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The City of Portland, Oregon

Auditor Mary Hull Caballero

Promoting open and accountable government

Does green infrastructure meet City's goals?

Example of green street projectExample of restoration projectPortland residents rely on Bureau of Environmental Services restoration projects and green streets to improve water quality, restore wildlife habitat, and prevent flooding. However,   without formal methods to select projects and document outcomes, the City may not meet those goals.

In 2018, the Bureau spent nearly $13 million in construction on projects to treat rain water run-off, including restoration projects and green streets, however there was no formal method to track and report progress towards goals. Instead the Bureau relied on piecemeal reporting and staff assurances.

  • Despite intentions going back almost a decade, the Bureau did not have a Stormwater System Plan in place to guide the investment of capital spending for restoration projects and green streets.
  • The Bureau did not have an inventory to document where it invested funding for restoration projects and the goals achieved.
  • The Bureau did not have a method to quantify the overall condition of more than 2,000 green streets.

We recommended that the Bureau commit to a date for completion of the stormwater system plan to ensure that restoration projects and green streets were in the highest priority places. We also recommended improved monitoring and reporting.   

To view the entire report go to: www.portlandoregon.gov/auditservices/BESgreen

-- Elizabeth Pape, Senior Management Auditor