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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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Maintenance Inspection Program

  • Healthy Flow-Thru Planter The City requires that vegetated stormwater facilities have at least 90% plant coverage to ensure stormwater treatment functionality and encourage the many environmental benefits these features provide.

  • Pervious Pavers / Porous Asphalt Pervious pavers and porous asphalt are great alternatives to traditional pavement. It can be driven and parked on, but it also allows rainfall to infiltrate into the ground. Routine sweeping or vacuuming removes sediment that builds up in void spaces.

  • Vegetated Swales & Check Dams Swales convey runoff from its source to an approved destination. The rock “check dams” help increase the retention time of stormwater, reducing the impacts of “flash” flows to the City’s systems and our rivers.

  • Manufactured system with maintenance issues Check cartridges and measure sediment levels annually. This StormFilter cartridge has become dislodged and should be re-positioned. More than 4” of sediment at the bottom indicates needed maintenance.

  • Wet Detenion Ponds For some commercial and industrial sites, wet detention ponds are used to hold stormwater for long periods. In time, the bottom of the pond may require dredging if its capacity to retain water becomes limited.

  • Sediment and debris at curb inlets Inlets build up excess sediment and debris which prevents stormwater from flowing into the facility. For proper maintenance: sweep away dirt and trash, and cut back excessive vegetation to remove blockages.

  • Infiltration Basin Infiltration Basins (or rain gardens) prevent stormwater from taxing the public stormwater system. Maintaining a healthy amount of plants is visually appealing and ensures these facilities retain their infiltration capacity.

  • Ecoroof Well-maintained ecoroofs provide multiple benefits to a community. They reduce peak flows to combined sewers, provide pollinator and wildlife habitat, and reduce the urban “heat island” effect.

  • Poorly maintained flow-thru planter This neglected planter has a lack of vegetation. Plants filter out pollutants and promote evapotranspiration.

Operation & Maintenance of Stormwater Features

Throughout the City of Portland, thousands of stormwater management facilities, or SMFs, have been installed under the City's Stormwater Management Manual.  These facilities have multiple ecological benefits, including removing pollutants from stormwater runoff, re-charging groundwater through infiltration and reducing "flash" flows to rivers during rain events.  However, when SMFs are not properly operated and maintained, these benefits are substantially reduced and in cases of severe neglect, lost altogether.  The City of Portland has a program to inspect SMFs installed on private property and provide property owners with the Technical Assistance they need to ensure that SMFs are functioning as intended. 

Please read on and use the materials provided below to understand how you can properly care for your SMF and don't hesitate to contact our BES Maintenance Inspection Program if you have any questions.