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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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Crows Try to Compromise PSU Ecoroof Research


a crow tossing a cupWhat does biodiversity on Portland ecoroofs look like and how does it compare with other cities?

That’s what a partnership between the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and Portland State University hopes to find out. Using beetles as a bioindicator and using pitfall traps to collect beetles, nine Portland ecoroofs as well as ground sites are being sampled throughout this summer. The catch will be identified and compared with the results of similar studies taking place in San Francisco, Mexico City and Basel, Switzerland.

Ground-dwelling insects fall into the vinegar-filled cups placed flush into the soil, and the cups are lightly covered to prevent the sun and rain from weathering the contents. However, on multiple ecoroofs the cups have been repeatedly pulled out and tossed around. A security camera was set out and the vandals were filmed red-handed – crows!

We know ecoroofs do a great job of managing stormwater. Research specific to our region on the simultaneous benefits that ecoroofs provide, such as the urban habitat they provide or energy savings, is something we love to see more of. We’ll keep you posted of their results, particularly after some form of crow-baffle is installed.

Hug a Tree at Hoyt this Saturday


Does it get any more Portland than this?

hugging trees in Hoyt Arboretum last yearHere’s a simple, fun thing you can do this Saturday, July 12:  Join the world’s largest tree hug at Hoyt Arboretum. 

Last year, Portland set the official record.  Now, we need your help to defend that title and help celebrate all the new trees planted in Portland recently. 

When: Saturday, July 12, 2:00 p.m.

Where: Hoyt Arboretum, SW Knight Blvd and SW Kingston Blvd.

Who: You, your friends, and family (kids make great huggers!)

Find more details about the event and a link to pre-register at  The event is free, but pledges to participate are encouraged!


This event is sponsored by some of our partners in tree planting: Friends of Trees, Hoyt Arboretum Friends, Portland Parks & Recreation, and Treecology, Inc.

Rare fish sighting in Saltzman Creek


Cutthroat trout found in Forest Park stream.

Biologists from Environmental Services, conducting routine monitoring in Forest Park, recently found a surprise in Saltzman Creek …a cutthroat trout! 

small trout being measuredSalmon and trout species are rare in Forest Park’s streams because long culverts under Highway 30 and the industrial corridor limit or prevent fish passage to and from the Willamette River. 

This lone cutthroat may be part of a resident population that existed in Saltzman Creek before downstream culverts blocked passage.

Coastal cutthroat trout are a state-listed species of concern in Oregon.  They generally spend more time in fresh water than other migratory Pacific salmon and trout.  

This fish swam happily away after being identified and measured. 

Environmental Services staff sample for fish, water quality and other environmental conditions at sites around the city as part of the Portland Area Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Program (PAWMAP).  

PAWMAP helps us track long-term progress towards the city’s environmental goals and regulations, such as the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.  PAWMAP started in 2010 to replace older monitoring methods with a more coordinated, cost-effective approach based on that of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Learn more about why we do environmental monitoring.

Tabor to the River Turns Six!


This program's success continues because of community partners.

neighbors planting street treesThis year marks the sixth anniversary of the Tabor to the River program.  Tabor to the River combines sewer improvements and green infrastructure projects.  This helps save Portland sewer and stormwater ratepayers more than $60 million in costs to address aging pipes and basement sewer back ups in SE Portland.

Check out the new summer newsletter here. The newsletter highlights the milestones this program has accomplished and has resources and opportunities for the coming year. 

Since 2008, Tabor to the River projects have:

  • Repaired 3 miles of sewer pipes
  • Built 215 green streets
  • Removed 18.8 million gallons of stormwater from the sewer system annually
  • Planted 770 new street trees
  • Worked with property owners to construct 72 rain gardens and other stormwater management projects on private residential and commercial properties that are treating stormwater runo­ff from three acres of hard surface!  Check out our earlier post on some recent rain garden projects

rain garden at Western Seminary parking lotCommunity partners and organizations have been an integral part of all these achievements.

The work continues!  Find information about construction projects, more background, and ways to get involved at 

Things are blooming at Mason Flats


Improving water quality and providing nature in the city.

lupine blooming at wetlandIt's officially summer! In celebration, we thought you’d enjoy this recent shot from the Mason Flats wetland and water quality facility.

What was once a neglected field filled with invasive plants in the middle of an industrial area has become one of the prettiest water quality facilities in the country (in our opinion)!

The area manages stormwater runoff from a large area of residential and commercial streets in NE Portland.  Runoff is naturally slowed and filtered in the wetlands and ponds. 

To see the progress, here are some shots from one year ago when we completed construction, and the beautiful colors last fall as the native plants and trees started to fill in the site. 

Read more about the Mason Flats project here.

Mason Flats is a restoration area in progress and is not open to the public.  However, it is part of the larger Big Four Corners Natural Area, which has viewing sites and some access points.  Find those, and other accessible natural areas on this map from the Columbia Slough Watershed Council.   Or, join one of these public events on the Slough this summer