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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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Park and Ride Swales help protect Tryon Creek

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Environmental Services teamed up with the Oregon Department of Transportation and TriMet to retrofit the parking lot at the TriMet transit park and ride, on Barbur Boulevard and Capitol Highway.  The project was completed this spring.  Here are some before and after photos:
Parking lot before  before
Stormwater swales after  after
The park and ride is at the headwaters of Tryon Creek and has a substantial footprint of impervious area.  Heavy car traffic brings in pollution from the nearby streets.  These new swales capture and treat stormwater and decrease peak flows of runoff from the parking lot. This helps decrease stream erosion and protect water quality and fish habitat.
What's coming up in the Tryon Creek, Fanno Creek and Willamette River watersheds? Find out at the Southwest Watersheds Open House on Wednesday, April 24.
Read more about the Tryon Creek Watershed here:  

2013 Blue Heron Week Announced

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The 27th Annual celebration takes place from May 30th to June 9th

Join the Audubon Society of Portland, Urban Greenspaces Institute, and other partners in The Intertwine Alliance in celebrating more than a quarter century since the Great Blue Heron was adopted as Portland’s official city bird. This year’s Great Blue Herons of The Intertwine festivities will also celebrate the City of Portland’s designation by the United Nations’ Environmental Programme as the North American host city for the World Environment Day on June 5th.

The City of Portland Environmental Services partners with dozens of organizations from the region as part of the Intertwine Alliance, a coalition seeking to protect investment in and conservation of parks and natural areas. Visit the Intertwine events page to get more information and reigster for activities and tours during Blue Heron Week!



Ecoroof Symposium on May 2nd - Program Announced

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Deadline to register for the Symposium is Friday, April 26th

The 2013 Ecoroof Symposium is coming up fast on Thursday, May 2nd. The deadline to register is April 26th so register today.

The Ecoroof Symposium is focused on the green roof return on investment, and will include presentations covering a wide array of topics that examine the costs, benefits, and bottom line of green roofs. Architects, landscape architects, designers, developers, building owners and managers, planners, engineers, and green roof professionals are encouraged to attend.

For 2013, we're very excited to welcome Michael Berkshire as the keynote speaker for the Ecoroof Symposium. As the Green Projects Administrator for the City of Chicago, Michael managed the development of a Sustainable Development policy that led to 350 greenroofs and over 5.5 million square feet of vegetative cover. The policy has been the main driver behind Chicago being a world leader in the number of LEED registered and certified buildings. Michael will get the day started with his presentation "The Chicago Story: How Development Shifted Towards Green Roofs".

In addition, we have an exciting list of local experts that will share information on he green roof bottom line:

  • Ecoroofs and Their Contribution to LEED Certification Efforts - Jeffrey M Caudill, AICP, LEED AP BD+C, Senior Consultant, Green Building Services
  • Greenroofs and Healthcare Facilities - Elizabeth Hart, CDP, GRP, LEED, Sustainable Roofing Specialist, Tremco Roofing
  • A No-Irrigation Ecoroof Design for the Pacific Northwest - Tom Liptan, RLA, FASLA
  • Adding an Ecoroof to a Project Under Construction: Gray’s Landing - Brian Sweeney, Housing Development Center
  • Ecoroofs and Portland Stormwater Regulations - Brian Wethington, Senior Landscape Architect, City of Portland
  • A Commercial Green Roof Retrofit in Southeast Portland - Thom Ross, Business Owner

The full speakers list and registration details can be found on the event website at

Don't forget:

  • Registration is ONLY $25. Lunch is included!
  • Continuing education credits may apply - contact us at to make sure
  • The Vendor Showcase (Noon - 1:00pm and 4:00-6:00pm) is a great opportunity to meet the local and regional green roof leaders


The 2013 Ecoroof Symposium is sponsored by the City of Portland Environmental Services and the Oregon Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

A Neat Video about the Tabor Commons Rain Garden

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Here's a great story about how managing stormwater with plants and soil contributed to the formation of treasured community space.

