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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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New Trees Take Root in East Portland


1000% more trees? Yes please.

The tree planting season is in full swing, and East Portland neighborhoods are leading the pack!

worker planting treeLast summer, Environmental Services' outreach team hit the pavement around town to get homes and businesses signed up for new trees.  Planting is now underway with our contractors and community partners, including Friends of Trees.

1,500 new trees are planned for planting in the Parkrose, Argay, Wilkes, Parkrose Heights, Russell, Hazelwood, Mill Park, Glenfair, Centennial, Powellhurst-Gilbert, Pleasant Valley, and Lents neighborhoods. 

Additional trees are being planted in other neighborhoods across the city. 


street trees help manage stormwater

Environmental Services has a special focus on getting more trees planted in areas of East Portland, where there is less tree canopy than in other parts of town.  During the Grey to Green effort (2008 to 2013), we planted about 3,500 new street and yard trees in East Portland with Friends of Trees and other partners. 

That's a more than 1000% increase in tree planting from the five years before 2008.  

Thanks to all of the great volunteers, property owners, and community organizations working in the area, we continue to add to that success.  Each tree will manage about 500 gallons of stormwater each year when full-grown. 

For East Portland, that means less stormwater runoff to pipes, the Columbia Slough, Johnson Creek and the Willamette River. 


new street treesIn addition to thousands of new street trees in front of homes, East Portland projects also include:

- 200 new trees at schools, especially large native species that soak up lots of stormwater and help shade and cool classrooms

- 500 new trees along highway interchanges, including I-205 and Division and I-84 and NE 122nd Ave

- Trees planted by property owners utilizing the Treebate incentive 


And since we can't do this alone, we have to give a shout-out to Friends of Trees volunteers for the thousands of trees and shrubs they've planted along other parts of the I-205 corridor in recent years.   

Way to go Portland tree planting partners!

Have a spot for a tree?  Learn more about planting options. 

More Fish, Less Flooding Part 2: Saving on Insurance Costs


Portland's floodplain protection and restoration means more than happy salmon

restored floodplains hold the water naturallyHere’s some good news for a rainy weekend.  Portland was recently notified that we again qualify as a “Class 5 Community” under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Community Rating System.

What does that mean?

This rating means that Portland’s 2,400 homeowners and businesses with flood insurance save up to 25% on their insurance costs compared to rates paid in communities that don’t participate in the Community Rating System.

Portland qualifies for this rating because of our actions to reduce flood risks in the community.  Efforts to restore and protect floodplain as open space, such as the Foster Floodplain Natural Area, are a big part of the story.  This is just another way that protecting and restoring nature in the city provides a lot of benefits:

·       Managing the flow of stormwater

·       Filtering pollutants for cleaner rivers and streams

·       Restoring habitat for endangered salmon

·       Providing new public natural areas for walking, bird-watching, and relaxing

·       Adding more trees and plants to soak up carbon and cool our neighborhoods

Check out this video about the Foster Floodplain project, and learn more about other watershed restoration work.

For more information about flood safety and preparedness, see:


Deadline for Community Watershed Stewardship Program Funds Approaching

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Applications are due Friday February 14th. Grant workshops begin on Saturday, January 18th

Environmental Services is seeking proposals for community-based projects that benefit neighborhoods and communities while also improving the health of Portland’s environment. The Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) provides grants of up to $10,000. Short, one-page pre-applications are due by Friday, February 14, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. Please note, this grant deadline is six weeks earlier than in past years. 

Projects that can be funded include:

•           Neighborhood safety, health and livability

•           Youth leadership and skills development

•           Community gardens, green space projects and tree planting

•           Art and education

•           Cleanup and restoration

•           Stormwater management such as ecoroofs and parking lot swales

Bridlemile Creek Stewards, past CWSP grant recipients

What does neighborhood safety have to do with watershed health?

Just ask the people who live near SE 82nd and Woodstock. Out of concern for public safety and criminal activity in a particular parking lot, they formed a neighborhood group, “Our Happy Block Coalition”.  The volunteer group received a CWSP grant in 2011 for a project that removed 4,300 square feet of asphalt and replaced it with native plant rain gardens. These new facilities now soak up 370,000 gallons of stormwater runoff each year, diverting it from the city’s combined sewer system and naturally absorbing it into the ground. The project also included creating a mural, and closing one entrance to the parking lot, which decreased crime. As a result, there is increased public safety in the area. In the first year of the project, there was a 57% drop in calls to the police. There is also greater safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and children. They now have a more beautiful, vibrant neighborhood and a stronger, more connected community.


Our Happy Block mural and planting

We have a new application process!

We now ask for a short pre-application by February 14. Project proposals that fit CWSP goals will be invited to complete the full application, due April 15. This will allow us to better support applicants throughout the process.


CWSP is committed to supporting applicants throughout the process, so don’t let limited experience writing grants or with environmental work in general stop you from applying. For help developing project ideas and putting together an application contact Rosa Lehman at 503-823-7917 or For application materials and more information see

CWSP encourages applications for projects that involve the leadership and meaningful participation of people of color, immigrants, elders, youth, those with disabilities, low-income residents, and other underrepresented groups.

Need help developing project ideas or filling out your application? Join BES staff at one of three grant workshops:

Saturday, January 18 @ Holgate Library, 7905 SE Holgate Boulevard

2 pm to 3:30 pm

Thursday, January 23 @ East Portland Community Center, 740 SE 106th

7 pm to 8:30 pm

Monday, January 27@ Kenton Library, 8226 N Denver

6 pm to 7:30 pm

Recent stories about Portland's Green Streets and Ecoroofs


green street facilityHere's an article from Sustainable Business Oregon that highlights Portland's green streets .

There's a nice photo show and a shout-out to one of our Green Street Steward partners, Next Adventure.

And, check out this update on Portland's ecoroofs on, by Environmental Services' landscape architect Casey Cunningham.


And now, enough about stormwater -- get out and enjoy the sun while we have it!


Bringing Buried Streams Back to Life

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NPR story about cities restoring streams

Creek in PortlandThere was a great story on NPR this morning about Cincinnati and other cities' efforts to "daylight" urban streams

Many cities, including Portland, are built on top of what used to be surface streams that flowed freely to the rivers.  The streams were filled in or piped underground to allow development.  Daylighting is when streams that have been piped underground in the past are restored to a more natural condition.  This helps improve water quality, habitat, and can keep water out of sewage treatment plants. 


Check out this post about the project to daylight Spring Garden Stream in southwest Portland.  Another good local example is the daylighting of the headwaters of Tryon Creek

Interested in more information? A good resource is this recent American Rivers' report on daylighting streams.