and green roofs), as well as snacks and hors d'oeuvres. Please contact Amy Chomowicz for details and to reserve your space. Space is very limited, so please register now.

·         On Wednesday October 4, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities will provide Green Roof Design and Installation training course. This full-day course presents indispensable information for green roof designers, practitioners and maintenance personnel.  Explore the design principles behind North America’s most outstanding projects; discover best practices for installing different green roof components and system types; and identify the essential elements of a green roof maintenance and stewardship plan. To register or learn more, visit the event page.

Finally, for those interested, presentations from past Ecoroof Symposia are posted on the BES youtube page. Here’s one of our favorites – GriT Executive Director Elizabeth Hart’s presentation from 2013 titled "Green Roofs in Healthcare":

Salvaging Fish in Balch Creek

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Environmental Services staff protect resident species during recent routine maintenance in along the creek in Forest Park

Salvaging fish entails safely capturing and relocating fish away from a project or site to prevent them from dying in an area where they could get stranded or where other work in the stream might affect them. 

Wearing a Ghostbusters-style backpack and carrying nets and buckets, Melissa and Chad, fish biologists with Environmental Services, lowered themselves into Balch Creek in Lower MacLeay Park. Balch Creek has its headwaters in Forest Park and flows overland for approximately 3 ¼ miles through the heavily-wooded park before it enters a pipe in the NW Industrial area and to the Willamette River.  The creek is home to resident coastal cutthroat trout and coastal giant salamanders.

   Chad and Melissa arrive on site for the fish salvage

Where Balch Creek enters a pipe, a large wooden trash rack keeps logs and other debris out of the pipe.  At this time every year, the trash rack needs to be cleaned out. Before that work could start this week, Melissa and Chad needed to catch some fish and amphibians and safely relocate them upstream, out of the project area.

Coastal giant salamander

Juvenile coastal cutthroat trout

Carrying heavy equipment down tall ladders through large spider webs, Chad used his Ghostbusters backpack - actually a SmithRoot electroshocker – to apply a light shock to the water. This temporarily (and harmlessly) stunned aquatic vertebrates within a small radius so Melissa could scoop them up in her net.  After Melissa and Chad measured and inventoried the fish, they carefully transported salvaged fish and wildlife upstream.


Chad in the stream with the electroshocker backpack 

Two great opportunities to learn about Johnson Creek this week

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Join the Johnson Creek Watershed Council for a science talk and bike tour that focuses on the Southeast Portland watershed

When was the last time you’ve seen or heard a frog out by Johnson Creek? Come on out and join the Johnson Creek Watershed Council to learn about the many amphibians that call our watershed home, led by Portland’s very own Laura Guderyahn at Portland’s Parks and Recreation and the City of Gresham’s Katie Holzer. An exciting discovery was made at the EcoBlitz at Powell Butte last May, and they would like to share the good news with you! The talk will be held at Hopworks Urban Brewery (2944 Southeast Powell). Food will be provided, but bring a water bottle.

Where: Hopworks Urban Brewery, 2944 Southeast Powell Boulevard, Portland, OR 97202

When: Sept. 14, 2016, 6:00pm-8:00pm

Cost: $5


Interested in seeing the great work others are doing  to bring nature back into our city? Grab your bike, a helmet, and look no further away than the Foster Floodplain on the Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s Restoration Bike Tour. Join them as they ride around the Springwater Trail, led by their very own executive director Daniel Newberry. A total of 2 hours, this bike tour will highlight over 6 miles of restoration work many green advocates have been working on for years in our city. Feel free to join in a lunchtime get-together after at Cartlandia.


Where: Foster Floodplain Natural Area (Foster Road, b/t SE 104th and SE 111th avenues)

When: Sept. 17, 2016, 9:30-11:30am

Bring: bike, water bottle, helmet, snack

Details: 2 hours, lasting 6 miles

For questions, or to RSVP: Contact

Third International Jade Night Market Event Takes Place August 20th and 27th

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Stop by the Environmental Services booth to learn about projects and programs working for clean rivers

Follow the dragon parade to BES’s booth at the Jade International Night Market, a celebration of the many vibrant cultures of the Jade District and East Portland. There will be delicious food, crafts and cultural performances, and proceeds will help the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon develop a long-hoped-for community center.

The Environmental Services booth will have information about:

Jade International Night Market

Portland Community College’s Southeast Campus at 2305 SE 82nd Avenue.

Saturday, August 20th, and next Saturday, August 27th, 5:00-10:00 p.m.