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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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Build it and they will come

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Red-legged frogs vote yes for floodplain restoration

A quick follow-up piece of news on the East Lents (Foster Floodplain Natural Area) project we posted about last week.  Environmental Services staff visiting the site the other day discovered several masses of Red-legged frog eggs. 

Frog egg massThis is a great sign that native species are returning to this section of Johnson Creek as the water quality, habitat and hydrology of the watershed are being protected and improved. For more on why Red-legged frogs are particularly special, see the news about this charasmatic guy.

Slough 101 Workshop this Saturday


Find out about the unique history and science of one of Portland's largest watersheds

Discover the answers to your questions about the Columbia Slough, the historic slow-moving channel of water running through Gresham, Fairview, and Northeast and North Portland.  The workshop covers community history, waterways, wildlife, fish, hydrology and current issues facing the Columbia Slough. Slough experts will lead classroom type and hands-on activities including a tour of a pump station and macroinvertebrate identification.

This Saturday, March 9, 2013 9:00 a.m - 1:00 p.m.

Free! Pre-registration is required.

Light refreshments will be provided. Suitable for adults and teens 14 & up.

Workshop Location: Multnomah County Drainage District office, 1880 NE Elrod Dr, Portland, OR 97211

Registration: Columbia Slough Watershed Council, 503-281-1132 Sheilagh Diez  or

Kayakers on the Columbia Slough

Oaks Bottom Bluff Trail Celebration

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Come out to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge this Saturday, March 9th from 10am-1pm to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Bluff Trail! This FREE, public celebration will include refreshments, a ribbon cutting, kids’ activities, bird watching with experts, guided nature walks, live education birds from the Audubon Society of Portland and a photo display.


Trail construction on this formerly very muddy and wet trail was completed on December 2012, with native plant re-vegetation, the final phase of the project, finished in early 2013. The project includes 500 feet of slip-resistant boardwalk, rock walls at the north and south trailheads, and an observation deck for wildlife and bird viewing.

The City of Portland created the city’s first wildlife refuge at Oaks Bottom in 1988. It is the largest remaining natural area within the lower Willamette River floodplain and provides important habitat for fish and wildlife, including threatened salmon and over 175 bird species.

Portland Parks & Recreation City Nature and the Bureau of Environmental Services are working together to design a large scale habitat enhancement project to benefit wildlife and people in the refuge. The project will enhance 75 acres of wetland habitat within the refuge by replacing an existing culvert with a larger box culvert to enhance fish passage and improve connectivity to the Willamette River, enhancing wetland habitats at the southern end of the refuge to provide off-channel refuge for ESA-listed salmon, removing invasive vegetation and more. Visit the project website for more information on the project.


Paint for the Environment!

Deadline for International Children's Painting Competition extended to Friday, March 15

One part of the exciting events around UN World Environment Day, for which Portland is the North American host city this year, is the International Children's Painting Competition for the Environment.

The entry deadline is extended to March 15.  See this announcement from the Office of Healthy Working Rivers for more info.

The theme this year is "Water: where does it come from?"  What an appropriate theme for Portland as the host city.  We've got 37 inches of rain a year, and a lot of community actions for healthy watersheds!

 children's painting competition entrychildren's painting competition entry


Nature at work in Stephens Creek


Beaver doing their part for healthy streams

Staff from the Environmental Services' Willamette Watershed team shared some photos of recent work by a busy beaver in the Stephens Creek subwatershed.  This is at the site of a 2008 sewer repair and stream enhancement project,  just off SW Taylors Ferry Road.  Stephens Creek is one of the only remaining free-flowing streams in Southwest Portland to the Willamette River. Many other streams have been piped underground to allow for development over the course of Portland's history. Continued protection, restoration and enhancement of Stephens Creek is important to improve water quality and habitat, and to protect other infrastructure like sewer pipes and roads.

 large tree felled by a beaver

The beaver had just felled this large tree over the creek, and was at work on a second one.  Typically, trees and other large wood that fall naturally in and near streams is a good thing, creating habitat and shaded, cool water for native fish and other critters. Many urban streams and rivers lack large wood because development has cleared out trees that would have otherwise grown, died, and fallen naturally.  In some stream restoration projects, like the recent Columbia Slough Confluence project, and at the confluence of Stephens Creek with the Willamette River, Environmental Services intentionally places large wood to re-create these natural conditions. 


nearby tree with fencing

On this site in Stephens Creek, the second tree that the beaver was working on posed a potential safety risk to a nearby parking lot, so staff fenced the tree's base to prevent the beaver from finishing his job.


For more information on the Willamette River watershed and the Stephens Creek subwatershed, go here.  Can you tell the difference between a beaver (native to Oregon!) and a nutria (invasive species!)? Find resources on this Science, Fish and Wildlife program page.