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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

More Contact Info


Once a Junkyard, Now a Park


New video highlights a gem in NE Portland

David McFarland, a Portland documentary filmmaker, recently produced this video about Whitaker Ponds.  David's son visited the ponds and shared his excitement and wonder with his father.  Maybe this preview of the Whitaker Ponds park in NE Portland's Columbia Slough Watershed will inspire you to get out and experience some nature in the city this sunny weekend! (Scroll down for a preview of the native camas you may see there.)

Environmental Services and Metro co-own the Whitaker Ponds Nature Park, which hosts thousands of students each year in Clean Rivers Education classes and events like Explorando, the multilingual family environmental festival (coming up this June 22).

Together with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, Portland Parks and Recreation and other partners and students, more than 7,000 native trees and shrubs have been planted at Whitaker Ponds.  There is also a constructed wetland at the park to treat street runoff from Columbia Boulevard, helping keep pollutants out of the ponds and nearby slough. The city used an EPA grant to construct a shelter with an ecoroof and a biology site.

Speaking of the shelter, staff were out at Whitaker Ponds earlier this week and took these photos of the native camas in full bloom on the ecoroof:

 camas blooming on ecoroof  shelter with ecoroof


Mark your calendar: Vanport Flood Tour


Commemorative Tour Marks Columbia River Flood

Flooding in the Midwest was in the news quite a bit over the last couple weeks—a good reminder of how nature shapes our communities and history.  Here in Portland, in 1948, a catastrophic flood of the Columbia River and Columbia Slough destroyed an entire community. 

Join Environmental Service’s Susan Barthel and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council on a commemorative tour of the Vanport Flood on May 30, 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. 

Vanport Residents in 1948 Flood  Aerial view of flooded Vanport City

Vanport City, developed on the floodplain of the Columbia River as World War II war worker housing, disappeared in the flood of 1948.  More than 100,000 people called the community home between 1943-1948. Vanport was also home to returning World War II veterans, returning Japanese internees and Vanport College, which became Portland State University.

Today, the Multnomah County Drainage Districts actively manage the Columbia River and Columbia Slough levees to prevent flooding and drain the floodplain area, which is home to PDX Airport, industrial businesses and agriculture.  The City of Portland, drainage districts, Army Corps of Engineers and other partners also coordinate to improve the water quality and habitat along the Columbia Slough

This tour will visit the levee, public art and informational signs that commemorate the Vanport City community and the flood. An active restoration site at Force Lake will also be on the route.  Maps and resource materials will be shared.  Meet at the Portland International Raceway/Delta Park MAX station at 4 pm sharp!  Appropriate for older students (with adults).  Minimal walking and short van shuttle. Trip is free, however pre-registration requested:  

For information call Susan Barthel, 503-823-7268


This Sunday: Bike, stroll or roll through the Foster Floodplain Natural Area


The East Portland Sunday Parkways route includes a new place to explore Johnson Creek.

Looking for a fun way to enjoy this beautiful spring weather? Hop on your bike or take a walk down the East Portland Sunday Parkways route this Sunday May 12th and join the fun at the Foster Floodplain Natural Area.  The newly completed natural area is located at the intersection of the Springwater Corridor Trail and SE Foster Road and will host loads of fun activities. 

Join us for Portland Audubon’s Birds of Prey, live music by “Worn out Shoes,” free basic bike repair and food.  Get your bike helmet fitted with a custom, colorful salmon hat before you head downstream along the rest of the Sunday Parkways route! 

Sunday Parkways Poster

Portlanders Dream for the Stream at Sunday Parkways


Thanks to everyone who braved a couple showers for another successful Sunday Parkways event at the Foster Floodplain Natural Area. Over 500 fish hats were swimming up and down the trail! People enjoyed food from Mixteca, Caribbean Kookpot, and Scoop Handmade Ice Cream and danced to music from “Worn Out Shoes.” See see more "Dream for the Stream" photos at , and catch up on the news about Foster Floodplain here.

Dream for the Stream in several languages











Grants available through the Portland Brownfield Program

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Property owners, purchasers, and developers can apply

Brownfields are former industrial or commercial properties that have redevelopment potential but may need to be cleaned up to address contamination or pollution. They can be old gas stations or auto repair shops, dry cleaners or manufacturing facilities, parking lots or vacant lots with unknown histories.  Bringing brownfields back into active use has many benefits: decreasing vacancy, reducing hazards to human health and the environment, increasing the tax base, providing new neighborhood amenities, and protecting water quality. 

This former brownfield is now a non-profit coffee house and community center.  

PBP helped fund the assessments prior to redevelopment

As a property owner, prospective purchaser, or developer it is important to know if there is contamination on your site, and to protect yourself from liability and unexpected delay during development. The Portland Brownfield Program (PBP) offers technical and financial assistance for environmental site assessments on commercial properties. The PBP also manages a Revolving Loan Fund for cleanup activities on sites with known contamination. 

A new round of grant funds has opened up for projects in outer east Portland (east of 82nd street).  Although east Portland is our target area, any property that fits the eligibility criteria is welcome to apply.

The below video introduces the Brownfield Program and highlights the remediation of the Rollin’ Tire site on SE Foster Road. 


For more information visit or call 503-823-7764