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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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Innovative Problem Solving: Rain Gardens in Northeast Portland

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Residential rain gardens help reduce pipe capacity problems for a Northeast Portland neighborhood

Green streets and private facilities such as rain gardens and planters help reduce stormwater draining to sewer pipes, helping the City avoid installing larger pipes. In targeted areas, the City partners with property owners to design and build stormwater facilities to be safe for the site and neighboring properties.  The program is voluntary and the property owner maintains ownership at all times.  Following construction, the property owners maintain the new rain gardens. 

A neighborhood in Northeast Portland was struggling with an undersized pipe, which can lead to basement sewer backups for nearby homes, and can be expensive for the city to repair and a noisy disruption for neighbors. BES constructed two rain gardens that will manage 2,200 ft² of roof, remove stormwater flow, and help prevent having to up-size the pipe.  On an average water year of 37 inches, they will remove over 48,000 gallons of stormwater runoff from this pipe per year. There are several other participating properties in this neighborhood that will also help us to achieve the overall goal of mitigating 7,500 ft² of impervious area managed in the localized drainage basin.

The great news is that this approach costs less than installing larger pipes, and Darlene, the property owner, couldn’t be happier:

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the health of Portland and the Willamette River while enhancing the beauty of one’s home. Thanks to the City for creative water management!”


Fish, bikes and fun at the floodplain


East Portland Sunday Parkways is just so...Portland!

music at Sunday Parkways eventWe’re already feeling nostalgic – East Portland Sunday Parkways was a blast this year! 

It was great to see everyone who stopped by Foster Floodplain, and to introduce new people to Johnson Creek.  A special thanks to all our friends at Sunday Parkways for a successful event. (Check out their recap...14,000 people participated!)

Also, congrats to our new City Green friends Faith and Veronica for winning the Sunday Parkways goodie bag raffle!  

goodie bag raffle prizeMany thanks to the organizations that contributed to the goodie bags and made the Foster Floodplain stop so much fun – Audubon Society of Portland, Bike Farm, Foster Green EcoDistrict, Green Lents, Green Street Steward Program, Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Leach Botanical Garden, Portland Parks and Recreation, Urban Tree Canopy Program, and Zenger Farm

Mark your calendars – we’ll see you at the next Parkways events around town this year, and back at the Foster Floodplain on Mother’s Day 2015!

Deadline to Register for the Ecoroof Symposium is Approaching

Monday May 12th is the deadline to register for the 2014 Ecoroof Symposium

The sixth annual Ecoroof Symposium is coming up on Wednesday, May 21st, and the deadline to register is Monday, May 12th.

 2014 Portland Ecoroof Symposium

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 8:30am - 6:00pm

World Trade Conference Center, 121 SW Salmon 2WTC, Portland, Oregon


Why should you attend?

  • It's A GREAT DEAL! Registration is $50 – coffee, morning/afternoon refreshments, and lunch are included. Space is still available – advanced registration is required. Register here.
  • EXCELLENT SPEAKERS! Get to the Bottom Line on Green Roof Return on Investment. See the event program.
  • LOCAL VENDORS! The Vendor Showcase will feature Portland green roof practitioners. Reserve a table.
  • EDUCATION CREDIT AVAILABLE! Continuing education credit: AIA, ASLA, and OLCB. Learn more.

The deadline to register for the 2014 Ecoroof Symposium is Monday, May 12th!

The 2014 Ecoroof Symposium is sponsored by the City of Portland Environmental Services, the Oregon Chapter of ASLA, and AIA Portland

Get to Know Your North and Northeast Portland Watershed


Columbia Slough community events have a little something for everyone!

May and June mean fun events are coming up with our partners at the Columbia Slough Watershed Council.  These are great opportunities to experience some of the history, nature and water issues along the Columbia Slough in North and Northeast Portland.  Some of these events require early registration because they fill up fast. 

We hope to see you out there!


Vanport flood 1948Evening Canoe the Slough  Wednesday, May 21st, 6:00-8:30 PM (full, wait list registration available)  

Vanport Flood Tour  Friday, May 30, 4:00-6:00 PM.  Learn about the Columbia River flood that wiped out Oregon’s second largest city in 1948. 

Cycle the Well Field  Saturday, May 31st, 8:45 AM-1:30 PM.  Learn about Portland’s supplemental drinking water supply from your bike.

Stewardship Saturday  Saturday, May 31st, 9:00 AM -12:00 PM.  Lend a hand at Wilkes Park, one of Northeast Portland’s newest natural area park properties.  Work is underway to protect and restore the Slough’s only remaining tributary stream.

Community canoe trip on the SloughJune (Mark your calendars now and sign up early!)

Explorando el Columbia Slough  Saturday, June 14th, 1:00-5:00 PM.  This annual bilingual celebration has fun activities for all ages.  Bring the family for storytelling, boat rides on the Slough, live music and more.

Bring Your Own Boat Paddle  Tuesday, June 24th, 5:30-7:30 PM.  Have your own canoe or kayak, but need a little nudge to get it out on the water? Join this expedition in search of turtles, osprey and other wonders of the Slough.

North Portland Paddle  Saturday, June 28th, 1-4 PM.  Meet your neighbors out on the Slough at this event just for North Portlanders.  Super safe and fun bimaran canoes are provided. 

Take a ride on the wild side!


Sunday Parkways stop will celebrate the plants, critters and rivers that make Portland so special.

bikes crossing Johnson Creek on bridgeOn Mother’s Day, May 11th, Sunday Parkways takes a ride on the wild side of East Portland with a featured stop at Foster Floodplain Natural Area on Johnson Creek.  The 50+ acre site reduces local flooding and restores salmon habitat - and it's also a beautiful place to stop and enjoy nature!

Stop by for site tours (12:00, 1:00, 2:00), Audubon’s Birds of Prey, fish hats (you know you want one!), and nature-based games. 

Food, ice cream and folk music by Train River will add to the merriment.  Bike Farm will be on hand for free basic bike maintenance, should you hit a bump in the road.

taking pictures at Foster Floodplain

Share your pics for prizes!  When you stop, take a picture of the Foster Floodplain (and yourself, perhaps) and post it to the City Green Facebook page to enter a raffle for an eco-kit chock full of native plants, a bird house kit, Wild in the City guidebook to local nature, and lots of other fun stuff.

Foster Floodplain activities are sponsored by the Bureau of Environmental Services' Johnson Creek Watershed Program, which restored the natural area. Other participants include Audubon Society of Portland, Foster Green EcoDistrict, Green Lents, Green Street Steward Program, Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Leach Botanical Garden, Urban Tree Canopy Program, and Zenger Farm.

Find more about the Sunday Parkways route and other fun stops in the new brochure!