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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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Be Cool. Lend a Hand. Clean Up Johnson Creek.

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Join Johnson Creek Watershed Council, the Overland Park Coalition, and the Oregon Bhutanese Community Organization for one of the most challenging and rewarding community clean up events of the year.

Volunteers remove trash at the 2015 Johnson Creek Clean-up 

On Saturday, August 27th, over 100 volunteers will clean up designated stretches of Johnson Creek, removing accumulated trash with the guidance of a trained Team Captain. At last year’s cleanup, over 160 people removed 3.5 tons of trash from Johnson Creek in just one day.

Event details: Arrive at Mill Park in Milwaukie (SE Overland Rd & Linwood Ave) by 8:30 a.m. to be assigned to a team and receive safety training. At 9 a.m., teams will depart for designated stretches. At noon, volunteers return to the park for a free barbecue, raffle, and Award Ceremony from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Be prepared to get wet and muddy and to have lots of fun. The first 100 people to sign up will receive a T-shirt.  

Happy volunteers after a success clean-up event 

Safety information: All sites will be prescreened by project staff. Closed-toed shoes are required. Participants wanting to work in the creek must be comfortable entering potentially deep pools of water and wading on slippery rocks while carrying heavy trash. Minors must be accompanied by an adult and will be assigned to easier stretches. Please bring a water bottle and appropriate protection from the elements. Volunteers under age 8, those without closed-toed shoes, or those who prefer to stay out of the water will pick up trash from parks along the creek.

Questions? Contact project staff at or call 503-652-7477 ext. 101.

Event sponsors: City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, Clackamas Water Environment Services, Crawly LLP, and Jack Milford Ford, attorney at law; and event partners: the Overland Park Coalition, the Oregon Bhutanese Community Organization, Green Lents, Portland Parks & Recreation, North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District, and SOLVE.

Help spread the word! Click here for a printable event flyer

Southwest Stephenson Street Roadside Swales

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The recent stormwater improvements in Southwest Portland improve water quality and enhance pedestrian safety

Completed this spring, the SW Stephenson project has transformed 2,760 feet of roadside ditches into swales between SW 35th and SW Boones Ferry Road.  This project was designed to improve water quality in Oak, Arnold, and Tryon Creeks by directing stormwater runoff into roadside swales where pollutants can be filtered prior to entering the creeks.  In addition to improving water quality, the project has improved pedestrian safety along SW Stephenson by adding four-foot wide shoulders.

At the intersection of SW Stephenson and SW 27th Ave, Environmental Services worked with Portland Bureau of Transportation to replace a storm drain with a green street planter.  The planter not only filters and slows runoff, but it also improves pedestrian safety at the busy intersection next to Stephenson Elementary School.  Pedestrians are also able to use the widened paved shoulders instead of the middle of the road for jogging and dog-walking.

SW Stephenson and SW 27th Ave: Before (above) and after (below)

The ditches on SW Stephenson quickly carry stormwater runoff to Tryon Creek and its tributaries causing erosion and transporting pollutants. The swales were designed to slow the runoff to reduce erosion. The native grasses and plants not only stabilize the soil, but they also help to filter pollutants from the road.  The result is cleaner rivers and streams, and a healthier watershed.

Ditches along SW Stephenson: Before (above) and after (below)



The 22nd Annual Columbia Slough Regatta is this Sunday, August 7th

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This free, family-friendly event is a great way to explore the nature of the Columbia Slough.

Bring your kayak, canoe or other boat and enjoy urban nature from this beautiful, slow moving waterway – the Columbia Slough!  Great for first time paddlers and experienced boaters too.

Take a tour of the St John’s prairie while enjoying beautiful views of Smith and Bybee wetlands.  Keep an eye out for Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Western Painted Turtle, beavers and more.

