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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 1000, Portland, OR 97204

Sunday Parkways 2014: Explore your Watershed!

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The first event is May 11, with a stop at Foster Floodplain Natural Area.

The 2014 Sunday Parkways dates have been announced, and we at Environmental Services are oh-so-excited to participate once again.  The events get thousands of Portlanders out biking, walking, rolling and dancing through neighborhoods in all of Portland’s watersheds

Human-powered transportation is a great way to help our rivers, streams and environment.  And, we can slow down and see the nature right here in our neighborhoods.

Foster Floodplain natural area in springWe’re happy to announce that we will again be hosting a stop at Foster Floodplain Natural Area in Lents during the East Portland Sunday Parkways event this Mothers Day, May 11th.

There will be live music, nature activities for kids, local food and information about Johnson Creek and local community groups. Mark your calendars and join us for an exciting day of environmental awareness, community celebration and healthy fun. If you haven’t been to Foster Floodplain yet, this is a great excuse to see what all the buzz is about.


fish hats at Sunday Parkways

The Foster Floodplain stop is where you can pick up one of the famous fish hats—they went fast last year!

For more information on other Sunday Parkways events and dates, please see the Sunday Parkways website.

Stayed tuned for more information as the May 11 event gets closer. 

Update to the Stormwater Management Manual

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The updated manual will be required for all project designs submitted after April 2, 2014

Operating under permits from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Environmental Services operates and maintains Portland’s sanitary sewer collection system and two wastewater treatment plants, and manages systems that convey stormwater runoff to streams, creeks, and rivers and to groundwater. These permits require Portland to manage stormwater runoff in a way that protects public infrastructure, human health and safety, and the environment.Portland’s Stormwater Management Manual (SWMM) contains stormwater management design requirements for all Portland development, redevelopment, and improvement projects on private and public property and in the public right-of-way.

Portland requires development and improvement projects to manage stormwater runoff on-site. The SWMM shows developers and property owners a variety of methods to reduce the impact of stormwater runoff on sewer systems, groundwater, rivers and streams. Examples of approved stormwater management facilities include landscaped swales, stormwater planters, vegetative filters, and landscape or underground infiltration.

In January 2014, the city released an updated version of the SWMM. Project designers have the option of using the 2008 Stormwater Management Manual or the 2014 manual until April. After April 2, 2014, all project designers must use the 2014 manual.

The 2014 SWMM is available for download at

Stormwater Challenge Workshops Start Saturday


This series of hands-on workshops tackles the challenge of stormwater in Southwest Portland.

digging a rain gardenDo you want to save money on your landscaping?  Or learn how to reduce runoff, improve stream health, and reduce flooding in the challenging hills and soils of SW Portland?

This FREE workshop series will help! 


Starting this Saturday, March 15, join landscape and watershed professionals for some hands-on experience assessing, designing and installing different kinds of natural stormwater management projects that are appropriate for the unique conditions in SW Portland. 

For more information, a registration link and flyer, visit

Questions?  Contact or 503-823-2862


Here's a brief overview of the series:

Introductory Workshop:

Plan & Design Best Practices for Challenging Sites Saturday, March 15th, 9 am – 3 pm Limit: 30 people

In this workshop you’ll learn how to identify and locate a variety of landscape approaches that are safe, simple, cost-effective, and environmentally effective regardless of the site’s natural conditions. We’ll visit three homes, perform a site assessment to look for opportunities, and then return to our desks to collaborate on site designs for each of them.

Workshops 2, 3, & 4:

Build the Best Practices Saturdays: April 5th, April 19th, & May 3rd,  9 am – 1 pm Limit: 10 people

Participants will receive additional training as we install stormwater projects at three residential demonstration sites with varying degrees of challenging conditions.  We’ll work together to implement the final design resulting from a combination of the planning and design work in the Introductory Workshop, with some additional consultation with each of the homeowners.  Because we will focus on different techniques and conditions at each site, participants are encouraged (but not required) to attend all three!

Bringing Back the River View Forest


50,000 new native plants are soaking up the rain this spring.

worker planting native plantsBack in January, we showed you the cooler where half a million bare-root trees and shrubs were waiting to be planted across the region’s natural areas. 


We’re happy to report that more than 50,000 of them are now in the ground at River View Natural Area in southwest Portland! This natural area has seven streams that carry clean water to the Willamette River, but decades without vegetation management left the site over-run with invasive species (like English ivy).  This threatens the native tree canopy and leaves the steep hillsides vulnerable to erosion that can pollute the water.  


workers planting native plants in the forest

The native plants were locally sourced and largely planted by R. Franco Reforestation.  Volunteers with Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R) were also out in February to help with the planting. 


This builds on the last three years of work to fight back the invasive species.   Partnership between PP&R, Environmental Services’ Watershed Revegetation Program and community volunteers has helped reduce the invasive species by over 95% in some areas.  


Check out our post with before and after photos of the invasive plant control work in progress.


This season’s planting at River View included nine species of trees such as Douglas fir, Pacific dogwood and Western red cedar.  Twenty species of shrubs rounded out the effort, with species like salmonberry, snowberry, Indian plum and pacific ninebark now in the ground to help create a healthy ecosystem.  This will help protect water quality, prevent erosion and landslides, and restore a lush forest that soaks up the rain for generations to come. 

Western red cedar seedling

Thanks to all of our partners for digging in to help!




Columbia Slough 101: March 15


Get to know this unique waterway in North and Northeast Portland!

Columbia Slough confluence with Willamette RiverHave you ever wondered about the slough as you drive over it on the way to the airport? Wondered how all the water is managed to prevent flooding? Wondered where you can put in a canoe for a peaceful paddle trip to see eagles and Great Blue Herons?  

Join the Columbia Slough Watershed Council March 15 for Slough 101, a FREE workshop about the Columbia Slough watershed and its unique story.

Slough 101 covers local history, water, wildlife, and current issues in the watershed with eight local experts. Explore watershed health, environmental issues and recreation in North and NE Portland, Gresham and Fairview. The day also includes hands-on activities, levee and pump station tours and macroinvertebrate identification.

Pre-registration is required. The workshop is free and sponsored by the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau.

Light refreshments will be provided. Suitable for adults and teens 14 & up.

Day and Time:
Saturday March 15, 9am - 12: 45pm
Multnomah County Drainage District
1880 NE Elrod Dr
Portland, OR 97211
FREE; Registration Required

More information:


Penny Beckwith, Outreach Director, ColumbiaSloughWatershed Council   503.281.1132


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