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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

July 2010

City recommends caution for recreational river use - July 2, 2010

Crystal Springs culvert replacement project starts - July 14, 2010


SE 28th Avenue closure between Steele and Woodstock - July 21, 2010


Restoring forest areas in Mt. Tabor Park - July 22, 2010


Overnight closure at SE Holgate and SE Foster Road - July 26, 2010


City recommends caution for recreational river use

July 2, 2010

Due to the recent rainstorm, Portland's combined sewers have overflowed to the Willamette River. Environmental Services advises the public against any recreational activity in the Willamette River during which water could be swallowed.

The public should avoid the Willamette River for 48 hours after the rain has stopped. It is especially important to avoid recreational activities–such as water skiing, jet skiing or swimming–during which water could be swallowed. While health risks from combined sewer overflows (CSOs) are unknown, Environmental Services takes these precautions to protect public health.

People who fish should wash their hands following contact with the water. Those who choose to eat fish caught in the Willamette River during a CSO event should cook the fish thoroughly to kill bacteria.

In many areas of Portland, sewage mixes with stormwater runoff in a combined sewer system. When the combined sewers receive too much runoff, they overflow into the Willamette River. CSOs are contaminated with bacteria from untreated sewage.

Portland is in the 19th year of a 20-year program to improve the city's sewer system. Until the program is complete in December 2011, overflows of untreated sewage and stormwater will occur during rainstorms. After all CSO projects are complete in December 2011, combined sewers will overflow an average of four times each winter and once every three summers instead of every time it rains. 

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Crystal Springs culvert replacement project starts

July 14, 2010

Work begins this week on a project to remove barriers to fish passage in Crystal Springs Creek in southeast Portland. The Crystal Springs SE 28th Avenue Restoration and Culvert Replacement Project is the first of several fish barrier removal projects planned in Crystal Springs Creek.

The city will replace a two-foot diameter culvert under SE 28th Avenue with a larger culvert to improve fish passage. The project will benefit coho and Chinook salmon, and steelhead trout, all of which live in the creek and are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The work is a joint project of the City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Services and Reed College. Reed College owns the property east of SE 28th Avenue and will restore the meandering creek channel, add a sidewalk on SE 28th, and a green street facility to manage stormwater runoff from the street.

Preliminary work starts this week. Culvert construction starting next week, tentatively on Monday, will completely close SE 28th Avenue just north of SE Botsford Drive near the Reed College campus. The project contractor will maintain local access, but the road will be closed to through traffic until the end of September. Motorists will use SE Cesar Chavez Boulevard to travel between SE Steele and SE Woodstock during the SE 28th closure.

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SE 28th Avenue closure between Steele and Woodstock

July 21, 2010

A culvert replacement and stream restoration project has closed SE 28th Avenue to through traffic between SE Steele and SE Woodstock. The closure began today and will last until the project is complete at the end of this September. Motorists are detouring to SE Cesar Chavez Boulevard to travel between Steele and Woodstock. Bicyclists are detouring to SE 26th Avenue.

The project will replace a culvert under SE 28th that impedes fish passage in Crystal Springs Creek.

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Restoring forest areas in Mt. Tabor Park

July 22, 2010

Mt. Tabor Park is one of Portland's best parks; an island of green that provides solace to visitors. But invasive plants are threatening the health of this urban oasis.

This fall, the city's Tabor to the River Program will start a project to remove invasive plants and plant native vegetation on six acres in the park's northwest corner, and on 13.5-acres in the southwest corner. The project involves removing invasive plants, seeding with grasses and native groundcovers to stabilize steep slopes and prevent erosion; planting native plants, and on-going weed management. Work crews will also remove weedy trees, such as English hawthorn and English holly, throughout the park. Go to and choose "Tabor to the River Projects" for more information and project updates.

Left unchecked, invasive plants could overrun Mt. Tabor Park's natural areas. Invasive plants can spread aggressively, out-competing and killing native herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees. This is bad for several reasons:

  1. It reduces biodiversity.
  2. It diminishes habitat for native wildlife, including birds. Mt. Tabor Park is one of Portland's best birding spots. It is a refuge for both nesting birds and migrating neo-tropical songbirds. But invasive plants make the park less attractive to many birds.
  3. It prevents natural regeneration of the forest canopy. Mt. Tabor Park has a majestic Douglas-fir canopy. When large trees die in an undisturbed forest, younger, smaller trees are waiting to take their places. This is not the case in natural areas overrun by invasive plants.
  4. A diverse coverage of native plants is better at reducing the speed and volume of stormwater runoff and preventing erosion than a uniform coverage of an invasive plant.

In 2005 and 2006, a Portland Parks & Recreation inventory rated 94% of Mt. Tabor Park in poor or severely degraded ecological condition. The main culprits are invasive English ivy, clematis, and Himalayan blackberry.

The good news is that the Friends of Mt. Tabor Park have actively battled invasive plants for years. In the first three months of this year, they came close to matching the total number of volunteer hours in all of last year. Portland Parks & Recreation volunteers are actively removing invasive plants. You can see evidence of their work throughout the park. The Tabor to the River project that begins this fall will focus on park areas that are too steep or too badly infested for volunteers to tackle.

The Tabor to the River Program integrates hundreds of sewer, green stormwater management, tree planting and watershed education projects to improve watershed health. Mt. Tabor sits at the top of the Tabor to the River basin. Removing invasive plants and planting native plants in Mt. Tabor Park will enhance watershed health by improving stormwater management and habitat, and strengthening the park's natural areas.

You can make a difference in Mt. Tabor Park and your watershed.

  • Volunteer to remove invasive plants. Go to for more information. The group organizes work parties on the last Saturday of every month through October from 9:00 a.m. until noon.
  • Remove invasive plants from your yard. Go to to learn about free workshops on native gardening and building rain gardens.
  • Create backyard habitat. Go to and to learn how to receive free personalized assistance at your home. 

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July 26, 2010

Overnight closure at SE Holgate and SE Foster Road

Beginning tonight, a sewer replacement project will close SE Holgate Boulevard at SE Foster Road and restrict traffic lanes on SE Foster in the SE Holgate intersection.

The closure and lane restrictions will be in place during nighttime construction hours from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. Monday through Friday for about the next four weeks. All lanes will be restored and the intersection will be open to traffic during the day and on weekends.

Environmental Services is replacing portions of a 36-inch sewer pipe that is in poor condition. The project will improve sewer system reliability and increase capacity.

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