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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

Project Update December 9, 2019

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 also improves the water quality of Johnson Creek by allowing sediments in high water to settle onto the floodplain. Once the floodplain restoration project is completed, this restored area will allow a wider range of creek restoration and storm water management options to be considered as part of the project and provide additional space for floodplain restoration.

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 worked to "abandon" several sections of right of way in the project area, also known as street vacation. These sections of right of way were old streets that were 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 were removed for restoration.

Currently, the 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 begin in 2023 and will take approximately one year to complete.

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 will be the ninth floodplain project by Environmental Services to improve habitat and water quality in Johnson Creek and reduce flooding impacts in the community. The project will restore publicly-owned property. No additional land is needed to complete the project.

What are the project goals?

  • Enhance habitat for salmon, steelhead, and other wildlife
  • Improve water quality in Johnson Creek
  • Reduce how often nearby houses and apartments flood

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
  • Add a wetland that filters rainwater runoff before it reaches the creek
  • 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.