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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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City Green Partner: Portland Surfrider Foundation


This group of surfers helps keep our streams, rivers and ocean clean.

Portland’s chapter of the national Surfrider Foundation focuses on awareness and education around litter and its effect on our rivers, streams and the ocean.

For the past two years, Surfrider Foundation has partnered with Portland’s Green Street Steward Program. Volunteers for two groups (one in SE Portland the other in the NE Portland) get together once a month and pick up litter from our streets and green street facilities. On average between 50-80 gallons of trash are removed in just a couple of hours.

Check out this video, as well as pictures from their recent event cleaning up North Portland after the 4th of July holiday.

A big thanks to Portland Surfriders for their awesome volunteer spirit. Picking up litter may seem like an unglamorous task, but this group keeps it fun!  Their work helps locally – keeping trash out of our rivers, streams, sewer system, and green streets.  It makes our neighborhoods cleaner, and trickles down to a cleaner ocean, too.

Find out more about Surfrider Foundation, including upcoming events and ways to get involved at

Learn more about the Green Street Steward Program at

Portland Watershed Monitoring and Bird Surveys

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Environmental Services biologists are monitoring populations of Portland area birds, valuable indicators of ecosystem and watershed health

The Portland Area Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Program (PAWMAP) evaluates water quality, watershed conditions, habitats and wildlife. Since 2010, Environmental Services has used this citywide monitoring to evaluate and protect our watersheds and to meet state and federal requirements and city goals. In recent months, bureau biologists have been surveying Portland’s bird population as part of this effort. These surveys are called point counts. A biologist identifies and tallies all birds seen and heard over an eight minute period, creating a bird census. Birds are valuable ecosystem indicators and contribute to a holistic assessment of watershed health.

The biologists are also keeping tabs on bird nests in Environmental Services construction project areas. These nests are protected and monitored to ensure that our construction activities cause no harm and support urban wildlife.  

Here are some great photos from the field surveyors.  

Celebrate the Johnson Creek Watershed this weekend!

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Join the fun at the Lents Street Fair on Sunday, July 27th.

For almost 20 years, Environmental Services has been working to improve conditions in Johnson Creek and its floodplain in the Lents neighborhood. This Sunday July 27th, the Johnson Creek Watershed Team will be at the Lents Street Fair to help celebrate everything that makes Lents an awesome place to live, work and enjoy nature.


Maggie and Marie from Environmental Services will be fitting fair-goers with fish hats, which you might have seen at Sunday Parkways! Stop by and say “hi!” and learn about what’s happening with efforts to restore Johnson Creek and bring back more salmon and trout.  And while you’re there, be sure to check out the fabulous array of Lents grown food, crafts and music.

We hope to see you there!

Find out more at


Columbia Slough Regatta Celebrates 20th Anniversary!

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Join the Columbia Slough Watershed Council for the 20th Annual Columbia Slough Regatta on August 3, 9:00am - 1:00pm

The Columbia Slough Regatta is a kayak and canoe event for all ages.  This on-the-water festival celebrates Portland’s hidden waterway and its habitat for bald eagles, turtles, fish, otters and much more. This year’s launch point in the upper (eastern ) section of the Slough boasts beautiful views of Mt. Hood.

At this year's Regatta, over 400 people will launch into the safe slack water of the Columbia Slough. Despite its name, the Columbia Slough Regatta is not actually a race, it’s more of a leisurely wildlife-watching, blackberry-eating group paddle. Paddlers are likely to see Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Western Painted Turtles, Beavers and more!

Participants are encouraged to bring their own human powered boats or sign up to use one available through the Columbia Slough Watershed Council.   

A donation of $8.00/person is requested. Pre-registration required. Sign up Online or call (503) 281-1132 to register. Spots fill quickly; register today!

Columbia Slough Regatta

Date and Time:  August 3rd, 9:00 AM-1:00 PM

Location: NE Mason & 150th Ct, Portland, OR 97230

Event Page:


Air Gapping: Protecting Portland Trees from Invasive Vines

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This past Spring, Environmental Services removed ivy and clematis from hard to reach trees on 350 acres in Portland

Environmental Services and Portland Parks & Recreation, along with most Portlanders, are big proponents of the benefits of trees in urban areas. While much effort goes into finding new places and new ways to plant trees, keeping mature urban trees healthy is equally important.

In the city’s natural areas, the non-native, invasive vines English and Irish ivy (Hedera helix and H. hibernica) and Traveler’s Joy (Clematis vitalba) are serious threats to Portland’s tree canopy. They can grow from the ground up in to the crowns of mature trees and add tremendous weight to trunks and branches. That makes trees much more susceptible to breaking or falling, especially during freezing rain, snow, or strong wind. 

Cutting ivy and clematis vines from around the base of trees kills the vines up in the canopy and has become a Portland tradition. Thousands of Portlanders have joined the effort to liberate trees in parks, green spaces and yards.

This spring, Environmental Services mobilized vegetation management contractor crews to tackle some well-established ivy and clematis vines in hard to reach areas that are less accessible to school and volunteer groups. From late April through June, workers used chainsaws and machetes to remove old growth ivy from tree trunks on about 350 acres around Barbur Boulevard, Marquam Nature Park, Oregon Health Sciences University and Forest Park.


A few weeks after the vines are severed at the base of the tree, they die, wither, and eventually fall to the forest floor and decompose. In these before and after pictures, you can almost see the trees breathing a sigh of relief!