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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

MAILING ADDRESS: 1120 SW 5th Ave, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

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Become a Green Street Steward and Plant in Your Neighborhood Green Street

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A new policy expands how volunteers can engage with their neighborhood green streets

This fall, Environmental Services is rolling out a new planting policy for the Green Streets Stewards program. Since 2010, the program has supported community interest in the maintenance of Portland's green streets. The city takes care of green streets and welcomes help from the community. Green Street Stewards help with simple activities that include picking up trash, removing leaves and debris, and occasional weeding and watering.

Collecting garbage from a green street can help it manage stormwater runoff. 

Green street stewards remove weeds from facilities so that plant communities stay healthy. 

The new planting policy allows Stewards to help in the design of their adopted green streets (after approval of a planting plan). Now, instead of only pulling weeds, Stewards can actually add plants and beautify the facilities. Want to be as cool as a fish and help keep our rivers clean? Sign up to be a Green Street Steward! Here's how:

Step 1: Adopt a green street in your neighborhood (sign up here).

Step 2: Check out the Suggested Plant Guide for some ideas, but feel free to be creative beyond those listed.

Step 3: Follow the planting guidelines: the plants must be perennials/bulbs, maximum 36 inches tall at maturity (visibility issues) and cannot be invasive or edible.

Step 4: Submit your design to or

Green Street Stewards Program

400 SW 6th Ave, Suite 200

Portland, OR, 97204

Step 5: Plant your plants! (in the fall or spring, to have the best chances of plant survival)

Step 6: Keep up with all of your other Green Street Steward duties, like clearing out the openings!

If you have any questions, always feel free to send us an email at:

This Saturday December 9th, join the Johnson Creek Watershed Council for a restoration planting at Johnson Creek Park!

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Team up with the Council and Portland Parks to plant native shrubs and trees along the banks of Crystal Springs before winter arrives

Volunteers are invited to be part of this rewarding stewardship event, perfect for families, work teams and service groups. 

When? Saturday, December 9, 2017, 9:00 a.m. - Noon 

Where? Johnson Creek Park, SE 21st Avenue and Clatsop Street 

Volunteers will help the Johnson Creek Watershed Council plant thimbleberry, red elderberry, and snowberry along the bank of Crystal Springs to shade the stream, prevent erosion and help the fish. Dress for the weather, bring a water bottle, and bring a friend! Tools and water will be provided. Meet on the WEST SIDE of the park. Street parking is available.

To sign up, please email: You can learn about more volunteer opportunities with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council here

Free Grant Writing Workshops for the Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP)

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Staff from Environmental Services will be available to help interested community members develop competitive proposals.

Are you a member of a community group looking to improve your neighborhood and help the environment? Are you interested in applying for a Community Watershed Stewardship Program grant, but don’t have any grant writing experience? Would you like help filling out your application materials, but don’t know where to turn?

You’re in luck! CWSP has two upcoming grant writing workshops that are fun, free and open to the public. Topics will include the grant selection process, criteria used for scoring applications and tips for giving your grant proposal its best chance at success. Successful grant proposals will promote equity and build community partnerships, and we can help you develop your ideas so they are reviewed competitively. Bring your friends, your ideas and your love for Portland watersheds. Refreshments provided. We hope to see you there! 

The dates, times and locations for the two upcoming November workshops are:

The Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) helps Portlanders make improvements in their neighborhoods and communities, while also improving the health of our watersheds. CWSP is a partnership between Environmental Services and Portland State University.

CWSP administers two grant programs: Stewardship Grants of up to $10,000 and Native Plant Mini-Grants of up to $500. Learn more at:

Questions about CWSP and the grant writing workshops can be sent to CWSP Grants Coordinator B Castra Nemici at or by phone at 503-823-7917


One Hundred Years Ago Along The Columbia River

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A photo from 1917 reflects how much has changed in Portland's most urbanized watershed

Urban watersheds are complex systems that rely on strong partnerships to balance development needs with natural resource management and protection. In the Columbia Slough, Portland’s most urbanized watershed, there’s a long history of seeking this balance, and a recently discovered photo reflects how much has changed.

