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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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Before and After: The Tryon Creek Iron Mountain Project


Keeping sewage out of the water and improving stream habitat.

This summer marks five years since completing the Tryon Creek Iron Mountain Streambank Restoration and Sewer Maintenance Project in Southwest Portland. We are excited to share some photos showing the dramatic changes that have taken place along this part of Tryon Creek. 

The Iron Mountain Project is located just upstream of the Iron Mountain Bridge in Tryon Creek State Natural Area. In 2008 an exposed sanitary sewer line along Tryon Creek posed a threat of leaking sewage into the stream.

exposed sewer pipe and manhole in stream

project area at start of construction

The photos above show the exposed sewer infrastructure, eroding stream banks, and invasive plants contributing to problems there.

stream and bank after constructionEnvironmental Services’ project protected the sewer infrastructure, restored stream bank conditions, and enhanced 200 feet of stream and over three acres of habitat. The project enhanced stream and wetland functions to benefit threatened salmon and other native fish and wildlife.

The photo to the left shows the same spot, just after construction.  Look for the large fir tree trunk in the background of each photo for comparison.



mature plants at project siteNow, five years later, the stream bank is stable and native plants have filled in the area.  It may look like a jungle, but this is a healthier stream!


Learn more about Tryon Creek and other projects we’re doing to improve conditions in the watershed.

Check out activities, events, and ways to get involved with the Friends of Tryon Creek.

Construction Starts on Terraced Rain Gardens Project


Green Infrastructure along I-5 in SW Portland will help protect Tryon Creek

rain garden project construction signWondering about the new construction along I-5 in Southwest Portland? Construction started in July on our Terraced Rain Gardens Project.  


Environmental Services is partnering with Oregon Department of Transportation to construct a series of terraced rain gardens to treat stormwater runoff at the intersection of Interstate 5, SW Barbur Boulevard and SW 26th Avenue.  This project will protect water quality in Tryon Creek.


Stormwater runoff from these roads currently drains directly to Tryon Creek and carries pollutants to the creek. The rain gardens will slow runoff, reduce erosion and allow pollutants to settle out before the stormwater enters Tryon Creek. Tryon Creek is among the few streams in the Portland metro area with a run of steelhead trout, and coho salmon have been recorded spawning in the creek.

construction site near SW 26th Ave


For construction updates, check the project page.

To learn more about Environmental Services projects to improve Tryon Creek, visit the Tryon Creek Watershed page.

A Lamprey at Luther Road

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Check out this critter found in Johnson Creek

We recently posted about the start of a new stream and sewer pipe protection project in SE Portland.  Construction is now well underway on the Luther Road Habitat Restoration Project in Johnson Creek.

lamprey in bucket

Rescuing fish in the project area before construction is an important step in our restoration projects.  Check out the Pacific lamprey that was relocated as part of this effort.


Learn more about lamprey here, and follow Luna the Lamprey on Facebook!


Find out more about the fish salvage at Luther Road and the sewer pipe repair progress in this construction update

City Green Partner: Portland Surfrider Foundation


This group of surfers helps keep our streams, rivers and ocean clean.

Portland’s chapter of the national Surfrider Foundation focuses on awareness and education around litter and its effect on our rivers, streams and the ocean.

For the past two years, Surfrider Foundation has partnered with Portland’s Green Street Steward Program. Volunteers for two groups (one in SE Portland the other in the NE Portland) get together once a month and pick up litter from our streets and green street facilities. On average between 50-80 gallons of trash are removed in just a couple of hours.

Check out this video, as well as pictures from their recent event cleaning up North Portland after the 4th of July holiday.

A big thanks to Portland Surfriders for their awesome volunteer spirit. Picking up litter may seem like an unglamorous task, but this group keeps it fun!  Their work helps locally – keeping trash out of our rivers, streams, sewer system, and green streets.  It makes our neighborhoods cleaner, and trickles down to a cleaner ocean, too.

Find out more about Surfrider Foundation, including upcoming events and ways to get involved at

Learn more about the Green Street Steward Program at

Portland Watershed Monitoring and Bird Surveys

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Environmental Services biologists are monitoring populations of Portland area birds, valuable indicators of ecosystem and watershed health

The Portland Area Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Program (PAWMAP) evaluates water quality, watershed conditions, habitats and wildlife. Since 2010, Environmental Services has used this citywide monitoring to evaluate and protect our watersheds and to meet state and federal requirements and city goals. In recent months, bureau biologists have been surveying Portland’s bird population as part of this effort. These surveys are called point counts. A biologist identifies and tallies all birds seen and heard over an eight minute period, creating a bird census. Birds are valuable ecosystem indicators and contribute to a holistic assessment of watershed health.

The biologists are also keeping tabs on bird nests in Environmental Services construction project areas. These nests are protected and monitored to ensure that our construction activities cause no harm and support urban wildlife.  

Here are some great photos from the field surveyors.