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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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Biking for healthy rivers and streams


bike commuter group

This week, some Environmental Services staff teamed up on their morning bike commute as part of May’s Bike More Challenge. Fish hats made their debut in anticipation of Sunday Parkways, as well as a few super hero accessories.

Environmental Services champions the Bike More Challenge because human-powered transportation is good for Portland’s rivers and streams. Stormwater runoff from roads carries lots of nasty pollution from cars and other vehicles into our waterways. Fewer car trips means less pollution in our air and water.

Bike commuting with the kids  Bikers heading downtown



Explore Johnson Creek this Sunday at Sunday Parkways


It’s here! This Sunday is East Portland Sunday Parkways.

Fish hats at East Portland Sunday ParkwaysSwing by Environmental Services’ stop at the Foster Floodplain Natural Area. There will be free fish hats, live music by Train River, local food vendors (Scoop Ice Cream and Poblano Pepper) and fun, nature-based activities from lots of local community groups.

Bird fanciers will enjoy up close experiences with Audubon’s Birds of Prey. You can also head out into the natural area to identify birds with help from an expert birder from the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, who will have a spotting scope set up in the field.

Learn about Johnson Creek and what you can do to keep it healthy with Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Green Lents, Depave, East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, Zenger Farm, Leach Botanical Gardens, Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership and Portland Parks & Recreation.

We’ll see you there.

East Portland Sunday Parkways (route map)

Foster Floodplain Natural Area Stop: Springwater Corridor at Foster Road (near 104th Ave.)

Sunday, May 15, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.  

Join a Rooftop Garden Party at Trillium Charter School


Workshop this Wednesday, volunteer planting party on 5/21

Rooftop Garden Party PosterThe Community Watershed Stewardship Program has awarded Trillium Charter School a Native Plant mini grant. The mini grant provided Trillium a gift certificate to Bosky Dell Natives. With this support volunteers will plant a border of native plants around the rooftop garden, providing habitat for native pollinators – a key part of overall watershed health.

What: Rooftop garden open house and volunteer day

Where: 5420 N Interstate Avenue, Portland, OR 97217

When: Saturday, May 21, 2016, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Before this planting event, Trillium Charter School is also hosting an educational workshop with the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District:

Explore the benefits of gardening with Native plants! We will introduce you to common native plant communities in Portland, show examples of species that do well in similar growing conditions, share successful planting tips that will help them thrive and more! It will be held at Trillium Charter School, 5420 N Interstate Ave. on Wednesday, May 18, 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Sign up here.

To learn more about either event, please contact Nora Stoelting, School Garden Coordinator at 718-938-0107 or email

New Trees Take Root in the Central City


The Environmental Services Tree Program just wrapped up its first planting project in the Central City west of the Willamette River.

In Downtown, Old Town-Chinatown and the Pearl, you’ll see 27 new street trees working for clean rivers, healthy watersheds, and livable, sustainable communities.

new tree in the central city

Right Tree

Urban trees have to deal with reflected heat, pollution, car doors and compacted soils. All of these things can really stress a tree out, especially in the densely developed Central City. We selected the new trees from a list of species approved by Portland Parks Urban Forestry for their “urban hardiness” so they stand a better chance of survival in these conditions. The new trees planted include Emerald Sunshine elms, Japanese snowbells, Persian ironwoods and American hophornbeams.

Right Place

Partnerships with property owners and the tenant businesses are how we plant trees in the Central City. Unfortunately, we couldn’t plant a tree for every property that wanted one. We need to consider things like vaulted basements, narrow sidewalks, loading zones and safety signs when finding a home for a new urban tree.


new tree with stakes

You also might notice some of the new trees have large stakes around them. They help protect these valuable new trees from car doors, foot traffic and accidental collisions. You can help by avoiding walking in tree wells, and giving us a call if you notice damage to a tree (503-823-2255).


Thank you to the property owners and their tenants who volunteered to be our partners in planting. With your help, these trees will mature to manage stormwater, reduce the urban heat island, and make downtown Portland a greener, more inviting place for those who work, live and play here.

BES staff member recognized as Community All Star


Putting trees first

Happy Arbor Day 2016!

Speaking of trees, Jennifer Karps from our Environmental Services Tree Program was recognized as a Community All Star* by the Portland Thorns and Friends of Trees at the Thorns game on April 17.   

Jennifer (below, in orange) has been a coordinator for the Tree Program since it began as part of the Grey to Green initiative in 2008. Here’s what was announced at the Thorns game:

tree planting in PortlandJennifer Karps supports Friends of Trees and the Portland urban forest in multiple ways. She is a long-time Friends of Trees volunteer, leading weekend planting teams as a trained crew leader and checking on tree health as a summer inspector. She also serves the urban forest as the Bureau of Environmental Services Tree Program Coordinator, managing tree planting contracts, the Treebate program and supporting Friends of Trees in many ways. Previously, she collaborated with staff in other bureaus on the Citywide Tree Project and as a Portland Parks and Recreation botanic specialist that spearheaded an impressive study of Portland’s tree cover and value to the City. Jennifer’s long-standing commitment to Portland’s urban forest and dedication to collaboration, partnership and education makes her our community forestry All-Star! Jennifer always puts trees first!

Congratulations Jennifer and thanks for all of your work for Portland’s trees!

*About Community All Stars: Portland Thorns FC and Your Local Toyota Dealers are partnering to honor a difference-maker in the Portland community throughout the 2016 NWSL season.