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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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New Trees Take Root in the Central City

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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

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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.

Save the Date: May 15th Sunday Parkways at the Foster Floodplain Natural Area

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See the changes as native plants fill in along Johnson Creek

Environmental Services will be back for Sunday Parkways on May 15 at Foster Floodplain Natural Area to celebrate all the great things happening on Johnson Creek.

Foster Floodplain Natural Area in 2013

 

Come see how things have changed from five years ago when we completed restoration of the natural area to increase flood storage, protect water quality and enhance fish and wildlife habitat.

Foster Floodplain in 2016

 

Photos: Top, Johnson Creek in 2013, shortly after restoration was completed. Bottom, the same spot today. See more photos below!

 

ALSO…..

Find more about the East Portland Sunday Parkways route and activities here.

  

Foster Floodplain high water 2013Top: Johnson Creek expanding into the floodplain during high water in 2013.

 

 

Foster Floodplain Johnson Creek spring 2016

Bottom: The site today

 

Southwest Watersheds Open House

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Learn about projects and discuss stormwater issues in your southwest Portland neighborhood

Stop by the Multnomah Center on your way home next Wednesday to learn about city and community projects in your area to help improve the Fanno Creek, Tryon Creek, and Southwest Willamette Tributaries watersheds.

Boones Ferry Rd Culvert on Tryon Creek

Wednesday, April 27

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Multnomah Arts Center Room 29

7688 SW Capitol Highway

Refreshments provided

 

Environmental Services works with SWNI and the community in southwest Portland to develop plans and projects to improve stormwater infrastructure, water quality in streams and rivers, and fish and wildlife habitat. Find your watershed and learn more about streams in southwest Portland at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/explore

Staff will be available to share information about projects including:

Pull Back the Pavement, Make Way for Trees

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Planting where no trees could live before

The Environmental Services Tree Program is cutting concrete to make way for trees.  Gone is some of the uninterrupted pavement along SE Grant Street and many other Portland streets.  Concrete cuts remove squares of the furnishing zone of the sidewalk to create a planting space for rain capturing, air freshening, heat reducing trees.  These trees will save ratepayer dollars by soaking up stormwater where it falls and improving livability in areas like the Central City, where there is little greenery. 

sidewalk before and after tree planting

Sidewalk on SE Grant Street before and after concrete cuts and tree planting

317 concrete cuts are planned for this year, bringing the total number of cuts to 1,000 since the program began in 2008.  That’s 1,000 trees planted where no trees could go before.  

urban heat thermal imageBesides the thousands of gallons of stormwater managed, one of the great benefits of making space for trees is that urban trees provide significant cooling of neighborhoods in hot summer weather.  This is important as our climate changes and we see more hot summer days.  To the right is a thermal photo from Portland State University’s research on public health and urban heat islands that shows the cooling effect of trees.