Until 1918, the Columbia Slough was connected to the Columbia River floodplain. The annual water would carve slough channels and fill up lakes and wetland areas. In the summer, the Columbia floodplain would dry out. The flood waters were unpredictable and made the land along the Columbia difficult to cultivate and develop. 

This photo was taken one hundred years ago at the place along the Columbia River where flood water overflowed into the head of the Columbia Slough.  The site is along present-day N.E. Marine Drive.

After this photo was taken, a levee system was constructed to prevent floods from entering the area, which enabled farmers to plant crops and industries to develop along the Columbia Slough channels.  The levee also provides protection for the Portland International Airport.

This photo was taken on November 2, 2017 to show the changes at the head of the slough over the last 100 years. The levee obscures the view of the Columbia River, the banks of the Columbia Slough have been vegetated with native plants, and the pump station in the photo was built to move water from the Columbia Slough out to the Columbia River

Within the levee system, however, the Columbia Slough boasts the most wetlands in Portland and an amazing variety of fish and wildlife, including salmon that are protected under the Endangered Species Act. That’s why Environmental Services and partners like the Columbia Slough Watershed Council and the Multnomah County Drainage District work together to improve the health of the Columbia Slough by keeping the water moving to allow cold spring water to flow in, and by planting the slough channels with water-loving native plants such as willows and dogwood. Those plants create shady cool spots for fish and wildlife.

To learn more about watershed improvement projects along the Columbia Slough, check out

To help with Columbia Slough stewardship projects or to explore the slough by boat or foot

To learn more about the levee system  or

Make new friends, but keep the old… Then get them all together to work on a bioswale!

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Want to learn about bioswales and get involved, but don’t know how? Read on for an exciting opportunity.

UPDATE! Due to the rain in the forecast, NECN has cancelled the work party for Saturday, October 18th! NECN will be rescheduling it in the near future, and City Green will include the details once they're available.


The Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN) is planning a gardening and bioswale community day on October 21st beginning at 10:30am. This free event is a great opportunity for you to meet new friends, learn about the bioswale and its impact on stormwater management and how stormwater affects local watersheds, all while having fun engaging with your local community.

NECN was a recipient of a grant from Environmental Services’ Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) during the 2013-2014 fiscal year. NECN’s grant funded the creation of a bioswale in the NECN parking lot, which was installed by neighborhood volunteers and is already helping to alleviate flooding and inform plans for future stormwater projects on their property. The bioswale project at NECN is an excellent example of how CWSP projects create ongoing opportunities for ecological education and engagement in Portland.

Volunteers from NECN and Depave remove asphalt from the parking lot

CWSP helps Portlanders make improvements in their neighborhoods and communities, while also improving the health of our watersheds. As a partnership with Portland State University, CWSP relies on two student coordinators to build awareness of the program and identify potential grant applicants. The students, Esmeralda and B, have been attending events all summer to create awareness of the CWSP program and solicit grant applications, including the Alberta Street Fair, Jade District Night Market, Sunday Parkways, Hawthorne Street Fair, Belmont Street Fair, Festival of Nations, Indian Days Celebration, and more. So far they have engaged with over 3,000 people and have contacted 28 organizations with which they hope to build CWSP partnerships.

Esmeralda and B will be at the event and are looking forward to talking to you about how you can turn your idea for an environmental project into a reality with funding from the CWSP Program. They would be happy to tell you all about the CWSP grants that are available, and send you home with a packet of native wildflower seeds!

NECN Gardening and Bioswale Community Day

Where: 4815 NE 7th Ave. Portland, OR 97211

When: Saturday October 21st at 10:30 a.m. 

Learn more about CWSP here!