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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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Volunteers make a difference for Johnson Creek


two volunteers working in natural areaIt’s amazing what can happen in one day. On March 7, 415 community members took part in the Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s 17th annual Watershed Wide Event. Volunteers at nine restoration sites planted 6,795 trees and shrubs, removed 33 cubic yards of invasive species, distributed three units of mulch, and installed 1,000 feet of protective fencing. 

We’re so impressed with the dedication of the long-timers and the new volunteers who are helping with a cleaner, healthier Johnson Creek for people, salmon and wildlife.  Community efforts like this are paying off.

If you’d like to lend a hand, the Johnson Creek Watershed Council has volunteer opportunities year-round. To find out more call: 503-652-7477 or go to Johnson Creek Watershed Council website.

 woman with a native plant  group of happy volunteers   man planting a tree

Plant a tree, save some green!

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Warmer, longer days following a mild winter mean it’s time to get back in the yard and get our hands dirty.

Although tree planting season is coming to a close, you still have time to purchase and plant trees in your yard and take advantage of the Treebate credit.  Trees help the city manage stormwater where it falls, saving ratepayers money while contributing to clean rivers, healthy watersheds, and livable, sustainable communities. 

It’s easy to participate in four steps:

1. Purchase an eligible tree (or trees)

2. Plant them in your residential yard

3. Submit your Treebate application and your receipt

4. Get a credit on your stormwater utility bill

Don’t delay—the application must be received by April 30th to be considered.  Learn more about the Treebate program and how trees manage stormwater at  Happy planting!

Get Registered for April Naturescaping and Rain Garden Workshops

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There are still spaces left for the FREE classes on April 11th and April 26th

Every year, the staff at East Multnomah County Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) provide FREE naturescaping and rain garden classes across Portland. From the EMSWCD website:

Perfect for all levels of do-it-yourselfers, our FREE workshops highlight landscaping with native plants, water conservation, creative stormwater solutions and chemical-free gardening techniques that are good for people, water and wildlife. Most include a field trip to a neighborhood project or garden to see these principals in action.

This year Environmental Services is hosting two of these workshops in areas where private property stormwater facilities would be most helpful to current sewer rehabilitation projects. The Naturescaping Basics class takes place on Saturday, April 11th, and the Rain Gardens 101 class take place on Sunday, April 26th. If you're interested, see the details below and register now!

Naturescaping Basics

Date: Saturday, April 11th, 9:00am-1:00pm

Location: Southeast Uplift, 3534 SE Main, Portland, 97214

Learn to Naturescape! Naturescaping is the practice of designing (or redesigning) your landscape so that it reduces water use and decreases stormwater runoff while saving you time, money and energy. This introductory workshop introduces the core concepts of naturescaping, and also explores:

·         pollution prevention through the reduction/elimination of chemical use

·         how native plants naturally resist pests & tolerate drought conditions while attracting native birds, butterflies and other   beneficial pollinators to your garden

·         basic site planning principals, and many other great natural gardening & design tips

Even if you decide to enlist the help of a contractor, you’ll have the framework to make decisions and effectively communicate the vision you have for your yard. Class will visit a nearby naturescaped project to see design principles in action. You’ll receive a comprehensive workbook and even a free native plant to help you get started. RSVP for this event!

Rain Gardens 101

Date: Sunday, April 26th, 1:00pm-5:00pm

Location: Southeast Uplift, 3534 SE Main, Portland, 97214

Learn how to build your own rain garden! We’ll explore the critical role rain gardens can play in urban stream restoration, and how they add beautiful landscaping to your yard at the same time.

You will learn how to assess your site to determine the best location and size, calculate impervious surfaces, determine soil suitability, choose appropriate plants, and how to maintain your new rain garden. You will also receive a comprehensive manual that guides you through all the steps in constructing your rain garden. Where possible, workshop includes a short tour of a nearby rain garden. RSVP for this event!


Alien Plant Invader: Garlic Mustard

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An update on successful efforts to fight this plant, and what you can do to help

Garlic mustard.  You’ve probably heard of it.  You’ve maybe seen it.  It might even be in your neighborhood.  It has been a priority invasive species in Portland since 2004. 

Managing this invasive plant involves coordination across three counties and multiple agencies, including the Oregon State Weed Board and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.  Individual Portlanders and neighborhood groups are also providing critical help.

There’s still work to do and it is difficult to see changes from year to year, especially for a weed as adaptable, persistent and widespread as garlic mustard. But, we’ve made improvements on many fronts.

The numbers of plants are down substantially all over town, and particularly on the west side. In recent years, there were sizeable infestations along roads like Germantown, Skyline, and Burnside. Now plants are scattered, patches are small, and our crews don’t have as much to treat as they walk miles of roadside. These “walking tours” will continue into the foreseeable future, to prevent re-infestation and to tamp down flare-ups.

Photo: Garlic mustard along Skyline Boulevard in the West Hills of Portland

The City of Portland is intensifying its garlic mustard control efforts along streams with known infestations, while all partner organizations are increasing their surveys in peripheral areas. The West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District and Portland Parks have made important gains following and treating garlic mustard deep in previously unmanaged areas.

In addition, a few neighborhoods have committed to hand pulling certain stretches of road. These efforts have been quite successful, setting a model for other neighborhoods to adopt and adapt. (Check out the Skyline Ridge Neighbors).

Visit  to learn more about what the plant looks like, some of the lookalike species, garlic mustard’s growth phases, and updates on treatment and management. We hope the last item will provide insight about why we are taking specific steps. Our treatment season normally starts in April and wraps up in June, though we may be starting a little earlier in 2015.


Green Streets and Our River 3/18


Swing by the Green Dragon to chat with Willamette Riverkeeper

neighbors cleaning greenstreet facility

Want to learn more about how you can make a difference in your Portland neighborhood to promote clean water and protect the Willamette River? Join Willamette Riverkeeper and staff from Bureau of Environmental Services for a conversation about the many programs and projects that make Portland so green. Learn about the city's work to promote trees, rain gardens and green street planters, ecoroofs, Green Street Stewards, and ways you can play an active role in protecting your rivers and streams.

Wednesday, March 18th

6:00-7:30 pm

Green Dragon Bistro and Pub in the “Barrel Room”

928 SE 9th Ave, Portland, OR

For more information, contact:

This event is free and pre-registration is not required.