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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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Before and After: Rain Garden at SE 14th and Powell

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The Tabor to the River Program uses green infrastructure to manage both public and private stormwater runoff at the source.

Green streets and rain gardens help reduce stormwater draining to sewer pipes, helping the city avoid installing larger pipes. In targeted areas, the City partners with property owners to design and build stormwater facilities to be safe for the site and neighboring properties. The program is voluntary and the property owner maintains ownership at all times.  Following construction, the property owners maintain the new rain gardens.

Environmental Services recently partnered with a property owner at SE 14th and Powell in the Brooklyn neighborhood to manage stormwater from a total of 8,000 ft2 of roof area. This planter manages an average of 176,000 gallons of stormwater entering the local sewer annually. This project was constructed by Braun Construction.



                            Before construction                                                       After construction

Learn more about these projects by visiting the Private Property Retrofit Program and the Tabor to the River Program.



Portland Ranked Top 10 Best Cities for Urban Forests

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On the heels of last month's case study report, American Forests announced Portland as one of the Top 10 Best Cities for Urban Forests in the U.S.

From the American Forests website:

"Goals for the city’s canopy are actually built into multiple management plans, and the improvements the city is seeing are related to the work of a dedicated government, nonprofits and community groups. Meanwhile, the city is using green infrastructure as a cost-effective alternative to gray infrastructure and is protecting its trees through public and private ordinances and a diversification strategy. Portland estimates that its street trees alone have added more than $13 million in property resale value, and its entire urban forest provides more than $38 million in environmental benefits."

Portland trees

American Forests also provides a fact sheet with Portland statistics and their selection criteria.  

Trees intercept rain and reduce stormwater runoff, and they're incorporated into the strategies set forth in the 2005 Portland Watershed Management Plan. Together with Friends of Trees, Verde, and many other partners, Environmental Services has supported the planting of over 25,000 new street and yard trees since 2008. (Since Friends of Trees started in 1989 they've planted over 450,000!)

Division Street Goes Green!

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Construction Starting Soon on Division Streetscape Project

Watch for construction to start this spring on the Division Streetscape Project.  The project, a partnership between Environmental Services and the Portland Bureau of Transportation, includes significant streetscape, stormwater management and sewer system improvements on SE Division from SE 11th Avenue to SE Cesar Chavez Boulevard. 

In addition to transportation improvements, the project includes construction of 55 green street facilities and planting 124 new street trees.  This new green infrastructure will manage stormwater runoff from streets and improve watershed health. The project will also replace over 4,900 feet of sewer pipe in poor condition and replace 32 manholes, which will help relieve sewer backups and increase sewer system reliability as part of the Tabor to the River Program.  The Division Streetscape Project is the result of the vision and participation of community members throughout the planning and design process, and a great example of using green infrastructure to provide multiple benefits.  The city is in the process of hiring a contractor now, and then construction will take about 18 months to complete. 

 green street facility

Find more project information, maps and construction schedules at

and the Bureau of Transportation’s project website.

Exciting news from Mt. Tabor Park Invasive Plant Control and Revegetation Project

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In late January and early February, as part of the Tabor to the River Program, Environmental Services' Watershed Revegetation Program and contract crews planted 17,000 native trees and shrubs on over 32 acres of Mt. Tabor Park’s natural areas. Many thanks to the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) for making the planting possible through funding from their Partners in Conservation grant program. Some of the native trees planted were: Big-leaf Maple, Madrone, Douglas-fir, and Cascara. Some of the native shrubs planted were: Vine Maple, Indian-plum, Snowberry, Trailing Blackberry, Red and Blue Elderberry, and Thimbleberry. Learn more about the planting here.

Also, on January 26th, the Friends of Mt. Tabor Park (FMTP) Weed Warriors and Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R) planted more than 850 native plants in the area. See photos from the planting here. Learn how you can get involved with the Weed Warriors at

Over time these native plants will mature and provide many benefits to the park, including:

  • Reduced stormwater runoff
  • Improved habitat for native wildlife, including birds
  • A sustainable, enduring community of native plants that will replace itself over the years
  • Reduced maintenance costs

Learn more about the Mt. Tabor Park Invasive Plant Control and Revegetation Project at

Environmental Services Using Innovative Ecoroof Designs on Facilities

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Environmental Services has released a new specification for the design, construction, and operations and maintenance of a simple ecoroof.  The specification was created for project managers within the City of Portland to have a quick and easy option for a self-sustaining, low-maintenance and low-cost ecoroof.

The design utilizes a minimalist approach, consisting of soil and sedum cuttings over a waterproof membrane.  A red cinder mulch is lightweight and, along with the remaining seedheads, helps to retain moisture and cooler temperatures within the soil.  The design has been implemented on both flat and pitched roofs, over EPDM, PVC and modified bitumen roofing membranes, and can boast surviving summer 2012, Portland’s dryest summer on record, without irrigation.   

Screenhouse Ecoroof, Columbia Wastewater Treatment Plant



 Sellwood Pump Station Ecoroof



Marine Drive Pump Station Ecoroof

Marine Drive Pump Station Ecoroof


There are hundreds of ecoroofs in the City of Portland, most of which are on privately-owned buildings. Thanks to the City's Green Building Policy, new or re-roofed city-owned buildings are required to include an ecoroof whenever practical. Environmental Services has taken the opportunities to innovate new ecoroof designs that cost less, weigh less, and manage stormwater effectively. These innovations can eventually create more opportunities to use ecoroofs city-wide to reduce stormwater runoff from rooftops.

More information about the Portland Ecoroof Program can be found here.