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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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What's Blooming on Portland Ecoroofs?

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July is a great time to visit an ecoroof in Portland. Many of the most common sedum varieties are blooming now, drawing in an assortment of pollinators in addition to the honey bee.

July is a great time to visit an ecoroof in Portland.  Many of the most common sedum varieties are blooming now, drawing in an assortment of pollinators in addition to the honey bee.

Ecoroofs across town are capped with the white flowers of sedum album and hispanicum, and the yellows of Sedum rupestre, oreganum, kamschaticum and sexangulare.  Delospermas, also known as ice plants, are beginning to flash magenta and will continue to do so for a few months.  But gone are the spring flowers of Sedum divergens, acre and spathulifolium, leaving only stems and seeds to help shade their foliage as the dry season continues. 

Lupines are winding down but wildflowers like Gilia, Tarweed and Geum are blooming now.  Weedy volunteers like epilobiums and many members of the aster family are flowering as well, seeds blowing in the wind, and urban pollinators and birds are finding uses for them.  Fescues, Deschampsias and other grasses are also producing seed now.  Yet to step into the spotlight are the deep pinks of the many varieties of Sedum spurium, and the towering (relatively) telephium and spectabile cultivars such as ‘Autumn Joy’.  They’re putting on ounces in quiet anticipation of fall.  It’s a great time to study up on just what pollinators are using these urban habitats.   Contact BES if you’d like to find out more, or see some ecoroofs in person. 

While that’s all going on, ecoroofs are performing some of their most important stormwater management services.  Portland ecoroofs have shown the most stormwater retention during our infrequent summer rainstorms due to the higher evapotranspiration rates and unsaturated soils. This is important because regulations for water quality and combined sewer overflows are more stringent in summer, when there’s typically more time for pollutants to accumulate between less frequent rainfall. 

Come Play in the River at the Big Float


Register now for the July 27 Big Float

It’s hard to believe, but it’s already time for the fourth annual Big Float!  On July 27, join Portland’s celebration of the Willamette River with the Human Access Project and other sponsors. 

people floating on the Willamette River

People of all ages are welcome to grab an inner tube for a leisurely float, with live music on the water, a parade and after party.  What a great way to cool off on a hot summer day.  

marching to the Big FloatCheck out for event details and registration links.  Registration is only $6 if you sign up before 7/13.


Yep, the Willamette’s water quality is safe for swimming in the summer and much of the rest of the year!

This is thanks to Portlanders’ investment in the "Big Pipes" and other projects to reduce combined sewer overflows to the river. 

Environmental Services continues to protect this investment and further improve conditions in our rivers and streams with green infrastructure to manage stormwater, environmental restoration projects, sewer system improvements and pollution prevention efforts.

enjoying the Willamette River on a hot day


See, doesn't this look fun?

New Project Starts Near Springwater Corridor Trail


Stream restoration and sewer pipe repair go hand-in-hand.

Construction began last week on a new restoration project in Johnson Creek!

exposed sewer pipe in Johnson Creek

The Luther Road Habitat Restoration Project will repair a 76-inch sanitary sewer pipe and manhole in Johnson Creek that are exposed due to erosion and are at risk of failure.  The project also includes moving and restoring the channel of Johnson Creek and restoring natural floodplain functions. 

This will help protect the sewer infrastructure, protect nearby private property and public health, and improve water quality and stream habitat for endangered salmon, trout and other sensitive species.

The picture above shows the exposed pipe and unstable, erroding stream bank. 

view of the site before restorationThe project site (shown at right) is on a 10-acre parcel along Johnson Creek near the intersection of SE Luther Road and the Springwater Corridor Trail.  

The property was purchased by Environmental Services, North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District (NCPRD), and Metro.  NCPRD plans to develop a park at the site in the future, and will protect the 6-acre restoration project as a natural area.


The project includes:

  • 2,000 feet of new stream channel and 5 acres of new floodplain
  • Sewer pipe will be reinforced and buried in place, eliminating a significant public health threat
  • 6 acres of improved stream and upland habitat for fish and wildlife
  • 3,000 feet of new trails with interpretive signs
  • Over 13,000 new native trees and shrubs

The Luther Road project is part of Environmental Services and partners’ ongoing work to improve floodplain and stream functions, water quality and habitat in the Johnson Creek Watershed. A similar project was completed in 2006 at Tideman Johnson Park (see the update on that project here).


CONSTRUCTION ALERT FOR SPRINGWATER CORRIDOR TRAIL: During construction, vehicles will access the site from SE Luther Road at SE 73rd Avenue and across the Springwater Corridor Trail. About one construction vehicle will cross the trail onto the site every ten minutes. If needed, a flagger will direct traffic at the crossing point. Trail users will not be stopped unless it is necessary for their safety. Signs placed on the trail in advance of the crossing will alert users of the construction and possible delays.

Please email to receive weekly updates by email.

Find out more about this project at

Find out more about other Johnson Creek restoration projects here

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.