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Phone: 503-823-7740

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Green Streets Cleanup Blitz in the Johnson Creek Watershed

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The volunteer-powered event will take place this Saturday, October 24th, from 9:00am to Noon

Those vegetated swales you see along many Portland streets are becoming a pretty common sight. The city has built more than 1,500 of them to manage stormwater runoff. Street runoff flows into the swale, slows down and soaks into the ground. Soil and plant roots filter pollutants and the clean water replenishes groundwater instead of draining into the sewer system or a local stream.

Green streets work well but need a little attention now and then. This time of year, falling leaves can clog inlets and fill the swales. The Johnson Creek Watershed Council is recruiting volunteers to join them in cleaning up green streets in the Lents neighborhood this weekend.

Volunteers will remove debris from green streets on Saturday, October 24 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. If you want to pitch in, meet at Green Lents Community Tool Library at 9215 SE Ramona Street. Volunteers will break into teams and be assigned green streets within walking distance of the Tool Library.

The watershed council provides the tools and refreshments. And stick around after the cleanup for a potluck from noon to 2:00 p.m. Bring a side dish and join us! To RSVP or for more information, contact Danielle at or 503-652-7477.

If you can’t make it this weekend but you’re interested in helping out, check out the Green Street Stewards program and learn how you can get involved. 

A Day on the Slough


BES Director joins the MCDD on a tour

Touring stormwater facilities along the slough

Environmental Services Director Mike Jordan got out on the Columbia Slough recently to take a look at some of the infrastructure and natural areas that provide Portland's ecosystem and stormwater services.


Mike toured the upper slough with Multnomah Drainage District (MCDD) Director Reed Wagner, BES Columbia Slough Watershed Manager Nancy Hendrickson and BES ecologist Dave Helzer.


The city has stormwater and sewer facilities all around the slough floodplain and near the waterway.  In addition to miles of pipes and many pump stations, there’s also green infrastructure like the Mason Flats wetland that filters pollutants and provides habitat for native birds and wildlife.  

canoeing on the Columbia Slough


Environmental Services and MCDD both have stormwater management responsibilities in the slough area. MCDD is responsible for internal drainage of the land, and BES is in charge of stormwater management and conveyance, and water quality. Both agencies are also part of the regional Levee Ready Columbia project.

Explore Johnson Creek at the Orange Line Tacoma Street Station


Take a weekend ride on the Orange to check out the new station areas

Congratulations to the Johnson Creek Watershed Council and many partners who celebrated the grand opening and ribbon cutting at the new Tacoma Street MAX station and boardwalk on September 17.

boardwalk at Tacoma Street StationThe new MAX line crosses Johnson Creek right at the Tacoma Street station.  At the station, you can take a boardwalk to an overlook of the creek and a series of interpretive panels about the natural and human history at this location.

The watershed council and engineering firm Vigil-Agrimis restored this section of the creek in 2013.  The project improved stream habitat by adding boulders, large wood, and a side channel that provides refuge for salmon and other fish during high water.  This is part of restoration efforts happening all along Johnson Creek – from the headwaters in Boring to the confluence with the Willamette River in Milwaukie. 

The new boardwalk provides a great viewing area of the creek, where migratory salmon spawn and many other native fish and wildlife live.  The project happened thanks to the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association and Oregon Community Foundation, along with dozens of community donors and partners.

Depaving at Saints Peter and Paul Church


Volunteers start a project to add more green space along 82nd Avenue

On a recent sunny Saturday, Environmental Services staff joined other volunteers with Depave and Saints Peter and Paul Episcopal Church to bust up and remove part of the church parking lot to make space for a rain garden. The group also removed invasive English ivy to clear the way for trees and native landscaping. The volunteer turnout was great – a young boy even helped with a mini wheelbarrow.

volunteers removing pavement

BES Watershed Manager Paul Ketcham works with other volunteers to expose soil for future planting.

volunteers removing pavement

BES Stormwater Specialist Danny Kapsch provides technical assistance to groups for rainwater retrofits like this during his regular job. He rolled up his sleeves on the weekend to wrangle no-longer-needed asphalt that other volunteers hauled to a dumpster.


Community actions like this help reduce pollution to the Willamette River and allow rain to soak into the ground, rather than flowing into sewers. They also add benefits to the neighborhood like shade and cooling in hot weather, and habitat for native birds and pollinators. Learn more about this project at


There will be a planting party on October 24 to create the rain garden and native plant areas. Come on out, and invite your friends! Find more details and sign up for that event here.

This project is funded by a Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) Grant.

Check out more photos from the depaving event on Depave’s Google+ album.

Help name a new natural area along Johnson Creek


The Johnson Creek Watershed Council is holding a naming contest for a new public natural area along Johnson Creek and the Springwater Corridor Trail. Do you have a winning name idea?

Luther Road restoration area

In 2014, Environmental Services completed the Luther Road Sewer and Habitat Restoration Project. The project repaired and protected a six-foot diameter sewer pipe that crosses under Johnson Creek on this 10-acre site. The project also improved habitat for salmon and trout listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Learn more on our Luther Road project webpage.

Now the area needs a new name! 

The natural area is accessible by a short trail off the Springwater Trail, and in the future, North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District will convert a portion of the site to a developed park. 

We encourage you to visit to see the newly planted native plants, and watch for birds, salmon and other wildlife. Check out a map of the site here.

Click here to submit your idea for the new natural area name. Watershed Council judges will choose the top three entries. If your idea is one of the top three, you’ll receive a framed Johnson Creek nature photograph. The deadline to enter is Tuesday, October 13 at 5:00 PM.