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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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Environmental Services is hosting two FREE workshops in October, and you’re invited!

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Sign up for naturescaping and rain garden 101 workshops taking place in October

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.

Naturescaping Basics

Date: Sun, Oct. 12
Time: 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: Southeast Uplift
Address: 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: Sat, Oct. 25
Time: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Location: Southeast Uplift
Address: 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!

Johnson Creek’s “Classy, Not Trashy” clean up a big success


Trash removal complements restoration efforts for a healthier stream.

volunteers remove tires  cleaning up the creek

The Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s 8th annual creek clean-up was a resounding success. On August 23rd, about 140 volunteers removed trash from 18 locations in and near Johnson Creek. In all, they collected over 3 tons of trash (wow!), and recycled 30 bags of material and 20 tires.

The event was supported in part through a grant by Environmental Service’s Community Watershed Stewardship Program. Green Lents led the event on behalf of the watershed council. Other partners included Clackamas County Water Environment Services, Metro, North Clackamas Parks and Recreation, Overland Park Coalition, and Portland Parks and Recreation.

For more information about how to volunteer for future Johnson Creek Watershed Council events contact Amy Lodholz at 503-652-7477 or


Treebate Season Starts


Portlanders can get a credit on their sewer bill for planting trees

As of September 1, Environmental Services is again accepting Treebate applications.  Portland residents who plant eligible trees in their yards can get a sewer bill credit of up to $50, depending on the size of the tree.  The application is only available during the prefered planting season, September through April. 

large treeThe Treebate Program has resulted in more than 1,000 Environmental Services customers receiving credits for planting 2,408 trees since the program began in 2009.

Get more Treebate information at

Learn more about Environmental Services tree programs at and in these stories from earlier this year:

New Trees Take Root in East Portland

Air Gapping: Protecting Trees from Invasive Vines

Plant a young tree day it may be this big!

Environmental Services Hosts Stormwater Tour for Budget Staff and Advisors

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Members of the Portland Utility Review Board, Citizens' Utility Board, and the City Budget Office attended the tour.

On Thursday August 18, Environmental Services staff led members of the Public Utility Review Board, Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon, and City Budget Office on a tour of sewer and stormwater improvement projects.

The Public Utility Review Board’s mission is to provide equitable, reasonable and balanced representation of the community when advising the Mayor and the City Council on water, sewer, stormwater and solid waste financial plans and rates. The Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon is a nonprofit organization. Its mission is to represent the interests of Oregon’s residential utility customers before administrative, judicial and legislative bodies.

First stop on the tour was a sump retrofit project site in outer southeast Portland. Sumps, also known as underground injection controls (UICs), are perforated pipes installed vertically underground. They collect stormwater runoff from streets and allow the water to soak into the ground. Environmental Services is connecting several existing sumps to sedimentation manholes that remove sediment and debris from stormwater before the cleaner water flows into the sumps. The project will protect groundwater and help Portland comply with its federally-regulated UIC permit.

Barb Adkins of BES explains the UIC Program  

Barb Adkins and Tracy Rauscher of BES explain the UIC Program

Next, the group visited the Foster Floodplain Natural Area. The 63-acre natural area reduces the risk of Johnson Creek flooding, improves water quality and enhances fish habitat in the creek.

    Marie Walkiewicz of the BES Johnson Creek Watershed Team, explains the Foster Floodplain Restoration Project

Marie Walkiewicz of the BES Johnson Creek Watershed Program led a tour of the Foster Floodplain Natural Area.

Finally, the group toured project sites in the Tabor to the River program area. The tour included several green street facilities, pipe rehabilitation projects, and examples of projects included in the Private Property Retrofit Program and the Green Street Stewards Program.


Bringing Lamprey Back to Tryon Creek


Signs of improving conditions in parts of the stream.

6 inch Pacific lamprey in netWe’ve blogged about lamprey in Johnson Creek and Crystal Springs, and now it’s time for some exciting news about these creatures in Tryon Creek in SW Portland. 

Here’s a Pacific lamprey found in the creek by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) crew.  USFWS was surveying for lamprey as part of efforts to bring these native fish back to Tryon Creek.  This one is about 6" long.

Pacific lamprey spawn in many tributaries of the lower Willamette River, but are in decline across the northwest.  Due to the many efforts to improve conditions in Tryon Creek, including BES projects to improve water quality and habitat, biologists feel that there is a good opportunity there to establish a natural cycle of lamprey migration and spawning. 

The USFWS and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife launched a pilot project in 2013 to seed Tryon Creek with larval Pacific lamprey from local sources, and annual surveys are conducted looking for larvae and adult lamprey. Information on implementation and results will be shared with partners like the Friends of Tryon Creek, Tryon Creek Watershed Council and the City of Portland.  Learn more about Pacific lamprey and these efforts on USFWS’s website

For more news about findings from monitoring at the Tryon Creek Confluence project area, check out this new fact sheet.