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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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Seedy Business in Portland's Forests


The Watershed Revegetation Program is experimenting with native plant seeds.

Portland's Watershed Revegetation team wants to improve ways to restore native vegetation after removing invasive ivy in our forests.  Past restoration efforts have had mixed results.

Reveg is studying the best times to seed forests, how much seed to use, and additional species that can establish from seeds.  Fringecup (Tellima grandiflora), Inside-Out Flower (Vancouveria hexandra), and Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes) are among the species Reveg is experimenting with.

In 2012, Reveg Program staff began collecting native seeds at sites around Portland, mostly in Forest Park.  Go to the program website to learn more about Reveg and native seed banks.

seeds 1

seeds 2

seeds 3


Before and After: Terraced Rain Garden Project in Tryon Creek Watershed

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The largest rain garden in Portland manages stormwater runoff from 24 acres and includes over 11,000 native trees and shrubs

Environmental Services and the Oregon Department of Transportation have finished construction on the Terraced Rain Gardens Project in southwest Portland. It is the largest rain garden project in Portland and manages stormwater runoff from 24 acres. The rain gardens collect runoff from Interstate 5, SW Barbur Boulevard and SW 26th Avenue, slow the flow and allow pollutants to settle out before stormwater enters Tryon Creek.

The work included planting over 11,000 native trees and shrubs throughout the project site. The vegetation holds rain to reduce stormwater volume, filters air pollutants, provides habitat, absorbs carbon to reduce greenhouse gases, and stabilizes the soil to reduce erosion.

Before construction:

During construction:

After construction:

Celebrate the 14th Annual “Explorando El Columbia Slough” festival with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council

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Saturday June 13th from 1:00-5:00pm

This FREE bilingual nature festival for the whole family includes guided canoe trips, folk dancing, music, exhibits, a rock climbing wall, and face painting!  The first 300 kids receive free Explorando t-shirts.


When: Saturday, June 13th, 2015, 1:00– 5:00pm

Where: Whitaker Ponds Nature Park, 7040 NE 47th Ave, Portland OR 97218

Interested in volunteering for Explorando?  English and Spanish speakers welcome! Visit to sign up.

Contact, call (503) 281-1132 or visit for more information.


Columbia Slough Watershed Council les invita a celebrar nuestra decimotercera edición del festival “Explorando el Columbia Slough”!

¿De que se trata?: Explorando es un festival gratuito acerca de la naturaleza y con actividades para toda la familia. El año pasado más de 400 personas vinieron a disfrutar los viajes en canoa, ballet folklórico, música, organizaciones comunales, pared para trepar y pintado de caras. İLos primeros 300 niños recibirán camisetas conmemorativas gratis!

¿Cuándo?: Sábado, 13 de junio de 2015. De 1:00pm a 5:00pm

¿Dónde?: Whitaker Ponds Nature Park, 7040 NE 47th Av, Portland OR 97218

İVen con nosotros! Comparte la invitación con tus amigos y vecinos para que vengan a este excitante evento. ¿Estas interesado en ser uno de los voluntarios? Visita la página en el internet  y juntate con nosotros.

Tambien puedes contactarte con nosotros escribiendonos al o llámanos al 503-281-1132. Para más información visita: .

Event URL:


Columbia Slough Street Tree Planting Success

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Environmental Services Tree Program completes its first planting project along the Columbia Corridor

This spring, the Environmental Services Tree Program completed its first street tree planting project along the Columbia Corridor. The project planted 163 trees in the public right-of-way, all within the Columbia Slough watershed. The work contributes to several Environmental Services goals:

  • Intercepting rain and reducing stormwater runoff;
  • Increasing natural area connectivity and wildlife habitat;
  • Improving air quality; and
  • Delivering equitable service to a diversity of neighborhoods and demographics.

If our previous planting projects are any indication, we expect future plantings in the slough watershed to draw more participants because of the high visibility of this planting. 

Portland Meadows planting site, before


Portland Meadows, North side of N. Schmeer Rd, after planting


Portland Meadows, South side of N. Schmeer Rd, after planting


The Columbia Corridor is primarily zoned for commercial and industrial use, so Environmental Services worked with several large business properties on this planting. The result was an unusually high number of trees planted at some properties compared to past plantings in residential neighborhoods. We planted 55 trees at Portland Meadows alone, the most we’ve ever planted on a single property.

We couldn’t have done this without our partners: Corky Collier of the Columbia Corridor Association, and the Environmental Services Columbia Slough Watershed Group. 

Alien Plant Invader: Japanese Butterbur

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An update on successful efforts to fight this plant, and what you can do to help

At first glance, Japanese butterbur (Petasites japonica) appears to be a tropical beauty and a fantastic groundcover for your back yard. But beauty can be deceiving! Its huge leaves shade out other plants. It steals nutrients and can quickly invade an entire area. It’s not yet widespread in Portland, but it is growing in some sensitive natural areas and it’s hard to get rid of. Japanese butterbur is listed as a “watch” species in Portland, but may be reclassified with a higher “B” ranking.

As its name suggests, Japanese butterbur hails from Japan where some people consider it edible with careful preparation. Some parts of the plant are poisonous. Its scientific name comes from the Greek word petasos, meaning a wide brimmed hat.

Japanese butterbur’s kidney-shaped leaves can be up to four feet wide and are fuzzy on the underside. It emerges in late winter or early spring, sometimes with clumps of white or pale yellow flowers appearing before the leaves, and can grow up to six feet tall.

Japanese butterbur spreads mostly through underground stems, and sometimes through seeds. It seems to be spreading in Portland through yard waste dumping, plant trading and when the underground stems break apart and float down streams. Gardeners sometimes plant Japanese butterbur in containers to check its spread, but this plant is an escape artist! It’s been known to spread in spite of containment.

Hand-pulling is an effective way to remove small areas of Japanese butterbur from your yard, though you’ll have to continue pulling sprouts for at least a few years. Mowing will not remove the plant but can keep it from spreading. More established populations are difficult to control and common herbicide treatments don’t seem to be effective. If you find Japanese butterbur, please contact Dominic Maze at Environmental Services to discuss control options.

Invasive species affect us all. They damage forests, streams, rivers and our property. Nationwide, invasives cause an estimated $120 billion in damages every year. In Oregon, the costs of controlling invasive weeds and the damage they cause amounts to about $125 million each year. It costs a lot less to control new invasive plants before they become infestations, but we need your help. Read more about the problems caused by invasive species and why Environmental Services is concerned about their impact on water quality.

Catch up on previous Alien Plant Invader posts:

·                     Garlic mustard

·                     Tree of Heaven

·                     Goatsrue

·                     Italian arum (orange candleflower)

·                     Lesser celandine

·                     English holly

·                     Spurge laurel

·                     Japanese and giant knotweed

·                     Ivy

·                     Pokeweed

·                     False brome