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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

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You’re invited: Southwest Portland Watershed Restoration Open House

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The event takes place on Wednesday, April 26th, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Multnomah Center

Environmental Services works regularly with SWNI and the southwest community to develop watershed plans and projects to improve water quality, address public interests, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, improve infrastructure, and restore watershed functions.  

Come join us to learn about project designs, timelines, goals and partners. Staff will be on hand to answer questions, take feedback and provide information about the range of projects and planning efforts we have on the horizon in SW Portland. A number of exciting projects in SW Portland will be highlighted, including:

Boones Ferry Road Culvert Replacement ProjectTryon Creek flows through a culvert under SW Boones Ferry Road that creates a barrier to fish moving to habitat in upper Tryon and Arnold creeks. Environmental Services is working with many partners to replace the culvert with a bridge. The project has received funding from Metro’s Nature in Neighborhoods Capital Grant Program. Construction is expected in 2018.

Existing culvert at Boones Ferry Road 

Stephens Creek Headwaters Neighborhood Stormwater FacilitiesEnvironmental Services is evaluating sites near the headwaters of Stephens Creek to build neighborhood improvements for water quality and wildlife habitat.  Sites under consideration are adjacent to the Texas Wetland at Custer Park, and at Stephens Nature Park. Improving stormwater management, stream flows and water quality at the headwaters of the Creek will have positive impacts both locally and downstream.

Dickinson Park Stream RestorationEnvironmental Services and Portland Parks & Recreation are working together on a stream restoration project on three acres of forested land next to Dickinson Park. The project includes restoring 68 feet of stream, creating wetland and floodplain benches, and removing an abandoned pump house, footbridge, pipes and other structures. The work will restore natural stream processes and function, connect the stream to the floodplain, and protect the stream channel.

You can learn more about southwest watersheds (Fanno, Tryon and Willamette) on the web at With questions, comments or for more information, contact Becky Tillson at 503-823-7097 or

See you on April 26th!

How clean is this stream? Let's ask the amphibians.

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Monitoring of amphibian populations helps to assess the watershed health

The Pacific Northwest is home to several species of amphibians, including the Pacific tree frog, the long-toed salamander, the northern red-legged frog, and the northwestern salamander. Due to ongoing urbanization and habitat fragmentation, however, our native amphibians are in decline. Their soft, permeable skin make them especially susceptible to absorbing toxic substances, which has had a detrimental effect on their populations. When healthy populations of these amphibians are found in wetlands and streams, it typically indicates the stream is in good health and can provide habitat for other species, including endangered fish.

These red-legged frog egg masses were spotted in an East Portland wetland.

Today, Environmental Services is working to help increase amphibian populations in Portland by protecting and restoring wetland and stream habitat. Each year in late winter and early spring, we head out to the field and look for amphibian egg masses and larvae, so that we can monitor the effectiveness of our restoration work. The good news is that we’ve been consistently finding amphibians in most of our restoration projects, even those that were not designed specifically with amphibians in mind.

 A mature red-legged frog.

If you'd like to learn more about how monitoring fish and wildlife populations inform watershed health assessments, check out the Portland Watershed Report Cards. 

Want to know what you can do to help? Our Clean River Tips will give you pointers on how you can make an impact and keep our rivers and streams clean.  

Alien Plant Invader: Garlic Mustard

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Keep an eye out for this invasive species that's made its return to Portland over the last few weeks

Garlic mustard.  You’ve probably heard of it.  You’ve maybe seen it.  It might even be in your neighborhood.  It has been a priority invasive species in Portland since 2004. 

Managing this invasive plant involves coordination across three counties and multiple agencies, including the Oregon State Weed Board and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.  Individual Portlanders and neighborhood groups are also providing critical help.

There’s still work to do and it is difficult to see changes from year to year, especially for a weed as adaptable, persistent and widespread as garlic mustard. But, we’ve made improvements on many fronts.

The numbers of plants are down substantially all over town, and particularly on the west side. In recent years, there were sizeable infestations along roads like Germantown, Skyline, and Burnside. Now plants are scattered, patches are small, and our crews don’t have as much to treat as they walk miles of roadside. These “walking tours” will continue into the foreseeable future, to prevent re-infestation and to tamp down flare-ups.

Photo: Garlic mustard along Skyline Boulevard in the West Hills of Portland

The City of Portland is intensifying its garlic mustard control efforts along streams with known infestations, while all partner organizations are increasing their surveys in peripheral areas. The West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District and Portland Parks have made important gains following and treating garlic mustard deep in previously unmanaged areas.

In addition, a few neighborhoods have committed to hand pulling certain stretches of road. These efforts have been quite successful, setting a model for other neighborhoods to adopt and adapt. (Check out the Skyline Ridge Neighbors).

Visit  to learn more about what the plant looks like, some of the lookalike species, garlic mustard’s growth phases, and updates on treatment and management. We hope the last item will provide insight about why we are taking specific steps. 

High Water Hides Fish Habitat

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The Lower Columbia Slough Refugia Project provides habitat structure for migrating salmon

Last week’s high water in the Columbia River, Willamette River and the Columbia Slough has covered most of the 35 large fish refugia structures installed to provide fish habitat as part of the Lower Columbia Slough Refugia Project.  This is exactly what was supposed to happen!

Habitat structures exposed by low water during the summer

Habitat structures currently under water

The beautiful Columbia Slough in high water conditions

Please visit the project website to learn more about the ecology, engineering and construction of the Lower Slough Refugia Project. The website also features a new video, produced by the Columbia Slough Watershed Council and volunteer videographer David Biggs, that explains why the structures are designed to be hidden from our view at high water levels.


Celebrate spring and trillium in Tryon Creek this weekend at the Trillium Festival

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The event is sponsored by the Friends of Tryon Creek and takes places April 1-2 at Tryon Creek State Park

Join the Friends of Tryon Creek for their annual Trillium Festival on April 1-2 at Tryon Creek State Park. This community event will welcome spring, celebrate the annual return of the trillium, and teach attendees about the benefits of native plants.

Native plants provide wildlife habitat, filter stormwater, and help stabilize slopes. Environmental Services does restoration projects on public land with native plants through the city, including in the Tryon Creek Watershed. Property owners and residents can also get involved by removing non-native invasive species and replacing them with native plants. Natives are well-suited to the amount of rainfall, soils and sun exposure that are typical in Portland, so they tend to thrive.

Please note that Terwilliger Blvd from Hwy 43 up to the Park is closed due to sewer construction. See for more information about the project and associated road closures and detours.

For more information about this community event, click here: