This area has a combined sewer system, which mixes sewage from homes and businesses with stormwater runoff from streets in the same pipes. When it rains, sewers fill to capacity and can back up into basements. Combined sewage is contaminated with bacteria and pollutants washed off streets. This project (see map below) will replace and repair about 4,000 feet of pipe, construct about 40 green street planters to collect stormwater and keep runoff out of sewers, and plant trees to absorb rain and reduce runoff. Together, these projects will increase sewer system capacity and stop basement backups. Environmental Services is designing the project. Construction is anticipated in 2014.
Green streets are small rain gardens that collect stormwater runoff from streets and allow water to soak into the ground as soil and vegetation filter pollutants. Green streets also add neighborhood green space and slow traffic to improve pedestrian safety.
Vegetated curb extensions or street-side planters are the most common style of stormwater facilities. Portland has more than 1,000 green streets that effectively manage stormwater, alleviate basement flooding and improve neighborhood aesthetics. Go to www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/greenstreets to see green street examples and get more information.
The city’s goal is to locate green street planters where they will be most effective and have the smallest impact on parking. But based on the width of streets and planting strips and the locations of underground utilities and driveways, the city will likely site some green streets in the on-street parking zone next to the curb.
Green Street Care
Low-growing plants in green streets adapt to a variety of conditions. The city chooses plants for their hardiness and ability to filter pollutants from stormwater runoff. Neighbors will have the opportunity to help with the planting design. The city maintains green streets, which includes removing debris, weeding, watering, and replacing plants as needed. We also welcome help from neighbors with weeding, removing litter or watering, especially during hot weather. To learn more about how you can help as a volunteer Green Street Steward, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/greenstreetsteward.
In addition to green streets, Environmental Services will also replace undersized pipes to increase sewer system performance and reliability. This work will include excavating trenches in streets and using heavy construction equipment. During the construction phase, there will be traffic diversions and street closures. Environmental Services will notify residents well in advance of traffic disruptions and will work closely with neighbors and local businesses to minimize construction impacts.