Columbia Slough Regatta: 22nd Annual Family Friendly Paddling Festival

Sunday, August 7, 2-16 9 am – 1 pm

St John’s Launch 9363 N Columbia Boulevard

Event is free but please register at

Mussels on the Move

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2,000 native creatures moved out of the Crystal Springs construction zone

volunteers wading in creekPortland is showing how community, science and infrastructure are all coming together in the restoration of Crystal Springs Creek

Earlier this month, 25 volunteers with the Crystal Springs Partnership, Johnson Creek Watershed Council and Xerces Society helped relocate native freshwater mussels to prepare for the new Environmental Services culvert replacement project along Crystal Springs Creek. 

2,000 mussels were moved upstream with help from the humans and some creative transportation containers.

Read more about the day and the humor of moving mussels on the Crystal Springs Partnership’s blog: Our Mussels Find New Digs

In 2013, volunteers also relocated mussels from the Westmoreland Park pond in preparation for construction there.  Find out more about that effort, and why mussels matter.  

volunteers salvaging mussels from creek freshwater mussels

Get Out and Explore Tryon Creek

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Activities with the Friends of Tryon Creek this summer

Tryon CreekTryon Creek is Oregon’s only urban state natural area, located on the border of SW Portland and Lake Oswego along Terwilliger Blvd.  The 650-acre park is home to many different species of native plants and wildlife, including owls, woodpecker, beaver, deer, coyote and many more. 

The Friends of Tryon Creek work with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to support education and stewardship programs in this unique forest.  Join them this summer for some of their activities and learn more about this amazing park and creek. 

“Friends” groups like this are important partners for cleaner rivers and streams in Portland and the region.

A few activities are highlighted below, but there are many upcoming activities for adults and children.  To learn more and stay up to date on what’s happening with the Friends, check out

Please Note: the Tryon Creek State Natural Area parking lot will be under construction through mid-August and parking will be very limited.  Please plan on carpooling or taking transit to events when possible.

pollinating insect on flowerForest Inhabitants Working Together: An Interpretive Nature Hike

Sunday, July 24 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. – Tryon Creek State Natural Area – 11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd., Portland, OR 97219

The idea of reciprocity is familiar to most, and whether you call it karma, giving back, symbiosis, or paying it forward, we often look for ways to reciprocate services provided to us by others.  This evening walk in the park will look at how ecosystem services are reciprocated in the landscape and how we can actively involve ourselves in this process.

This is a free event for all ages; no registration is required.  We encourage lively discussion and brainstorming as we share our thoughts, experiences and ideas over light snacks, beverages and a short stroll through the park!

Tryon Creek Book Club

Start reading now for Saturday, August 6th from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. – Tryon Creek State Natural Area – 11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd., Portland, OR 97219

The Tryon Creek Book Club is excited to begin our second book, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Moss (2003), by Dr. Robin Kimmerer for next month's book club as a follow-up to our discussion of Dr. Kimmerer's second book, Braiding Sweetgrass, which we wrapped up this past weekend.

In this series of linked personal essays, Robin Wall Kimmerer leads general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings. Kimmerer explains the biology of mosses clearly and artfully, while at the same time reflecting on what these fascinating organisms have to teach us. 

You can purchase the book at the Friends of Tryon Creek Bookstore or online from major retailers. Limited copies are also available through Multnomah County Library or libraries in Clackamas County.

Please send an email to to express your interest in Book Club so we can plan accordingly. Thank you, and happy reading!

native fernSpanish Language Interpretive Hike

Friday, July 29 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. – Tryon Creek State Natural Area – 11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd., Portland, OR 97219

Both Spanish and English speakers alike are invited to join us for a nature hike at Tryon Creek.

Tanto los hablantes de español e inglés están invitados a unirse a una caminata interpretativa en Tryon Creek State Natural Area .

This is a free event for all ages; no registration is required. 

Este es un evento gratuito para todas las edades, no se requiere ningún registro.

For more information about these or other events, contact Gabe Sheoships: or 503 636 4398 extension 108