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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

More Contact Info

October 2009

City offers more ecoroof incentives - 10/1/09

Environmental Services recommends caution for recreational river use this winter - 10/14/09



City offers more ecoroof incentives

October 1, 2009

Environmental Services is again accepting applications from property owners and developers for incentives to construct ecoroofs. The deadline for this cycle of incentive applications is Tuesday, December 1, 2009.

Ecoroofs are lightweight, vegetated roof systems that replace conventional roofs with a layer of foliage over a growing medium on top of a waterproof membrane. They are part of Portland's program to manage stormwater with facilities that work like natural systems. There are currently 172 ecoroofs in Portland, totaling nearly ten acres.

Ecoroof incentives fund up to $5 per square foot of an ecoroof project. In Portland, installation costs for ecoroofs range from $5 to $20 per square foot.

The city will spend about $500,000 on the incentives in this cycle, and will continue to make funds available until 2013. Industrial, residential, commercial and mixed-use projects are eligible. An Environmental Services committee reviews applications quarterly and awards incentives.

The application packet is available at or by calling 503-823-7914.

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Environmental Services recommends caution for recreational river use this winter

October 14, 2009

Winter rains will cause combined sewer overflows (CSOs) to the Willamette River in the coming months. This fall and winter, Environmental Services advises the public to avoid recreational activities in the river - such as water skiing or swimming - during which water could be swallowed. CSOs are contaminated with bacteria and Environmental Services suggests these precautions to protect public health.

Environmental Services has moved into its winter advisory program – mid-October to mid-May. River Alert warning signs on the Willamette River remain open during this period.

Environmental Services issues summer overflow advisories each time it rains between mid-May and mid-October when recreational use of the river is at its highest. During the rainy season, from mid-fall through the winter and early spring, a general, seasonal advisory goes into effect. CSO warning signs on the river will remain open. The summer advisories will resume in mid-May.

Some areas of Portland have a combined sewer system that carries both stormwater and sewage. When the system receives too much stormwater, the combined sewers overflow into the Willamette River. Since the CSO control program began in 1991, Portland has dramatically reduced CSO volume. But until all the projects are complete, some sewage will overflow into the river during rainy weather.

People who fish in the Willamette River and Columbia Slough should wash their hands following contact with the water. Those who choose to eat fish caught in the river and slough should cook them thoroughly to kill bacteria, discard fat and skin — which is where chemicals accumulate — and should bake or broil fish to reduce health risks.

Portland's 20-year program to improve the city's sewer system is in its 18th year. Until the program is finished in 2011, there will be overflows of untreated sewage and stormwater to the Willamette River during rain storms.

In some areas, Environmental Services installed sumps to divert stormwater from the sewer system and allow it to soak into the ground. We also encourage some property owners to disconnect residential downspouts from the sewer system. These kinds of low cost projects remove stormwater runoff from the sewer system and reduce CSO volume.

In 2000, Environmental Services finished construction of the several projects to control CSOs to the Columbia Slough. In fall 2006, Environmental Services completed the West Side Big Pipe projects, which controlled CSO outfalls on the west side of the Willamette River.

Construction of the East Side Big Pipe began in March 2006. Tunneling of the six-mile, 22-foot diameter East Side CSO Big Pipe began in spring 2007 and will be complete by 2011. When CSO construction is complete, Portland's combined sewers will overflow to the Willamette on average four times each winter and once over three summers instead of every time it rains.

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For more information, contact Linc Mann at 503-823-5328.