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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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Art as Flood Education, and a January Historic Photo


We thought you might find this article about New York artist Eve Mosher’s work interesting.  In 2007, she used art to illustrate the potential high water mark for a 100-year flood in New York City.  Images from Hurricane Sandy last October show the reality of the flooding that occurred in some of the same places Eve had marked.

Here in Portland, we’re working to protect and reconnect natural floodplains as important natural resources and to protect homes and businesses from flooding during some storm events.  Environmental Services’ East Lents project to restore part of the Johnson Creek floodplain is nearly complete—watch for the 150,000 newly planted native shrubs and trees to really take off this spring.  And, last month we announced the exciting purchase of 54 acres of natural area in the Columbia Slough watershed.  This property, with sensitive wetlands that store and filter rain water, is a rare remnant of the Columbia River’s historic floodplain. 

Aerial photo of 2009 flooding at Foster Road

Aerial photo of the January 2009 Johnson Creek flood after a fresh snowfall. 

The approx. 70 acre East Lents project area is circled in red.

Speaking of Art and Rivers

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A sunny day like today would be a great time to go see the “log dog”-inspired sculpture by Portland Artist Linda Wysong at the PCC Stormwater Plaza, which we wrote about back in August.  This public art is part of the larger SE Clay Green Street project.  Construction begins this spring on green street facilities that capture stormwater and provide a green link to the Willamette River.  Two more sculptures will be installed as part of the route.


Ecoroof News - January 2013

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A monthly update of the City of Portland Ecoroof Program.

Ecoroof Incentive is now available year-round!

The ecoroof incentive is again open for applications, and we'll be accepting them on a rolling basis until June 2013. This means that you can apply anytime between now and June 1. The purpose of this is to expedite the application process for people interested in having an ecoroof on their project - applicants will find out within 30 days of submitting the application. The incentive pays $5 per square foot for new ecoroof projects in the city. Industrial, residential, commercial and mixed-use projects are eligible. Application materials and more information are available at To receive an application form in the mail, email or call 503-823-7914. Please note: funding is limited and be awarded to applications until they're gone. We've had several in the last month, so if you're planning to submit for a project, the earlier the better!

Bon Voyage to Tom Liptan!

Tom Liptan

This month, the City of Portland Ecoroof Program says goodbye to Tom Liptan, who has retired and will move on to greener pastures. Tom started working at the City in 1987, and since then has been involved with countless innovations towards sustainable development and stormwater management. Most importantly, Tom was the first person in Portland to realize how ecoroofs could help with stormwater challenges while adding so many other benefits to the city. In 1996, Tom built an ecoroof on his own garage in Northeast Portland, and has spent the years since then monitoring performance, promoting their benefits, and innovating designs through study and experimentation. He's been a tireless advocate for green infrastructure in Portland and beyond, and we don't expect that to change when he's a private citizen. Bon Voyage Tom, you'll be missed! Thanks for your inspiration, enthusiasm, and hard work!

New Incentive Project Reports Posted

The JaneyHave you visited our Ecoroof Incentive Projects Page? The many recipients of the ecoroof incentive have summarized their projects and we've compiled over 80 reports online for you to check out. Find a project similar to one you're thinking about and get ideas, or learn about any challenges faced during the installation. You can also learn about new innovations, or stay up to date with projects as they get completed. At the very least, make sure to check out the Janey and Grays Landing, two especially exciting projects from 2012. 

2012: A New Record for Ecoroofs

There was more ecoroof area installed in 2012 than any year prior, barely edging out the previous record held since 2008. For the year, the industry installed 34 ecoroofs totaling nearly 120,000 ft². A large part of this total came from the University Pointe Housing at Portland State University, with over 24,000 ft² installed on 5 separate levels.   

Like the City Green Blog

In 2012 we made the shift to social media, and the City Green Blog is now on Facebook. If you use Facebook, we'd love it if you liked our page! You'll get up to date information on green roof, green streets, and other green infrastructure projects throughout the City of Portland. Find us at

2013 Ecoroof Symposium

Save the Date for the 2013 Ecoroof Symposium - May 2, 2013! Details to be announced later this month.

Underwater Frogs and New Johnson Creek Restoration Report

Environmental Services recently completed this report, which documents the results of effectiveness monitoring for restoration projects constructed in the Johnson Creek watershed between 1997 and 2010. Projects like the Schweitzer Natural Area and East Lents Floodplain project (which we’ve written about recently here) are monitored to comply with permits and grants, and to make sure the projects are working as designed. The six projects in this report comprise over 122 acre feet of added flood storage in this part of southeast Portland, and almost 100,000 trees and shrubs planted.

Besides helping to address nuisance flooding and improve water quality in Johnson Creek, these projects are providing habitat for native wildlife in the this Red-legged frog that staff recently captured with an underwater camera at the Schweitzer Natural Area.

Red-legged frog under water

Northern Red-legged frogs are a special-status species in Oregon, meaning they have been identified by federal or state agencies as a species of concern due to declining populations.  Healthy amphibian populations, like those at several Johnson Creek project sites, are an indicator of good water quality and suitable habitat.

Weekend of Service: Calling all hands for healthy watersheds

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This weekend, January 19-21, is a Weekend of Service in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Here in the Portland area, there are many great ways to help with clean water and a healthy environment. Do you have a few hours to help plant trees in SE Portland, improve the Mitchell Creek Natural Area, or lend a hand for Tryon Creek? Check out these and other events, and sign up to get involved, on the Hands on Greater Portland website.   

 Photo of volunteers planting trees

Many Environmental Services partners, including Friends of Trees, watershed councils, and Portland Parks and Recreation are organizing activities.  Working together, we can get more done for Portland's watersheds!