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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

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Green Streets

What is a green street planter?

  • green street planterA green street planter is a small rain garden that collects stormwater runoff from streets.
  • Green streets are important parts of the city’s green infrastructure and help protect and improve the efficiency of the city’s grey, or pipe, infrastructure.
  • Green streets help prevent sewer back-ups in basements and combined sewer overflows (CSOs) to the Willamette River.
  • Green streets increase urban green space, improve air quality, replenish groundwater, and reduce air temperature.

How does the city choose green street locations?

  • green street curb extensionTo effectively manage stormwater, the city locates green street planters where they will benefit the sewer system. They are typically located close to storm drains.
  • Research and modeling by city staff determine green street width, length and depth.
  • Other factors the city considers when deciding where to build green streets are the width of planting strips, the age and size of existing street trees, and parking impacts.

Do green street planters reduce on-street parking?

  • green street in planting stripGreen street planters built within the planting strip do not remove on-street parking.
  • Green streets that are curb extensions do remove parking spaces because they protrude into the street. A curb extension can remove two to three parking spaces, depending on its length.
  • The city works with adjacent property owners to limit impacts while ensuring that green street planters effectively manage stormwater.
  • Because green street planters are not as wide as cars, curb extensions give traffic more room to pass than parked cars do. A curb extension’s low-growing vegetation also improves visibility for drivers and pedestrians.

Green street care and maintenance

  • green street managing stormwaterThe city is responsible for maintaining green street planters. City staff generally conducts seasonal maintenance. The city also welcomes volunteer Green Street Steward partnerships.
  • Maintenance includes removing sediment, leaves or trash that can impede water flow, replacing plants, and watering.
  • You should not dispose of trash or animal waste in a green street planter. The city welcomes help from green street neighbors in keeping these materials out of green streets.

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