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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

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Environmental Services Tree Program and partners add 3,700 New Trees to Portland’s Canopy in 2017

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After a snowy winter, a word of thanks to the staff, volunteers, and property owners that got involved.

The Environmental Services Tree Program organizes targeted planting events in low-canopy and under-served neighborhoods, along transit corridors, in school yards, and elsewhere. We offer a Treebate on your stormwater bill as an incentive to plant residential yard trees, and we work with Friends of Trees to strengthen communities through neighborhood tree planting events.

This winter brought many surprises, from the usual rain and clouds to some unusual cold and snow. Before the summer sun burns away our memories of winter, we wanted to look back and celebrate another season of tree planting.

After this winter, there are 3,700 more trees in our city thanks to partnerships between the Environmental Services Tree Program, Friends of Trees, and hundreds of Portland residents and property owners. These trees line our streets and grace our yards, contributing to the health and vitality of our urban watershed and all of us who live here.

More than 2,800 trees were planted through Friends of Trees with support from Environmental Services. Thank you to the tireless staff and intrepid volunteers who made that happen!

Photo caption: Volunteers gave their Saturday mornings to tree planting in wind, snow, and cold. Photo credit Confluence AmeriCorps member Marc Czornij.

More than 700 trees were planted with City of Portland contractors at commercial, industrial, and publicly owned properties. Thank you to tenants and property owners for participating and taking that extra step in collaboration for Portland’s urban canopy.

Photo caption: New broadleaf evergreen outside a commercial property on SE Foster Rd. Photo credit Matt Krueger


 Photo caption: New trees line the Trimet Orange Line along McLoughlin Blvd in Portland. Photo credit Matt Krueger.

Finally, more than 130 Treebates were approved for trees planted in private residential yards. These trees will help manage stormwater for years to come. Thank you to everyone who made a personal investment in trees this winter.

You can learn more about the Environmental Services Tree Program by visiting our website at

Volunteers needed! Explorando el Columbia Slough – a bilingual nature festival

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Saturday, June 24, 1-5pm, volunteer shifts vary, Colwood Golf Course, 7323 NE Columbia Blvd.

Join the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, city staff and the community for the annual Explorando el Columbia Slough, a bilingual nature festival with fun for the whole family! Guests enjoy guided canoe rides, music and dance, storytelling, nature crafts and more. The event take place Saturday, June 24th at the Colwood Golf Course at 7323 NE Columbia Blvd.

Volunteer participation is essential to our success!

Volunteers do not necessarily need to speak Spanish. Those with little to no Spanish are still welcome to volunteer and we can pair you up with someone who speaks Spanish!  Volunteers help manage festival set up, registration, canoe rides, arts and face painting, parking, gardening, watershed activities, food and drink and more! Snacks, lunch and an event t-shirt are provided for all volunteers.

To register, visit

Contact Karen at or 503-281-1132 

El Columbia Slough Watershed Council presenta su festival anual Explorando el Columbia Slough, lo cual es un evento bilingüe y divertido para toda la familia. Los invitados disfrutarán de paseos guiados en canoa, música y danza, cuentos, grupos comunitarios, manualidades y mucho más. Los voluntarios ayudarán manejar todos los aspectos del evento- su participación será esencial para el triunfo del evento!

¿Necesito hablar ingles para participar?  No necesariamente. ¡Es una buena oportunidad para cualquier hispanohablante dentro de nuestra comunidad! Hablantes nativos y con fluidez en español se necesitarán durante todas las horas del evento y animamos a que se inscriban para ayudar. ¡No te preocupes si no hablas ingles, estarás al lado de alguien que lo pueda hablar!

Portland students spend some time on the job with Environmental Services

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This spring, the Clean Rivers Education Program offered career awareness field trips for local middle and high school students

Today’s students are our city’s future decision makers and environmental stewards. To keep our rivers and streams clean and healthy in future generations, we’ll need a strong workforce for a variety of career opportunities working for clean rivers. This spring, Environmental Services’ Clean Rivers Education team and other staff have been teaming up to bring career awareness field trips to Portland students.

Benson High School students visit the Tabor Sewer job site to hear from Environmental Services' staff and construction contractors 

Clean Rivers educators visited Benson High School’s construction class to teach students about our wastewater system and sewer repair technologies like open trench, pipe bursting, and cured in place pipe (CIPP). Students then visited a job site in the Tabor Sewer project. There, they learned about the construction techniques employed at the site as well as apprenticeships and construction careers from contractors from Landis and Landis Construction, staff from Constructing Hope, and engineering and contracting staff from Environmental Services.

Mt Tabor Middle School students learn about invasive plants from Environmental Services Revegetation Program staff

After several Clean Rivers Education classroom presentations about native and invasive plants and other watershed health topics, Mt. Tabor Middle School students walked to Mt. Tabor Park and teamed up with Environmental Services’ Revegetation Program staff and Portland Parks Stewardship Coordinators and Botanic Specialists. Students worked alongside environmental professionals to pull invasive English ivy, practice native plant identification, and learn how ecologists are studying the role of earth worms in our natural areas. Revegetation Program staff also visited the classroom and shared about their jobs and personal career paths.

