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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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Green Streets and Our River 3/18


Swing by the Green Dragon to chat with Willamette Riverkeeper

neighbors cleaning greenstreet facility

Want to learn more about how you can make a difference in your Portland neighborhood to promote clean water and protect the Willamette River? Join Willamette Riverkeeper and staff from Bureau of Environmental Services for a conversation about the many programs and projects that make Portland so green. Learn about the city's work to promote trees, rain gardens and green street planters, ecoroofs, Green Street Stewards, and ways you can play an active role in protecting your rivers and streams.

Wednesday, March 18th

6:00-7:30 pm

Green Dragon Bistro and Pub in the “Barrel Room”

928 SE 9th Ave, Portland, OR

For more information, contact:

This event is free and pre-registration is not required.

Learn more and comment on Portland's Climate Action Plan


Reducing carbon emissions and preparing for the impacts of climate change

Setting an international example, Portlanders have cut carbon emissions by 14 percent since 1990, even though our population has grown by 30 percent and we’ve added over 75,000 more jobs during that same time. In per-person terms, that means each Portlander produces 35 percent less carbon than they did in 1990.

tree graphicAll of our biking, tree planting, transit use, and home efficiency efforts make a difference.  There's still a lot more to do, though.  The goal is to reduce our carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.  That requires an updated plan, and it's ready for your review and comment.

The City of Portland and Multnomah County have released the draft 2015 Climate Action Plan for public comment. The draft plan provides a roadmap for the community to achieve aggressive carbon reduction goals by 2030 and 2050.  It also includes strategies for adapting to climate change, drawn from the Climate Change Risk and Vulnerabilities Assessment and Preparation Strategy adopted by City Council last year. 

The Plan is also a great educational resource to brush up on issues around climate change, including what individuals in Portland can do to help, and how our community will be impacted by a changing climate. Many community leaders and local experts helped create the draft plan.

Visit to find additional information and download a copy of the draft plan. Comments from the public are accepted through April 10, 2015.

You can also learn more, ask questions, and provide input at one of these open house events:

•          March 19th at the Velo Cult Bike Shop (5:30 to 7:30PM, 1969 NE 42nd Ave.) (event link)

•          March 24th at the June Key Delta Community Center (5:30 to 7:30 PM, 5940 North Albina St.) (event link)


Providence Park and Tanner Creek

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Timbers fans – have you ever wondered what lies under Providence Park field?

This weekend, the Portland Timbers kick off their 2015 regular season at Providence Park. Many people don’t know that the park is located over what was once one of the west side’s largest waterways, Tanner Creek. The creek got its name from tanneries built next to it and was one of several streams that flowed down from the West Hills and emptied into Couch Lake (shown in the map below) on the banks of the Willamette River.

(photo courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society)

As Portland’s west side grew, the city eventually routed Tanner Creek and other West Hills streams into underground combined sewer pipes and filled in the stream channels. In 1926, the Multnomah Athletic Club built Multnomah Stadium directly over the pipes that carried the streams, stormwater runoff and sanitary sewage to the Willamette River. Portland didn’t build a wastewater treatment plant until 1952. Today, we call the stadium Providence Park.

In 2006, Environmental Services finished work on a new pipeline that removed Tanner Creek and the other West Hills streams from the combined sewer system and redirected the clean stream flow directly to the Willamette. The Tanner Creek project was part of Portland’s 20-year program to control combined sewer overflows and it removes about 163-million gallons of water annually from the combined sewers.

Last year, Nick Firchau, senior editor at Major League Soccer’s, wrote a great article about the history of Tanner Creek and its present day status flowing under Providence Park:

“Only a limited number of people actually know for sure what Tanner Creek is anymore. Some say they can hear it rush freely under a manhole near the Providence Park light rail station, others think it’s a sewer. Some say the water is only deep enough to cover your bootlaces, but others still walk around Portland today with t-shirts telling the world they kayak’d Tanner Creek, remnants from a DIY approach to cheap thrills in the 1970’s.”

Even though it’s still underground, you can find several reminders of Tanner Creek up here on the surface. The city built Tanner Springs Park where the creek used to flow into Couch Lake. A few blocks away from Providence Park, placards in the sidewalk mark the path of Tanner Creek’s historic channel.

There are reminders of Tanner Creek’s history incorporated into the design of Providence Park as well. From the Providence Park website:

“(Providence Park) holds its own mementos of the creek. A plaque set right inside Gate Four, describes where Tanner Creek ran when the field was a baseball stadium and home to the Portland Beavers. The log slab artwork outside the Adidas Timbers Team Store uses elements of the story of Tanner Creek to commemorate the history of the stadium. Most subtly, however, the wooden seats in section 118 dip slightly in the middle as a result of the previously sinking foundations and a reminder of the gulch below.”

 (photo courtesy of the Portland Timbers)

So, Timbers fans, when you go to Providence Park on Saturday to see your team take on Real Salt Lake, watch for these reminders of Tanner Creek. And when you raise the City of Portland flag in the stands, remember that the flag’s blue color represents "Our Rivers" and Tanner Creek.

Go Timbers!


(photo by By Ray Terrill [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)


Alien Plant Invader: Lesser celandine is back


Don't be fooled by the attractive blooms

lesser celandine yellow flowers


Spring is definitely early this year, and one "wildflower" is really taking off right now.  Lesser celandine is a plant that's blooming yellow flowers in many neighborhoods, and you may be tempted to transplant some to your own home.  Please don't be fooled! 

Lesser celandine is an invasive plant.  If you've seen it around, you may know this plant spreads quickly and forms dense mats that keep out other plants.  That is what makes it a risk for Portland's natural areas, stream banks and parks, not to mention the rest of your landscaping.

Read more about how to identify and manage lesser celandine in our previous blog post



lesser celandine flowers at park 

Lesser celandine covers a large area at St. Francis Park in SE Portland.





SLOUGH 101: Saturday, March 14


Learn about North and Northeast Portland's unique waterways

Join the Columbia Slough Watershed Council March 14 for Slough 101, a workshop about the Columbia Slough watershed. Slough 101 is an introduction to this unique area and covers local history, watershed health, wildlife, recreation access and current issues with eight local experts that know North and NE Portland, Gresham and Fairview. The workshop also includes hands-on activities, levee and pump station tours and macroinvertebrate identification. Participants will spend some time outdoors.

looking at water insects  people studying map of Slough

Workshops are suitable for adults and teens 14 & upPre-registration is required. The workshop is free.

Slough 101 is sponsored by the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau.

Date: March 14th (Saturday)
Time: 9am - 12: 45 pm
Light refreshments will be provided.

Multnomah County Drainage District #1
1880 NE Elrod Dr
Portland, OR 97211

Registration and information:

(503) 281-1132