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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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Innovative Problem Solving: Rain Gardens in Northeast Portland

1 Comment

Green streets and private facilities such as rain gardens and planters help reduce stormwater draining to sewer pipes, helping the City avoid installing larger pipes. In targeted areas, the City partners with property owners to design and build stormwater facilities to be safe for the site and neighboring properties.  The program is voluntary and the property owner maintains ownership at all times.  Following construction, the property owners maintain the new rain gardens. 

A neighborhood in Northeast Portland was struggling with an undersized pipe, which can lead to basement sewer backups for nearby homes, and can be expensive for the city to repair and a noisy disruption for neighbors. BES constructed two rain gardens that will manage 2,200 ft² of roof, remove stormwater flow, and help prevent having to up-size the pipe.  On an average water year of 37 inches, they will remove over 48,000 gallons of stormwater runoff from this pipe per year. There are several other participating properties in this neighborhood that will also help us to achieve the overall goal of mitigating 7,500 ft² of impervious area managed in the localized drainage basin.

The great news is that this approach costs less than installing larger pipes, and Darlene, the property owner, couldn’t be happier:

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the health of Portland and the Willamette River while enhancing the beauty of one’s home. Thanks to the City for creative water management!”


1 Comment


Jeremy OLeary

May 16, 2014 at 2:33 PM

If you include a rain barrel in the system, that would also be a source of water that could be purified in the event of a disaster.

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