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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

Portland's Tree Hug Record is Official


Guinness recognizes our love of trees, just in time for Arbor Day 2014.

hugging trees at Hoyt ArboretumWe knew it, but now it’s officially on record: last July’s tree hug at Hoyt Arboretum just posted as the verified official Guinness World Record for most people hugging trees at one time!

Treecology, Inc. and Hoyt Arboretum partnered with Friends of Trees, Environmental Services and others to get 936 people out into the arboretum—including a newly married bride and groom who happened upon the scene—to appreciate trees. 

Thanks to everyone who participated, we hold the record for now.  But, Scotland has challenged us, so now is a good time to save the date for Portland’s next tree hug to help hold the record: July 12, 2014.  We’ll need your help to make it bigger and better. 

But July is a ways off-- in the meantime, check out all of the activities coming up in April for Portland's Arbor Month.

Trees help manage stormwater and provide many other benefits that make our city cleaner, greener, and a healthier place to live.  Find out more about Environmental Services’ work to plant trees for clean rivers and streams and how you can help:

Related City Green posts:

New Trees Take Root in East Portland

Trees Catch the Rain

NE 33rd Drive BIG Culvert Project Completed

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Another big BES in-water project is completed and functioning well in the Columbia Slough.

Environmental Services replaced a culvert at NE 33rd Drive where it crosses the Buffalo Slough, a southern arm of the Columbia Slough. The old culvert was too small and too high — all that water, trying to get through that little round metal culvert.  This warmed up the Slough and caused water quality problems. The old culvert also prevented fish and wildlife passage. The slough is home to native fish, mussels, turtles and many bird species.

The NE 33rd Drive culvert, before construction


The new box style culvert is 12 feet high and its design that allows plenty of water flow that improves water quality and fish passage. Construction required deep excavation, a temporary dam, extreme care around existing utility and fiber optic lines, and constant pumping of the high ground water in this area. The project also included building new sidewalks on NE 33rd Drive and street-side planters that manage stormwater runoff on both sides of the street. See the photos of the new culvert below, and learn more about the NE 33rd Drive Culvert Project here


The 33rd Drive culvert, after construction



Sunday Parkways 2014: Explore your Watershed!

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The first event is May 11, with a stop at Foster Floodplain Natural Area.

The 2014 Sunday Parkways dates have been announced, and we at Environmental Services are oh-so-excited to participate once again.  The events get thousands of Portlanders out biking, walking, rolling and dancing through neighborhoods in all of Portland’s watersheds

Human-powered transportation is a great way to help our rivers, streams and environment.  And, we can slow down and see the nature right here in our neighborhoods.

Foster Floodplain natural area in springWe’re happy to announce that we will again be hosting a stop at Foster Floodplain Natural Area in Lents during the East Portland Sunday Parkways event this Mothers Day, May 11th.

There will be live music, nature activities for kids, local food and information about Johnson Creek and local community groups. Mark your calendars and join us for an exciting day of environmental awareness, community celebration and healthy fun. If you haven’t been to Foster Floodplain yet, this is a great excuse to see what all the buzz is about.


fish hats at Sunday Parkways

The Foster Floodplain stop is where you can pick up one of the famous fish hats—they went fast last year!

For more information on other Sunday Parkways events and dates, please see the Sunday Parkways website.

Stayed tuned for more information as the May 11 event gets closer. 

Update to the Stormwater Management Manual

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The updated manual will be required for all project designs submitted after April 2, 2014

Operating under permits from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Environmental Services operates and maintains Portland’s sanitary sewer collection system and two wastewater treatment plants, and manages systems that convey stormwater runoff to streams, creeks, and rivers and to groundwater. These permits require Portland to manage stormwater runoff in a way that protects public infrastructure, human health and safety, and the environment.Portland’s Stormwater Management Manual (SWMM) contains stormwater management design requirements for all Portland development, redevelopment, and improvement projects on private and public property and in the public right-of-way.

Portland requires development and improvement projects to manage stormwater runoff on-site. The SWMM shows developers and property owners a variety of methods to reduce the impact of stormwater runoff on sewer systems, groundwater, rivers and streams. Examples of approved stormwater management facilities include landscaped swales, stormwater planters, vegetative filters, and landscape or underground infiltration.

In January 2014, the city released an updated version of the SWMM. Project designers have the option of using the 2008 Stormwater Management Manual or the 2014 manual until April. After April 2, 2014, all project designers must use the 2014 manual.

The 2014 SWMM is available for download at

Stormwater Challenge Workshops Start Saturday


This series of hands-on workshops tackles the challenge of stormwater in Southwest Portland.

digging a rain gardenDo you want to save money on your landscaping?  Or learn how to reduce runoff, improve stream health, and reduce flooding in the challenging hills and soils of SW Portland?

This FREE workshop series will help! 


Starting this Saturday, March 15, join landscape and watershed professionals for some hands-on experience assessing, designing and installing different kinds of natural stormwater management projects that are appropriate for the unique conditions in SW Portland. 

For more information, a registration link and flyer, visit

Questions?  Contact or 503-823-2862


Here's a brief overview of the series:

Introductory Workshop:

Plan & Design Best Practices for Challenging Sites Saturday, March 15th, 9 am – 3 pm Limit: 30 people

In this workshop you’ll learn how to identify and locate a variety of landscape approaches that are safe, simple, cost-effective, and environmentally effective regardless of the site’s natural conditions. We’ll visit three homes, perform a site assessment to look for opportunities, and then return to our desks to collaborate on site designs for each of them.

Workshops 2, 3, & 4:

Build the Best Practices Saturdays: April 5th, April 19th, & May 3rd,  9 am – 1 pm Limit: 10 people

Participants will receive additional training as we install stormwater projects at three residential demonstration sites with varying degrees of challenging conditions.  We’ll work together to implement the final design resulting from a combination of the planning and design work in the Introductory Workshop, with some additional consultation with each of the homeowners.  Because we will focus on different techniques and conditions at each site, participants are encouraged (but not required) to attend all three!

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