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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 1000, Portland, OR 97204

Frequently asked Questions

exposed interceptor photoWhere is the project site?

The project site is a 10 acre parcel located along Johnson Creek and adjacent to the Springwater Corridor Trail near SE 72nd Avenue and Luther Road.

Why are so many governmental agencies involved, and what are their roles?

The site is located in Clackamas County and is part of the Metro region. The City of Portland is responsible for the Lents Interceptor Sewer Line, which crosses the property and is the focus of the project’s repair work. In 2009, the 10 acre open space property was purchased by a partnership of the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District (NCPRD), and Metro. NCPRD is the title holder of the property and maintains it. Environmental Services will repair the sewer pipe and relocate and restore the creek channel and floodplain. NCPRD plans to create a community park at the site. Metro’s role is to protect regional open spaces and natural areas. Six of the 10 on the project site will remain natural area. The NCPRD will convert four acres into a park.

What problems will this project address?

The 76-inch Lents Interceptor Sewer, constructed in the early 1920s, crosses Johnson Creek at the project site. Erosion in the creek bed and banks has exposed portions of the pipe and a nearby manhole, increasing the risk of damage to the sewer line and creating a barrier for fish. A break in the pipe would release a significant amount of sewage, threatening public health and wildlife. The project will repair the exposed sewer pipe and improve fish and wildlife habitat by burying the pipe and establishing a new more stable Johnson Creek crossing point.

erosion around manhole photoWhat other environmental and habitat improvements are planned?

This project will enhance water quality and improve streamside natural areas. Burying the sewer pipe crossing Johnson Creek will create opportunities to move the creek and reshape it in ways that will help restore natural stream function. To create a better habitat for fish, Environmental Services will place woody material in the new stream and create backwater areas that can provide refuge habitat for juvenile salmon and trout species during high flows. Along the stream banks and in the open spaces of the property, Environmental Services will remove non-native vegetation and replace it with plants that fit with the area’s natural environment.

Does the project have any flood benefits?

The project will provide local flood benefits to some of the adjacent neighbors to the south of the project by relocating the creek and its floodplain to the north. However, the creek in this location is too steep to provide an opportunity for flood waters to slow down and accumulate onto the new floodplain, so the project will not provide additional flood benefits to areas downstream.

bank erosion photoHow much will this project cost and what’s the source of funding?

Funding for the pipe repair and creek restoration work comes from the City of Portland Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The project will cost about $4 million.

What’s the project timeline?

The project is currently in design. Construction begins in June 2014 with planting to follow in 2015.

What are the benefits for site neighbors and the wider community?

Relocation and restoration of Johnson Creek within the project area will create greater separation between local businesses and the stream and reduce erosion and flooding on private property. Stabilizing the trunk sewer crossing Johnson Creek will reduce the likelihood of sewer failure in the area and will remove an obstacle to fish passage.

Site neighbors, trail users and the wider community will benefit from the restored creek habitat, which will attract a greater variety of native fish and wildlife, including Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout that are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The future addition of a community park at the site will provide a much-needed area for neighborhood recreation.

photo of high water in Johnson CreekI’m concerned about safety and cleanliness problems caused by people that currently misuse this area and leave trash, how will this project help address these issues?

Within the scope of this project there are some things planned that can help site neighbors and trail users discourage misuse of the area. Before construction, Environmental Services will have to clear a majority of the existing vegetation on the property, including areas where transients currently hide and camp. After construction, Environmental Services will make the area “park ready” by grading it, planting grass and appropriate vegetation, developing a trail network and installing interpretive signs. NCPRD will maintain the property on a regular basis.

About a community park at this site, what’s the timing and process for that?

The Southgate/Town Center neighborhood is severely deficient in parkland and natural area. The neighborhood is densely populated and there are few large vacant parcels available for park development. With this in mind, community members suggested the creation of a park on this property due to the size of the parcel and its proximity to the Springwater Trail and Johnson Creek.

As funding sources are identified to develop the park, the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District intends to have a public process to help determine future park uses and site amenities. Public input will be combined with environmental site conditions to establish a Johnson Creek flood photoconceptual park development plan. Ultimately, the construction of a park will be contingent upon both funding availability and approval of all necessary local, state and federal permits.

How can I keep informed about this project and give my thoughts?

Go to the project details page for more information, send an online message to project staff and to sign up to receive mail or email updates. You can also contact Ali Young of Environmental Services at 503-823-5781.