Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

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

More Contact Info

Subscribe to RSS feed

Most Recent

View Less


It's Getting Hot! Don't Forget to Water Your Trees

July 11, 2018

Protect your investment in new trees: water them!

Summer is upon us in the Pacific Northwest, and that means it’s time to keep a careful eye on your newly planted trees (those that were planted in the last 3-5 years). The process of being transplanted is stressful, and your new tree doesn’t yet have the roots it needs to be self-sufficient.

So, how much should you water? There’s no hard-and-fast rule for watering trees. How much water the tree needs depends on the kind of tree it is, the soil it’s planted in, and the microclimate around it. Here are a few tips:

  • Start with about 10 gallons per week for every 1” of caliper (“caliper” is the width of your tree’s trunk, measured 6” above the soil line). So, if your new tree is 1.5” in diameter at its base, start with 15 gallons per week.
  • Water your tree deeply, so that the entire area where the roots are (the “root zone”) is moistened, not just the surface. A temporary berm (or raised barrier) at the tree’s dripline (the area directly under the outer circumference of the branches) helps to direct water to the roots while the tree is young. You can break this berm down after a few summers.
  • Mulch under and around the tree to help keep the soil moist and cool. Mulch should be 3-4” deep. Do not pile mulch against the trunk!  It’s a good idea to keep mulch around the tree for life.
  • Don’t overwater or underwater! Keep the soil moist like a wrung-out sponge. Before you water, take a hand tool and dig down a couple of inches. Is the soil still moist? No need to water. Is the soil bone-dry? Try increasing the amount of water slightly, add a berm to capture water, or add mulch to retain it (see above).
  • During those times when it is particularly hot and dry for an extended period, you might need to water the tree more than once a week.  If the leaves begin to wilt and the soil is dry, an extra watering day might be just what the tree needs.

watering a tree

All you need to water a tree is a bucket! Water your tree deeply so that the entire root zone is moistened, not just the surface.

Celebrating another year of tree planting!

July 2, 2018

The Environmental Services Tree Program (ESTP) welcomes 3,000+ new trees to the City

As we gear up for the next tree planting season, we pause for a breath and reflect on the planting season that just ended. That breath is all the sweeter thanks to Portland’s urban trees that help to clean the air, capture the rain, and give the birds perches to sing from. In this moment, we benefit from the trees planted by past generations. To do our part and ensure that future generations benefit from an urban tree canopy, we keep planting.

Planting and care of trees in the city is made possible by the coordination of many groups. Nurseries, landscape contractors, non-profits, city bureaus, private property owners, and a great diversity of passionate volunteers all play a role in the richness of the urban forest around us. Because of the hard work of all these people, we are pleased to report that more than 3,000 new trees were planted through ESTP programs during the 2017-2018 planting season. Thank you to all our partners who made this work possible!

New street trees on SE Holgate

A long line of new street trees graces SE Holgate Blvd at 82nd Ave. Broadleaf evergreens, such as these strawberry trees, provide clean air year-round.

Environmental Services Tree Program 2017-2018 Season Highlights

  • 2,436 street and yard trees planted at residential properties with our non-profit partner Friends of Trees.
  • 449 street trees at private residences, apartments, businesses, and non-profit properties, planted directly through ESTP with the help of our professional landscape contractors.
  • 165 yard trees approved for Treebate, a one-time rebate for single-family residents who buy and plant yard trees on their own.
  • 120 trees planted as part of special projects at schools, churches, and transportation corridors.
  • 5 new species of evergreen trees added to our street tree repertoire, including Baker cypress (Cupressus bakeri), bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), box-leaf azara (Azara microphylla), canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis), and strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo).

Now is the time to prepare for next planting season!

Are you interested in planting trees at a single-family residential property?

  • Contact Friends of Trees to learn how to get involved in your once-a-year neighborhood planting day.
  • Rather plant on your own? Treebate returns September 1.
  • Interested in removing and replacing a dead tree? Don’t wait until the last minute! Permitting, tree removal, and stump grinding all take time. Visit the Portland Trees website to learn more about tree removal permits.

Are you interested in planting street trees at an apartment, business, or non-profit property?

The Environmental Services Tree Program is taking sign-ups now! Call 503-823-2255, email, or visit the Environmental Services Tree Program website to learn more.

Green Street Stewards Make a Difference!

May 21, 2018

The Green Street Steward program encourages volunteers to help maintain Environmental Services' green street stormwater facilities in their neighborhoods. We’ve asked volunteer stewards to report back, and the very impressive results are in for 2017:

639 hours spent volunteering

2114 gallons of trash collected

2107 gallons of debris (leaves, sticks, weeds, etc.) collected 

The Green Street Steward team is grateful for the work of community members to help maintain green streets, and we know there’s even more work happening that we don’t hear about! This year, we're thanking stewards by awarding certificates for those who went above and beyond in a few categories (total hours, debris collected, trash collected, and most interesting find).

Our individual winners were:

Most hours logged: Lyle Remington (not pictured), 64.4 hours

Amy Chomowicz

Most debris collected: Amy Chomowicz with 236 gallons! Amy is a City of Portland employee who takes care of a green street on her own time.

