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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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Church Rain Garden a Success!


Community partners solve a stormwater problem.

We just announced the new projects for this year’s Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) grants! 

rain garden at St. Mary Ethiopian ChurchIn related news, one of last year’s CWSP projects finished up in May with a community celebration. 

St. Mary Ethiopian Church in SE Portland has a new rain garden that soaks up stormwater runoff, filters pollutants and help keep the church from flooding.  They started off with a pavement smashing party last fall, held fundraisers, and brought together a lot of new friends and partners in the Lents neighborhood to build and plant the facility.  It’s true, Portland’s rain really does bring people together!

Check out this great story from the East PDX News: Rain garden saves church, helps Johnson Creek.


Community leaders and volunteers plantingThanks to all who came out for the celebration in May, and to the partners who made this project a success.

Learn more about this project and others from the Community Watershed Stewardship Program here.

Urban Weeds Workshop coming up on Monday, June 16th

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The event is sponsored by the East Multnomah County Soil and Water Conservation District

Weeds – every yard has them. Come learn how to identify the most common garden and landscape weeds along with some of the more notorious invasive plant intruders of the region. Perfect for all levels of do-it-yourself gardeners, this introductory workshop will explain how these aggressive plants take over in your yard, and provide simple, effective tips that will help you get the upper hand without using synthetic herbicides.

Urban Weeds Workshop

When: Monday, 6/16 from 6:00-8:00pm

Where: EMSWCD Office - 5211 N Williams Ave (MAP)

How: Pre-register online at

Cost: Free!

Using herbicides to treat weeds creates pollution for streams, rivers, and watersheds. Stormwater runoff can carry herbicides into our water system and pollute habitat for fish and wildlife. Herbicides can also pose health risks for family members and pets. By understanding ways to control weeds without herbicides, you can keep your yard weed-free and watershed-friendly!

Interested in learning about some of the worst offenders of weeds in Portland? Check out our Alien Invader series of posts:








Explorando el Columbia Slough


Festival gratuito acerca de la naturaleza! Free nature festival for the family!

Celebrate the 13th Annual “Explorando El Columbia Slough” festival with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council!

This FREE bilingual nature festival for the whole family includes guided canoe trips, dancing, music, exhibits, a rock climbing wall, and face painting!  The first 300 kids receive free Explorando t-shirts.

When: Saturday, June 14th, 2014, 1:00– 5:00pm

Where: Whitaker Ponds Nature Park, 7040 NE 47th Ave, Portland OR 97218

Interested in volunteering for Explorando?  English and Spanish speakers welcome! Visit to sign up.

Contact , call (503) 281-1132 or visit for more information.

folk dancers  canoeing the Slough  kids learning about nature

Columbia Slough Watershed Council les invita a celebrar nuestra decimotercera edición del festival “Explorando el Columbia Slough”!

¿De que se trata?: Explorando es un festival gratuito acerca de la naturaleza y con actividades para toda la familia. El año pasado más de 400 personas vinieron a disfrutar los viajes en canoa, ballet folklórico, música, organizaciones comunales, pared para trepar y pintado de caras. İLos primeros 300 niños recibirán camisetas conmemorativas gratis!

¿Cuándo?: Sábado, 14 de junio de 2014. De 1:00pm a 5:00pm

¿Dónde?: Whitaker Ponds Nature Park, 7040 NE 47th Av, Portland OR 97218

İVen con nosotros! Comparte la invitación con tus amigos y vecinos para que vengan a este excitante evento. ¿Estas interesado en ser uno de los voluntarios? Visita la página en el internet;  y juntate con nosotros.

Tambien puedes contactarte con nosotros escribiendonos al o llámanos al 503-281-1132. Para más información visita: .   

Alien Plant Invader: Goatsrue


This plant starts blooming soon, and packs 15,000 seeds

goatsrue flowersPortland is breaking new ground, but in this case, it’s not an honor we want!  There are five known sites in Oregon where the invasive plant goatsrue is found, and three of them are here in the Portland area. The other two are not far away in Gresham and Sherwood.

This is how new invasive plant infestations start out, and we need your help to keep this one contained before it becomes a real problem.


Goatsrue (Galega officinalis) is a federally listed noxious weed and is one of the 100 most dangerous invasive plants according to the Oregon Invasive Species Council. The stem and leaves of goatsrue contain a poisonous alkaloid, galegin, which can cause serious health problems or even be fatal for people and livestock.  

Like other invasive plants, goatsrue can negatively impact our local natural areas and streams, threatening our clean water resources.  It reduces plant and animal diversity as other, often native, species are displaced by the goatsrue root fragments and large numbers of seedlings.  Each plant has approximately 15,000 seeds that are dispersed by small mammals, birds, wind and water.  The seeds may be viable for up to 30 years, so it’s important that we catch each plant now! 


goatsrue leaves

Goatsrue is a perennial plant in the pea family, native to the Middle East. Plants have upright, hollow stems and can reach two to six feet tall. Goatsrue blooms from June to October with light lilac to dark purple pea-like flowers. Leaflets are arranged in pairs on a central stem. Goatsrue has a leaflet at the very end, instead of a climbing tendril like a garden pea plant would have. Later in the growing season, goatsrue produces straight, narrow, rumpled-looking pods.

Look-a-likes include perennial peavine (Lathyrus latifolius) and common vetch (Vicia sativa). Perennial peavine and common vetch are widely distributed in Portland, and do have climbing tendrils at the ends of their leaves. That’s the easy way to distinguish goatsrue from these look-a-likes: goatsrue has an upright hollow stem and no tendrils.

goatsrue plant


Are you a landowner with a question about goatsrue, or suspect you have it on your property? We strongly encourage you to contact the City of Portland's Early Detection and Rapid Response Program. Please contact Mitch Bixby at 503-823-2989 or

Visit this page for more information about goatsrue. King County also has information available.

(bottom 2 photos courtesy of King County)




 Invasive species affect us all. They damage our forests, streams and rivers, and property. Nationwide, damages associated with invasive species are estimated to be $120 billion each year. In Oregon, the damage invasive weeds cause and the cost of controlling them total about $125 million each year. We know that it costs a lot less to control new invasive plants before they become infestations, so we need everyone’s help. Find out more about the problems caused by invasive species and why Environmental Services works to stop their spread.

Catch up on previous Alien Plant Invader posts:

Green Streets PDX Block Party! A Stewardship Celebration

Join the celebration dedicated to Portland's Green Street Program, and learn how you can get involved to join the fun

 The event takes place Saturday, May 31st, from Noon-4:00pm

Thanks to our event partners: Portland State University, Green Lents, Depave, the Surfrider Foundation, and the Johnson Creek Watershed Council

For more information about Green Streets and the upcoming event, find us on Facebook at Green Street Stewards. If you use Instagram, please like and share photos with us using #pdxgreenstreets. Thanks!