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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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Wilkes Creek Headwaters Project: Before and After


Stream provides clean water to the Slough

Wilkes Creek Headwaters, a natural area in northeast Portland, contains the springs that feed the only free flowing stream in the city that still enters the Columbia Slough. The City of Portland and Metro acquired the site, near NE 155th and NE Fremont Street, in 2011.

This summer, Environmental Services removed a culvert that was inhibiting stream flow, wildlife and fish movement and replaced it with a recycled railroad bridge. We also removed two spring boxes once used to store water on the farm that was on the site. Now all the spring water flows directly into Wilkes Creek. Native shrubs, trees and groundcover near the bridge will be planted this winter and spring.

culvert and invasive plants choking the stream Before

 new bridge and free flowing stream After

Although there is not yet public access to the park, the bridge provides access for city staff working on the site prior to the development of a Parks Master Plan. There is no timeline for that process at this point. Both Portland Parks & Recreation and Environmental Services are currently working to make the natural area portion of the site safe and to restore the ecosystem to support clean water and a healthy Columbia Slough watershed. Over the next several years, crews will continue to remove invasive holly and clematis and restore native vegetation.

Take a Ride on the Stormwater Cycling Tour

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The free tour will take place this Saturday, November 22nd from 9:45am - 12:30 pm

This Saturday, join staff from Portland’s Bureau of Transportation and Bureau of Environmental Services for a tour of green streets and other innovative stormwater designs that help protect our watersheds and enhance the beauty and safety of our streets for folks on foot or bike.

Great for folks new to the bike or new to the area, the ride will be an easy-paced loop, with stops along the way and returning to the start location.  The route will occur on low-traffic streets and neighborhood greenways, with some off-street paths.  A few sections will be on streets with bike lanes.  The ride is free, but helmets are required.  Kids under 16 welcome if accompanied by an adult.

The ride is part of the Portland By Cycle series of rides and classes. Click here to see the full schedule. Find your way to the ride by bike or transit with Trimet's multi-modal trip planner.

Stormwater Cycling Tour

Saturday, November 22, 9:45 AM – 12:30 p.m.

Meeting location: Crema, SE Ankeny St and 28th Ave

Over one-third of Portland’s 2,500 miles of sewer pipes are more than 80 years old.  Portland combines sewer improvements that replace or repair Portland’s aging sewer pipes with green streets, ecoroofs, trees and other green infrastructure to increase sewer system efficiency, and protect water quality, public health, and the environment.  Green infrastructure keeps stormwater out of the sewer system, filters pollutants, provides habitat and increases neighborhood green space for healthier watersheds.  


Green Street Plantings on Division Street

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Planting season is underway and crews are hard at work adding vegetation to new green street planters

We’re in the middle of November and it’s planting season! Environmental Services crews are hard at work adding vegetation to new green street planters along SE Division Street. Green streets capture stormwater runoff from streets and let the water soak into the ground as soil and plants filter pollutants. Green streets keep stormwater out of the sewer system and help prevent basement backups. These hardy green street plants are best established in the fall and will play an important role for years to come.

The plantings are the final steps in getting these green street facilities operational for the rainy season. The city maintains green streets, but you can help too. Green Street Stewards are volunteers who help keep green streets in good working order in between city maintenance visits. Go to to learn more and adopt your own green street.

The Division Streetscape Project is part of the Tabor to the River program, which combines cutting-edge stormwater management techniques with sewer repairs and improvements to stop basement flooding, manage stormwater naturally on-site, and restore watershed health. Visit to learn more.

Beaver at work in Tryon Creek


We thought you might like this beaver dam photo from an earlier, slightly warmer day this fall.  (Don't worry, our field crews are looking a little more bundled up this week.)

scientists at beaver dam in Tryon Creek  beaver dam from downstream

In September, we shared a story about lamprey in Tryon Creek.  On that same visit, Environmental Services staff discovered this brand new beaver dam in the creek.  This new work of natural art and engineering is between the Tryon Creek confluence with the Willamette River and Highway 43.

Learn more about why it’s good to see beaver activity in Portland’s streams in stories from Johnson Creek and Stephens Creek.

Check out this PBS documentary, Leave it to Beavers.  

Naturescaping and Rain Gardens Wokshops a Success

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Dozens participate in October workshops sponsored by East Multnomah County Soil and Water Conservation District

More than 60 area residents participated in East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District’s October workshops on Naturescaping & Rain Gardens, sponsored by Environmental Services and held at the Southeast Uplift office.

Over coffee and snacks, participants learned firsthand from skilled landscape design professionals about how to prepare for projects on their property. Workshops covered basic site planning principles, interactive site selection for rain gardens, background on selecting native plants, tools for evaluating soil and removing sod, maintenance tips, and a field trip to a model naturescaping and rain garden project on the SE Uplift campus.

If you’re interested in participating in future workshops, go to the East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District website for more information. There are a few November classes remaining and there will be more classes in spring.

If you can’t attend a workshop, you can take advantage of basic tips on both Naturescaping and Rain Gardens. And if you manage stormwater on your property with a rain garden, you may be eligible for up to 100% off your on-site stormwater charge through Clean River Rewards.

Instructor Lora Price helps participants choose the best site for a rain garden.

Participants learn about appropriate plants, like the Red Twig Dogwood