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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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Native Plants Taking Root on Division Street

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Spring is here and native plants installed in green streets last fall have taken root and are growing.

Green street planters capture stormwater runoff that could otherwise cause flooding, sewer overflows and basement sewer backups. These hardy green street plants are healthy and growing stronger and will soak up stormwater and pollution for years to come.

The city maintains green streets, but there are ways you can help. Signing up to be a Green Street Steward is a rewarding way to care for your community and help keep green streets working well in between scheduled maintenance. Go to to find out more and adopt your own Green Street.

The Division Streetscape Project is part of the Tabor to the River program. Tabor to the River is an innovative, cost-saving approach that combines green infrastructure with sewer repairs and improvements to stop basement flooding, manage stormwater naturally onsite, and restore watershed health.


Stories from Our Watersheds: River Restoration NW Film Festival


Portland’s work and other stories on the big screen (with pizza)

construction to restore streamOn April 30 at the Hollywood Theater, the River Restoration NW Film Fest will showcase some of the best recent films about rivers, streams and fish from the northwest all the way to the Congo River.  Tickets are only $8, there’s beer and pizza, and you’ll be inspired about the great work that’s happening. 

Our own Crystal Springs Restoration project will be featured in a short film from local Straw Bale Films.  We’re looking forward to seeing all the other great stories, too, and hope to see you there!

For tickets and more information, visit the Hollywood Theater website:


Photo: construction begins on a restoration project in Crystal Springs Creek in 2013

Help bust pavement in Portland


City Green Partner Depave is recruiting volunteers and new projects

people breaking pavement at project siteLooking for a great way to get involved in the community this summer, and build some muscles smashing pavement at the same time?  Depave is a people-powered nonprofit organization that partners with landowners and local groups to remove excess and unwanted pavement from urban areas and create community green spaces like bioswales and food gardens.  

Impervious area (hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt) prevents rainwater from soaking into the ground.  Instead, it runs off into sewer pipes or nearby streams and rivers.  Along the way, the runoff can pick up pollutants such as oil, antifreeze, pesticides and heavy metals.  These pollutants end up in our waterways, harming habitat and polluting the water.  Removing pavement and adding back trees and plants to the land reduces the amount of stormwater runoff and pollution entering our waterways.

Since 2008, Depave has removed over 123,000 square feet of pavement (more than the area of two pro football fields!) to create 40 new greenspaces in Portland.  Combined, these projects divert nearly 2.9 million gallons of stormwater from the storm drains annually.  They also add native plants, reduce flooding, improve air quality, create nature in our neighborhoods and many other benefits.  

Need more reasons?  Smashing pavement is FUN, and the people are great.  

Check out the photos from a recent project Depave, Faith Community Church and the Russian Speaking Network of Oregon completed: 

Here are 2 ways to get involved: 

  • Become a Crew Leader for the 2015 summer-fall season.  

​Learn more about Crew Leading and RSVP to attend the orientation on May 16th here:

  • Nominate a site to turn from gray to green.

Depave has an exciting season planned for 2015 but is always on the lookout for candidate sites for future depaving in the Portland Metro Area. Tired of that unused parking lot in your neighborhood?  Know of an area badly in need of greenspace? Depave would love to hear from you:

Volunteers make a difference for Johnson Creek


two volunteers working in natural areaIt’s amazing what can happen in one day. On March 7, 415 community members took part in the Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s 17th annual Watershed Wide Event. Volunteers at nine restoration sites planted 6,795 trees and shrubs, removed 33 cubic yards of invasive species, distributed three units of mulch, and installed 1,000 feet of protective fencing. 

We’re so impressed with the dedication of the long-timers and the new volunteers who are helping with a cleaner, healthier Johnson Creek for people, salmon and wildlife.  Community efforts like this are paying off.

If you’d like to lend a hand, the Johnson Creek Watershed Council has volunteer opportunities year-round. To find out more call: 503-652-7477 or go to Johnson Creek Watershed Council website.

 woman with a native plant  group of happy volunteers   man planting a tree

Plant a tree, save some green!

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Warmer, longer days following a mild winter mean it’s time to get back in the yard and get our hands dirty.

Although tree planting season is coming to a close, you still have time to purchase and plant trees in your yard and take advantage of the Treebate credit.  Trees help the city manage stormwater where it falls, saving ratepayers money while contributing to clean rivers, healthy watersheds, and livable, sustainable communities. 

It’s easy to participate in four steps:

1. Purchase an eligible tree (or trees)

2. Plant them in your residential yard

3. Submit your Treebate application and your receipt

4. Get a credit on your stormwater utility bill

Don’t delay—the application must be received by April 30th to be considered.  Learn more about the Treebate program and how trees manage stormwater at  Happy planting!