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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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New Report Highlights Portland's Trees for Stormwater Management

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American Forests published this new report with case studies of urban forest programs in twelve cities, including Portland! The case study covers the broad range of tree programs, partnerships and policies, including Environmental Services' tree planting efforts that are protecting our investment in controlling combined sewer overflows and building Portland's green infrastructure for the next 100 years.  Since 2008, Environmental Services' Urban Canopy program has helped plant over 25,000 new street and yard trees, including these in the Central Eastside Industrial District.

trees along street in industrial area

Native Plant Sale on Now

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The East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District’s Native Plant Sale ends February 3, so if you’ve been thinking about your early spring yard and garden projects, it’s time to get your order in!

 photo of trillium

Need more “how to” information on naturescaping, rain gardens, and other ways to get more of Portland’s rain soaking into the ground instead of going into pipes? Check out these resources:

--East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District classes for naturescaping basics, rain gardens, and site planning

--Environmental Services’ How to Build a Rain Garden video and How to Disconnect a Downspout video

You might have heard the recent news of Portland’s successful first year of managing combined sewer overflows.  Green infrastructure, including property owners’ work to disconnect downspouts and manage stormwater through rain gardens and swales contributes to this success.  Managing more stormwater naturally in all of Portland’s neighborhoods continues to be important for clean rivers and streams.  Rain gardens, green streets, ecoroofs and trees help make our sewer system more efficient and protect water quality and habitat from stormwater pollution.

Before and After: Rain Garden at SE 14th and Powell

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The Tabor to the River Program uses green infrastructure to manage both public and private stormwater runoff at the source.

Green streets and rain gardens help reduce stormwater draining to sewer pipes, helping the city avoid installing larger pipes. In targeted areas, the City partners with property owners to design and build stormwater facilities to be safe for the site and neighboring properties. The program is voluntary and the property owner maintains ownership at all times.  Following construction, the property owners maintain the new rain gardens.

Environmental Services recently partnered with a property owner at SE 14th and Powell in the Brooklyn neighborhood to manage stormwater from a total of 8,000 ft2 of roof area. This planter manages an average of 176,000 gallons of stormwater entering the local sewer annually. This project was constructed by Braun Construction.



                            Before construction                                                       After construction

Learn more about these projects by visiting the Private Property Retrofit Program and the Tabor to the River Program.



Portland Ranked Top 10 Best Cities for Urban Forests

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On the heels of last month's case study report, American Forests announced Portland as one of the Top 10 Best Cities for Urban Forests in the U.S.

From the American Forests website:

"Goals for the city’s canopy are actually built into multiple management plans, and the improvements the city is seeing are related to the work of a dedicated government, nonprofits and community groups. Meanwhile, the city is using green infrastructure as a cost-effective alternative to gray infrastructure and is protecting its trees through public and private ordinances and a diversification strategy. Portland estimates that its street trees alone have added more than $13 million in property resale value, and its entire urban forest provides more than $38 million in environmental benefits."

Portland trees

American Forests also provides a fact sheet with Portland statistics and their selection criteria.  

Trees intercept rain and reduce stormwater runoff, and they're incorporated into the strategies set forth in the 2005 Portland Watershed Management Plan. Together with Friends of Trees, Verde, and many other partners, Environmental Services has supported the planting of over 25,000 new street and yard trees since 2008. (Since Friends of Trees started in 1989 they've planted over 450,000!)

Division Street Goes Green!

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Construction Starting Soon on Division Streetscape Project

Watch for construction to start this spring on the Division Streetscape Project.  The project, a partnership between Environmental Services and the Portland Bureau of Transportation, includes significant streetscape, stormwater management and sewer system improvements on SE Division from SE 11th Avenue to SE Cesar Chavez Boulevard. 

In addition to transportation improvements, the project includes construction of 55 green street facilities and planting 124 new street trees.  This new green infrastructure will manage stormwater runoff from streets and improve watershed health. The project will also replace over 4,900 feet of sewer pipe in poor condition and replace 32 manholes, which will help relieve sewer backups and increase sewer system reliability as part of the Tabor to the River Program.  The Division Streetscape Project is the result of the vision and participation of community members throughout the planning and design process, and a great example of using green infrastructure to provide multiple benefits.  The city is in the process of hiring a contractor now, and then construction will take about 18 months to complete. 

 green street facility

Find more project information, maps and construction schedules at

and the Bureau of Transportation’s project website.