From the KPFF press release:

What do you get when volunteer local engineers and one of Portland’s venerable neighborhoods join forces to transform an urban blight into a green community oasis? The innovative and creative Tabor Commons, with sustainable stormwater facilities that filter 500,000 gallons per year—almost enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Tabor Commons is the subject of KPFF Consulting Engineers’ second Stormwater Cinema film short, “A Garden to Play In,” created by local filmmakers Jen Wechsler and Ian Probasco.
Join KPFF project manager Josh Lighthipe, Café au Play Executive Director Kristin Heying and SE Uplift Neighborhood Representative Paul Leistner for the inspiring story of this dynamic community spot that brings clean stormwater, coffee and families together.

Environmental Services contributed to this project in a few different ways. In 2010, Tabor Commons received funding from the 1% for Green Program and the Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) to enlarge a small rain garden and enable it to receive and treat the substantial volume of runoff from SE 57th Ave. In 2012, the group received a second CWSP grant to create a Sustainable Stormwater Display Shelter where cafe patrons can learn about stormwater from a vibrant display of educational signage.   Finally, the Ecoroof Incentive supported the installation of the ecoroof on the street side kiosk. During rain showers, people can still enjoy the enclosed space and even watch the water cycle in motion as runoff from the roof trickles through a custom-made rainwater sculpture. Congrats to KPFF, Southeast Uplift, and Cafe au Play for a truly inspiring project!

Celebrating Nature at Work at the new Foster Floodplain Natural Area!


Today marks the kick-off of World Environment Day festivities in Portland, with representatives from the United Nations Environment Programme, the City of Portland, and partner agencies and community organizations celebrating the official opening of the Foster Floodplain Natural Area.  This project is one example of Portland’s many efforts to restore streams and natural areas in the city.  Photos from the event are posted here and on the Environmental Services Facebook Page.

Restored floodplainThis spring, Environmental Services completed restoration of the 63-acre Foster Floodplain Natural Area (also known as the East Lents Project).  Over one-half mile of Johnson Creek was restored, wetland habitat was added for native fish and wildlife, and 90,000 native trees and shrubs were planted.  South of Foster Road and east of I-205 in the Johnson Creek watershed, this area was once a residential neighborhood where flooding repeatedly damaged homes and other property when Johnson Creek spilled over its banks.  By reconnecting the natural floodplain and restoring the stream, this project is expected to cut local flood frequency to about one-third of the previous rate while also improving water quality and habitat in the creek.  In January 2012, with the first phase of the project complete, heavy rains pushed Johnson Creek to more than two feet above the historic flood stage and filled the restoration site with water. In the past, the creek would have flooded Foster Road and caused significant property damage, but the restored floodplain held the high water, kept Foster Road dry, and let local businesses stay open.

Read more about the project at  Make sure to stop by the site along the East Portland Sunday Parkways route on May 12, for fun activities including helmet-friendly fish hats!

Projects like the Foster Floodplain Natural Area protect and restore Portland’s streams as part of our community’s green infrastructure.  Trees, open spaces and naturally-flowing streams in the city help protect people, wildlife and property from the effects of storms and reduce the impact of hot weather as our climate changes.  Since 2006, Environmental Services has restored more than 32 miles of stream and stream bank in Portland with our partners. Restoration is underway in all of Portland’s watersheds, including the Mason Flats Wetland enhancement project in Northeast Portland’s Columbia Slough Watershed and the recently-completed restoration of the Tryon Creek and Stephens Creek confluences with the Willamette River in Southwest Portland.

In celebration of UN World Environment Day 2013, the City of Portland and The Intertwine are featuring stories about Portland’s green infrastructure, sustainability and environmental innovations.

The Bureau of Environmental Services uses green infrastructure to keep stormwater out of the sewer system, filter pollutants and provide cool clean water to our rivers and streams, reduce flooding, and provide habitat for healthier watersheds. Portlanders’ stormwater fees are at work protecting water quality in our rivers and streams and increasing neighborhood green space.