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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 1000, Portland, OR 97204

Climate Change Preparation Strategy: Open for Public Comment


Green infrastructure is part Portland's strategy to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Climate Change Preparation Strategy CoverWe're pleased to announce that the City of Portland and Multnomah County’s new draft Climate Change Preparation Strategy is open for comment. Technical experts, organizations, businesses and members of the public are encouraged to provide feedback on the documents.

Portland City Council and Multnomah County commissioners will consider adopting the documents later this year.

The draft materials describe how climate change will affect the region and what actions are proposed to improve resiliency and to protect communities.

How are we going to deal with hotter, drier summers, and warmer, wetter winters?

residential ecoroofStrategies include reducing climate impacts on vulnerable populations, and using more green infrastructure, such as ecoroofs, green streets, and trees to reduce the urban heat island effect.  One tool could be adopting development performance standards similar to Seattle's Green Factor.  Other strategies center around further protecting and restoring our natural systems, like streams, forests and floodplains. 

Many of these strategies are already being implemented in Portland to manage stormwater, improve water quality, and store carbon, but in the face of climate change, we may need to do more. 


Visit: for more information about the strategy and how to comment. Comments are due by April 11, 2014.

The Climate Preparation Strategy is linked to the City of Portland and Multnomah County Climate Action Plan, which integrates the City and County’s work to slow the effects of climate change while also preparing for the impacts that we will experience. Portland and Multnomah County are currently in the process of updating the Climate Action Plan, which was originally adopted in 2009. Visit Portland’s Climate Action website to learn more about the Climate Action Plan update project and other existing climate efforts.



What is stormwater, and why should you care about it?


This neat video explains stormwater in a city 2,800 miles away, and it sounds familiar!

While we like to brag about Portland's work for clean water and green infrastructure, sometimes it's good to see what other cities are doing to address stormwater problems and how they're telling people about it.

We recently came across this video from Durham, North Carolina that has a great explanation of the water cycle and what stormwater fees pay for.  Check it out! 

samping water in a streamDurham's approach is similar to Portland's stormwater fees, and the water quality testing, pipe maintenance, education and stream restoration we do here at Environmental Services. 

Durham, similar to Portland (and Durham, Oregon!), has rain hitting the pavement and turning into stormwater runoff to local waterways.  And, by the looks of their Stormwater Services Facebook page, they're doing a lot of great work planting trees, encouraging rain gardens and restoring watersheds.  Way to go, Durham.


Photo: City of Durham, NC

Alien Plant Invader: Lesser celandine


Watch for these yellow blooms starting this week.

lesser celandine flowers

This friendly looking is plant popping up in lawns and parking strips across Portland, but don't be deceived!


It’s called lesser celandine.  Like a lot of invasive plants, it is able to out-compete native plants.  We need your help in the battle against invasives like this one.


Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) emerges earlier in the spring than many native plants, allowing it to overtake areas quickly.  This advantage allows lesser celandine to form dense patches displacing native plants, destroying wildlife habitat and ruining lawns.  Diverse native plants that provide nectar and pollen for pollinating insects and birds lose out.  Lesser celandine also dies back in the spring, which leaves hillsides and stream banks vulnerable to erosion that pollutes our rivers and streams. 



Lesser celandine grows above-ground from November to April, and flowers from late winter to early spring.  The leaves are dark green with silvery markings, shiny, succulent, and kidney- or heart-shaped.  The bright yellow flowers are often confused with the look-a-like marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), which is a native plant not known to occur in Portland metro region.  You can identify lesser celandine because of the three light green sepals behind its petals.  Lesser celandine produces finger-like tubers that form underground and tiny bulblets under the leaves.  The tubers, bulblets and seeds can all spread rapidly.



Removing this plant is tricky.  All parts of the plant as well as any soil near the plant must be placed in a bag and thrown in the trash. Tubers and bulblets must be dug up and disposed.  Due to this time consuming process, manual control (digging) is only recommended for small patches (less than six feet wide) and the site must be re-checked annually.  

Do not compost lesser celandine or try to save surrounding soil.  We encourage land owners to contact Environmental Services with any additional questions.  Find more information on City of Portland’s page about lesser celandine and from the Plant Conservation Alliance.


flower sepals 

Flower sepals help identify the plant. (photo:


lesser celandine patch in city


Lesser celandine quickly took over this Portland yard!






Invasive species affect us all. They damage our forests, our streams and rivers, and our property.  Nationwide, damages associated with invasive species are estimated to be $120 billion each year.  In Oregon, the control of invasive weeds and the cost of the damages they create amounts to about $125 million each year.  We know that it costs a lot less to control new invasive plants before they become infestations, but we need everyone’s help.  Read more here about the problems caused by invasive species and why BES is particularly concerned about their impact on water quality.


Check out our previous posts on Alien Plant Invaders:


33 New Rain Gardens in SE Portland

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Inspirational photos from neighbors who are doing their part for clean rivers!

rain garden

Environmental Services recently partnered with 33 home and business owners in southeast Portland to install rain gardens that manage stormwater from their roofs.  The roofs add up to a total of 45,000 square feet, which is almost the size of a football field.  

A big thanks to all these people for working with us for clean rivers! 

     rain garden 3     rain garden 4

The projects are around SE 44th and Salmon, and SE 11th and Powell.  See more photos below.

These rain gardens infiltrate nearly one million gallons of stormwater each year that would otherwise enter our combined sewer system pipes, contributing to basement sewage back ups and sewer overflows to the Willamette River.  The projects are part of the public-private partnerships happening in the Tabor to the River area.  In Tabor to the River, green infrastructure like rain gardens and green streets are helping save sewer ratepayers $63 million as the City improves the old sewer system.  

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 retains ownership at all times.  Following construction, the property owners maintain the new rain gardens.  These projects were constructed by local companies Blossom Earthworks and Dinsdale Landscapes.  Sometimes the property owners contribute their own touches, like garden art.

rain garden 2  rain garden  rain gardenrain garden in yard

For more information, check out this video How to Build a Rain Garden, and upcoming rain garden workshops from the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District .


Dr. Tim Beatley and the "The Promise of Nature in Cities"

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Free public presentation on adapting to climate change next Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Join us next Tuesday, February 11 at noon for Dr. Timothy Beatley’s“The Promise of Nature in Cities” presentation.

Environmental Services is proud to sponsor this free and important presentation in partnership with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, the Audubon Society of Portland, Friends of Trees, The Intertwine, and Urban Greenspaces Institute.

Dr. Beatley, a Sustainable Communities professor at the University of Virginia, will teach us how to be more sustainable and adapt to climate change. By working with nature, we can reduce our ecological footprint – and positively impact our communities for future generations.

The Promise of Nature in Cities

Dr. Timothy Beatley, University of Virginia

February 11, 2014 : Noon – 1 pm

1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500 (located on the 2nd floor)

Contact Linc Mann at (503) 823-5328 for more information

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