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The City of Portland, Oregon

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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West Lents Floodplain Restoration Project

  • Aerial View Of SE Lambert Aerial view of West Lents Restoration Project area.

  • Johnson Creek View of Johnson Creek looking upstream from project area.

Updated February 5, 2020

Environmental Services is starting a project to restore about 16 acres in the Johnson Creek floodplain. The project will reconnect Johnson Creek to its historic floodplain, reduce flooding on private property, restore habitat for fish and wildlife, and improve water quality in the creek.

The project will take a natural approach to reducing local flood risks that also improves fish and wildlife habitat along Johnson Creek and is intended to be a community amenity. The restored floodplain will also improve water quality in Johnson Creek by allowing sediment in high water to settle onto the floodplain.

Location

The project will take place in natural areas to the south of the Springwater Corridor Trail between SE 82nd Avenue and SE 92nd Avenue. See map below for project area location.

Map of West Lents Project Area

Schedule

In June 2019, Environmental Services started work to "abandon" several sections of right of way in the project area, also known as street vacation. These sections of right of way are old streets that are no longer in use, and by vacating these streets, we will be able to better control access to the site as well as use this additional acreage as part of the restoration area. The map above shows the streets that are being removed for restoration.

Currently, project work is focused on assessing the current ecological condition of the area, and we are reaching out to various stakeholders, community members, community-focused groups, and other public agencies around identifying areas of collaborative opportunities. Initial investigations and design work will continue through 2022. Construction is anticipated to take place in 2023.

Soil Sampling

On February 18, 2020, work crews will be in the project area to the south of the Springwater Corridor Trail between SE 82nd and SE 92nd avenues (see map). They will be drilling small holes in the soil to investigate underground soil conditions. The analysis of soil, rock and pavement samples will help project engineers design the floodplain restoration project.

Survey and Utility Locates

Before drilling starts, crews will be in the neighborhood to locate and mark underground utilities by painting stripes on streets, sidewalks, and natural area or placing colored flags in landscaped areas. Each color indicates what is buried below. Blue for water, yellow for natural gas, green for sewer, etc. For more information on survey markings, visit https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/531156.

Background

In the 1930’s, the Works Progress Administration partially straightened and rock-lined the banks of Johnson Creek in this area to try and reduce flooding. Unfortunately, these changes to the creek increased downstream flooding by disconnecting the creek from its floodplain. It also made the creek warmer by removing trees along the banks, and reduced habitat for endangered salmon, steelhead and other wildlife. And in some places, untreated rainwater runoff from buildings and roads goes directly into the creek.

Environmental Services and its partners have been working for 25 years to address these issues and restore Johnson Creek. The West Lents Project is a high priority for Environmental Services. It will help restore the floodplain, improve water quality, and provide habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife.

What are the project goals?

  • Enhance habitat for salmon, steelhead, and other wildlife
  • Improve water quality in Johnson Creek
  • Reduce how often nearby private property floods

How will this be done?

  • Re-meander the creek and remove rock lining from its banks
  • Remove non-native plants and replace them with native plants
  • Add space on public property where flood water can safely go
  • Remove abandoned roadways
  • Add footbridge and trail over Johnson Creek for pedestrians and people on bikes

For More Information

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Stefanus Gunawan at Stefanus.Gunawan@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-5759.