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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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Mayor Hales and Commissioner Nick Fish sport their salmon pride at Sunday Parkways


people wearing fish hats at Sunday Parkways

Mayor Charlie Hales and Nancy Hales (in blue) with Environmental Services staff at Sunday Parkways

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the BES booth at the Southeast Sunday Parkways event last weekend!  Visitors included Commissioner Nick Fish, Mayor Charlie Hales and Nancy Hales . It was great fun spreading Portland's salmon love with fish hats, modeled here by Mayor Hales, his wife Nancy and some of the BES team.

Commissioner Nick Fish (second from left) with Environmental Services staff at Sunday Parkways

We'll see you at the next Sunday Parkways: September 27 in the Westmoreland and Sellwood area. The route includes the new Tilikum Crossing Bridge and crosses Crystal Springs creek, home to spawning salmon right in the city.  Stay tuned to the Sunday Parkways News blog or Facebook for more details on that event.

Checking in on Tabor to the River Street Trees

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Since 2008, Environmental Services and Friends of Trees have planted over 1,000 street trees in the Tabor to the River Program area

Each year, Environmental Services and partners at Friends of Trees plant street trees in many Portland neighborhoods. Since 2008, more than 1000 trees have been planted in the Tabor to the River program area. Street trees provide a variety of benefits to residents, including intercepting stormwater, providing habitat, increasing property values, calming traffic, improving aesthetics, and reducing pollution.

This year, we checked in on the first trees we planted in 2008, 2009, and 2010. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the vast majority of trees were alive and healthy. In just 5-7 years, they’ve really grown up!


Paperbark maple in 2009 (left) and 2015 (right)


City Sprite Zelkova in 2011 (left) and 2015 (right)


Frontier elm in 2010 (left) and 2015 (right)

In 2014-2015, Tabor to the River and Friends of Trees planted another 182 trees in the program area, with 93 of those planted as part of the Division Streetscape Project.

Want low-cost street trees of your own? Click here to sign up for Friends of Trees and take part in your community planting event. And click here to learn more about the Environmental Services Tree Program. 

Stream Enhancement Along Ash Creek

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Learn about recent projects in the Fanno Creek watershed that protect pipes and improve habitat and water quality

Environmental Services is working with Portland Parks & Recreation to construct a stream enhancement project in the Ash Creek Natural Area/Taylor’s Woods portion of Dickinson Park. Construction started earlier this month and is expected to be completed by early September.

Map of the Ash Creek Stream Enhancement Project

The key project goal is to protect an exposed sanitary sewer pipe, but we took the opportunity to stabilize the stream channel and improve in-stream habitat at key locations, which will help improve water quality and habitat in South Ash Creek watershed. To learn more about the current condition of the watershed visit our Fanno Creek Watershed Report Card website.

Construction is happening now when creek levels are low to minimize potential impacts to important fish, wildlife and habitat resources as required by state and federal regulations. This fall we will replant native plants in areas disturbed during construction and throughout the Ash Creek Natural Area. 

Exposed sanitary sewer pipe in South Ash Creek (before the project)

Restoration work to protect the pipe and re-establish native vegetation along the stream bank

Grade breaks to protect the sanitary sewer line


Join Environmental Services at Multnomah Days on Saturday, August 15th

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The Multnomah Village Business Association invites you to join them this Saturday for the 2015 Multnomah Days Parade and street fair.


The Multnomah Village Business Association invites you to join them this Saturday for the 2015 Multnomah Days Parade and street fair.

Multnomah Days are free and fun for the whole family. The parade showcases Portland’s diverse and eclectic culture. It’s followed by a wonderful fair, filled with tasty treats and lots of local vendors. Street fairs are a great way to enjoy the warm, sunny weather, meet your neighbors, and support local small businesses.

Staff from Environmental Services will be on-hand to share stormwater and watershed improvement projects in Southwest Portland, including the Stephens Creek Program, Tryon-Stephens Street Rehabilitation, and our work with Southwest Neighborhoods Incorporated Watershed Resource Center.