 Roosevelt High School students participate in a mock spill response activity at the Water Pollution Control Lab 

Roosevelt High School environmental science students visited Balch Creek Park in Lower Macleay Park to learn alongside Environmental Services’ staff about watershed health monitoring and macroinvertebrates as biological indicators of water quality. Students practiced taking measurements of streambank conditions and used meters to test water quality parameters such as dissolved oxygen and pH. They also learned about jobs and equipment related to watershed health monitoring. The next day, students visited our Water Pollution Control Lab and practiced collecting water quality samples, used GIS maps to track a mock spill, and learned about careers related to spill protection and citizen response. Environmental Services staff also visited classes to share about their jobs and personal career paths.

A huge thank you to all the staff, students and teachers who participated in these career education activities!

Life in the Floodplain: Can working with nature reduce your flood insurance bill?

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Join the Lents Collaborative and elected officials on Saturday June 3rd for a conversation about flooding, flood insurance, and floodplain restoration

In the Lents and Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhoods near Johnson Creek, residents face challenges from both flooding AND expensive flood insurance. The Lents Collaborative, which includes Environmental Services, has the potential to fix both.

Some East Portland homes were built within the Johnson Creek floodplain and experience occasional flooding  

The work is driven by a simple idea: by restoring nature - so that natural systems such as wetlands reduce flooding - we can restore communities.  We’ve done it before. Perhaps the most dramatic example of the power of working with nature is the Foster Floodplain Natural Area. Environmental Services worked with the community over a number of years to move homes and broaden and restore the creek and surrounding wetlands to better absorb water as well as provide habitat for salmon and other wildlife. Before the project, Foster Road flooded about every other year. Today, flooding is expected a couple of times each decade.

Neighbors no longer have the stress and expense of cleaning up after frequent floods. And East Portland neighbors have a world-class natural area that is a point of pride. Now we are building on the model to further reduce flooding in the Lents and Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhoods.

The first Life in the Floodplain event, October 2016

Neighbors and others are invited to the Life in the Floodplain Community Meeting on Saturday, June 3rd  to learn about a new program by Lents Collaborative participant the Portland Housing Bureau to help homeowners in the Lents and Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhoods save money on their flood insurance.

It’s a free event with food and raffle prizes!

Life in the Floodplain Community Meeting

When: Saturday, June 3rd, 2017, Noon to 2 p.m.

Where: Earl Boyles Elementary School, 10822 SE Bush Street, Portland, OR 97266

Students from Portland State University will share the results of their year-long community listening project, done in partnership with local Green Lents. Hear how living in the Johnson Creek floodplain affects your neighbors and about efforts to reduce flooding.

Share your thoughts about flooding and flood insurance with elected officials and learn how the community, the City of Portland and State of Oregon are coming together, through the Lents Stabilization and Job Creation Collaborative, to find long-term solutions to flooding in the neighborhood. Environmental Services leads the Collaborative’s efforts on flood mitigation and floodplain restoration.

Registration optional: Life in the Floodplain Community Meeting. For more information, contact

Tour Historic Vanport on Memorial Day

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Join Environmental Services and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29th, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Join Environmental Services and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council for a tour of historic Vanport on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29th, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Memorial Day is a fitting time to recall Portland's lost city and the power of water to shape our lives. Never heard of Vanport? Today, the low lying community built for World War II shipyard workers is the site of Delta Park, the raceway and wetlands united by the Columbia Slough. Vanport itself disappeared in a single day, in a Memorial Day flood that killed 15 and displaced thousands, many African-Americans. 

In the 1940s, Vanport brought together a diverse population from across the country to work in Portland’s shipyards and railroads. The Vanport Mosaic Festival aims to honor the legacy of the Vanport community and the 1948 flood that destroyed the community. 

Experience a fascinating piece of Portland’s history and learn about how the Columbia’s sloughs and lakes played a role in the lives of Vanport residents.  Vanport residents enjoyed fishing, swimming and boating in the Columbia Slough, but there were serious environmental impacts from Vanport and associated industries.

Environmental Services and Columbia Slough Watershed Council staff will be on hand to explain the importance of the Columbia Slough to former Vanport residents and how to get involved in ongoing cleanup and reforestation efforts.

Join us for narrated bus tours and self-guided walking tours of the original Vanport site.  Seldom open to the public, this route will include sites of historic Vanport’s most important civic functions, residential areas and natural resources.  Learn about Vanport before, during and after the flood.

The Building D lobby at the Expo Center will host information about the unique aspects of the history of Vanport and how Vanport connects to Portland life today. There will also be presentations to engage in conversations about Vanport and its legacy. 

  • Admission is free.  Tours will start and end at the Expo Center

  • Maps and a smart-phone application will be available.

  • Bus tours are approximately 75 minutes. Reservations are strongly recommended for the bus tour.

  • The self-guided walking route is approximately 4 miles long and starts between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The tour route will close at 4 p.m.  

This event is part of the Vanport Mosaic Festival 2017. 

Register for this event. For more information on the festival:

For questions, please contact or 971-319-0156