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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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Stories from Our Watersheds: River Restoration NW Film Festival


Portland’s work and other stories on the big screen (with pizza)

construction to restore streamOn April 30 at the Hollywood Theater, the River Restoration NW Film Fest will showcase some of the best recent films about rivers, streams and fish from the northwest all the way to the Congo River.  Tickets are only $8, there’s beer and pizza, and you’ll be inspired about the great work that’s happening. 

Our own Crystal Springs Restoration project will be featured in a short film from local Straw Bale Films.  We’re looking forward to seeing all the other great stories, too, and hope to see you there!

For tickets and more information, visit the Hollywood Theater website:


Photo: construction begins on a restoration project in Crystal Springs Creek in 2013

Help bust pavement in Portland


City Green Partner Depave is recruiting volunteers and new projects

people breaking pavement at project siteLooking for a great way to get involved in the community this summer, and build some muscles smashing pavement at the same time?  Depave is a people-powered nonprofit organization that partners with landowners and local groups to remove excess and unwanted pavement from urban areas and create community green spaces like bioswales and food gardens.  

Impervious area (hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt) prevents rainwater from soaking into the ground.  Instead, it runs off into sewer pipes or nearby streams and rivers.  Along the way, the runoff can pick up pollutants such as oil, antifreeze, pesticides and heavy metals.  These pollutants end up in our waterways, harming habitat and polluting the water.  Removing pavement and adding back trees and plants to the land reduces the amount of stormwater runoff and pollution entering our waterways.

Since 2008, Depave has removed over 123,000 square feet of pavement (more than the area of two pro football fields!) to create 40 new greenspaces in Portland.  Combined, these projects divert nearly 2.9 million gallons of stormwater from the storm drains annually.  They also add native plants, reduce flooding, improve air quality, create nature in our neighborhoods and many other benefits.  

Need more reasons?  Smashing pavement is FUN, and the people are great.  

Check out the photos from a recent project Depave, Faith Community Church and the Russian Speaking Network of Oregon completed: 

Here are 2 ways to get involved: 

  • Become a Crew Leader for the 2015 summer-fall season.  

​Learn more about Crew Leading and RSVP to attend the orientation on May 16th here:

  • Nominate a site to turn from gray to green.

Depave has an exciting season planned for 2015 but is always on the lookout for candidate sites for future depaving in the Portland Metro Area. Tired of that unused parking lot in your neighborhood?  Know of an area badly in need of greenspace? Depave would love to hear from you:

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!