Multnomah Days

SW 35th Ave and Capitol Hwy

Saturday, August 15, 10 am – 10 pm

An Update on Beetles in Oaks Bottom

Everything you need to know about the Sellwood Neighborhood biocontrol migration event

Last month we posted about beetles used to combat purple loosestrife in the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. Thanks to the warm and dry weather over the last several weeks, conditions at Oaks Bottom have changed and the beetle population has boomed. Over the past weekend, many of the beetles migrated into the Sellwood neighborhood in search of more food, and neighbors there are reporting damage to plants and gardens.

Galerucella beetle feeding on purple loosestrife

The good news is that the beetles were very effective in damaging the expansive purple loosestrife, an invasive plant that reduces plant diversity in natural areas by choking out native plant species. In addition, dense purple loosestrife can reduce drainage flows by slowing the flow of water and causing sediment accumulation.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) Noxious Weed Program is in charge of responding to this issue and is addressing concerns. ODA has issued a fact sheet with the below information to assure that the correct information is being provided. Portland Parks and Recreation has set up this web page for additional information and for contacts with the State Department of Agriculture.  

Sellwood Neighborhood Biocontrol Migration Event Facts

  • The Galerucella beetle migration is only expected to last a few more days, although with current unusual weather patterns it is difficult to predict exactly.
  • While the beetles may feed on plants other than purple loosestrife, they are unlikely to reproduce on other plants and should not become established outside the wetland.
  • The beetles do not bite and are not harmful to humans, pets or wildlife.
  • The best course of action for residents is to maintain the health of their plants to the best of their abilities in order to give them the best chance at regeneration.
  • If insect control products are desired, residents should consult with local home and garden or OSU extension personnel to find ones that are labeled for control of leaf-eating beetles and for the site used.  Read and follow all label instructions.
  • ODA has managed a safe, effective biocontrol program in Oregon for over 40 years using tested, federally-approved agents.
  • After many years of testing and federal approval, Galerucella calmariensis, a successful natural predator of purple loosestrife, was released in Oregon in 1992.
  • The current Galerucella leaf beetle migration event in Sellwood is unprecedented and likely the result of a “perfect storm” of environmental factors that are very unlikely to occur together again.
  • Purple loosestrife, the target exotic invasive weed, has the potential to cause over $28 million in economic damages through disruption of wetland ecosystems.
  • Managing purple loosestrife without biocontrol would require multiple herbicide applications over large amounts of sensitive wetland habitat.
  • Because the purple loosestrife population has been hard hit by the beetles this year, there should be much less plant material available for food in subsequent years and biocontrol population explosions to this extent are not expected to happen again.
  • This non-target mass feeding event was not anticipated, and very unfortunately negatively impacted residents in the Sellwood area.  However, the huge reduction in the invasive purple loosestrife will give the wetland a huge boost toward returning to healthy ecological function, and achieving the same level of control of purple loosestrife without insects would have required broad application of herbicide.

Further information: 

  • Purple loosestrife, an exotic invasive plant that infests wetlands and riparian areas, has the potential to cause over $28 million in economic damages if it were to spread to the 15 million plus acres of available habitat in the state.  It negatively impacts water quality, recreation and species diversity through its disruption of the ecosystem.
  • After extensive safety testing, the USDA-approved biological control agents Galerucella calmariensis and Galerucella pusilla, or leaf beetles, were first released in the state in 1992 and first released in the Oaks Bottom wetland ten years ago – to ODA’s knowledge the first time they were released in Oregon on a large expanse of purple loosestrife so close to a residential area. 
  • After multiple failures to establish because of flooding patterns in the wetland, they finally established in 2013 and overwintered successfully in 2014.
  • This year’s extreme population spike appears to be the result of a “perfect storm” of heavy purple loosestrife growth providing abundant food, favorable water conditions, and an unusual weather pattern which created an especially long growing season for the insects.
  • Once the insects hatched they decimated their host food source and began to seek alternative sources before they overwintering; they migrated up out of the wetland into the Sellwood neighborhood on an unprecedented scale.
  • They were most commonly found clustering and feeding on plants in the rose family and on crape myrtle, and were also observed on a plant in the waxweed family.
  • Galerucella calmariensis & Galerucella pusilla have one generation per year and deposit eggs on purple loosestrife from April to June. After laying eggs the adults begin to disperse to new areas during July - August, eggs are not normally laid again until the following spring.  Adults feed on foliage before going into hibernation and overwinter in the adult stage.