Jacqueline Lidell

Most trash collected: Jacqueline Lidell, 42.5 gallons of trash

Sarah and Jeff Lyons

Most interesting find: Jeff and Sarah Lyons, a shopping cart

Our business winners were:

Oregon's Finest

Most hours logged: Oregon’s Finest Green Team, 35 hours

Environmental Science Associates

Most debris collected: Environmental Science Associates, 430 gallons of debris


Most trash collected: Culminate Portland, 390 gallons of trash collected


Most interesting find: Murraysmith, Jack Daniels and a bike chain


We also handed out an MVP (Most Valuable Partner) award to the Surfrider Foundation, Portland Chapter for organizing monthly and special holiday volunteer events to collect a total of 616 gallons of trash throughout the year.

Thank you to all the Green Street Stewards who contributed to keeping our rivers clean this year. We look forward to all the great work that will be done in 2018!

To volunteer as a Green Street Steward, visit our website at

Or email us at

Don’t forget to log your hours so you too can be a winner!

April showers bring…trees!

April is the perfect time to celebrate trees, and your last chance to get a Treebate until September!

April 10, 2017

It’s only natural that we should choose April to celebrate trees. Not only do we celebrate Arbor Day in April, but as the weather warms, trees shake off their dormancy and demand our attention with unfurling leaves, beautiful flowers, and the promise of fruit and shade to come. But trees’ renewed vigor also marks the end of planting season. Your last opportunity to get a Treebate for that tree you planted this winter (or have been meaning to plant) is fast approaching!

There are lots of reasons to celebrate trees, and lots of reasons you may choose to plant one in your yard. As the bureau tasked with keeping our rivers clean, Environmental Services celebrates trees’ ability to slow and reduce runoff from rainstorms, helping to prevent pollution from reaching our waterways. When you plant a tree with enough room to be as big and beautiful as it can be, you’re our partner in clean rivers! To say thank you, we offer half the purchase price of eligible trees, up to $15 for small, $25 for medium, and $50 for large-stature trees, as a rebate on your city sewer/stormwater/water bill.

This April, celebrate Arbor Day at your own home; bring home May flowers and get a little money back.

 magnolia blooms

Magnolia blooms brighten a cloudy day and herald brighter days to come.

hummingbird in pine

This pine wears its foliage with distinction year-round, welcome camouflage for a spring nest.

You're Invited! SW Watersheds Open House

Learn how we're working with partners to improve fish and wildlife habitat and infrastructure in SW Portland

You’re Invited to the annual Southwest Watersheds Open House! Come learn about SW Watershed Improvement Projects.

When: Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Multnomah Center, gym - 7688 SW Capitol Highway

Stop by on your way home for refreshments, kids’ activities and information.

Environmental Services (BES) works with SWNI, the southwest community, other City bureaus, and partner organizations to develop plans and projects to improve water quality, address public interests, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, improve infrastructure, and restore watershed functions.

Please join BES and SWNI at this open house to discuss recently completed and current projects and give feedback on projects in planning and early design phases. Your participation helps shape plans to fit the neighborhood.

Stop by on your way home for refreshments and information about plans and projects to improve the health of SW Portland’s watersheds. Kids’ activities will be available, and all are welcome. To request translation services, contact

A number of exciting projects in SW Portland will be highlighted, including:

Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway Stormwater Projects, Shattuck Phase

Stormwater improvements along Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway at Shattuck will protect Fanno Creek from stormwater pollution and increase pedestrian safety. Construction expected in summer 2018.

Boones Ferry Road Culvert Replacement Project

boones ferry culvert to be removed

Tryon Creek flows through a culvert under SW Boones Ferry Road that creates a barrier for fish moving to habitats in upper Tryon and Arnold creeks. Environmental Services is working with many partners to replace the culvert with a bridge. Construction expected in 2019.

Dickinson Park Stream Restoration

In collaboration with Portland Parks & Recreation, this BES stream restoration project will create wetland and floodplain benches, restore natural stream processes and function, and remove an abandoned pump house, footbridge, pipes and other structures. Construction expected in summer 2018. 

SW Capitol Highway: Multnomah Village to West Portland

BES is working in coordination with Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) on street and stormwater improvements on SW Capitol Highway from SW Garden Home to SW Taylors Ferry roads. This project will improve safety and accessibility of travel while improving stormwater management and protecting water quality in local creeks and streams.

The one-mile stretch of SW Capitol Highway between SW Garden Home and Taylors Ferry roads has no sidewalks, bike lanes, or pedestrian crossings and limited stormwater infrastructure. For more than 20 years, community members have been advocating for better walking and biking conditions on SW Capitol Highway.

The Capitol Highway: Multnomah Village to West Portland project will provide pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and stormwater management through the project zone and in certain areas within the surrounding drainage basins. Construction expected in 2019.

SW Capital Hwy preliminary design meeting

Learn more about southwest watersheds and additional projects in the area on the web at

For questions, comments or more information, contact Becky Tillson at 503-823-7097 or

See you on April 25th!