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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

Balch Creek Trash Rack Replacement and Repair


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The City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services is continuing our work to repair and replace critical sewer and stormwater infrastructure. Environmental Services will continue to provide information and updates on construction schedules and activities during the COVID-19 emergency. 

MAY, 2020

Environmental Services works throughout the city to protect water quality and the environment. Balch Creek, in northwest Portland, runs above ground for approximately 3 ¼ miles and then enters a pipe in Macleay Park. From that point on, the creek flows underground through the pipe until it reaches the Willamette River.

At the point in Macleay Park where Balch Creek flows into the underground pipe, a trash rack catches large debris to protect the pipe from backing up or clogging (see photo). 

The Balch Creek Trash Rack collects sediment, large logs, and other woody debris that is carried down from the steep forested drainage area surrounding the Lower Macleay Trailhead in Forest Park.  This large structure keeps the majority of sediment, rock, and floating debris from entering the low-pressure storm sewer that carries Balch Creek from Forest Park to the Willamette River.  The Balch Creek Trash Rack is aging and many of its components are in need of replacement and upgrading.  Repairing or replacing the trash rack will help reduce the chance of future clogs, backups and floods.

Schedule Update

In order to complete the work on the trash rack, construction crews will need to work inside the banks of Balch Creek.  This is only allowed during specific times of the year when water flow is low, known as the “in-water work window.”  Working during this window helps protect stream habitat and wildlife from damage and stress.  In order to line up with upcoming in-water work windows, the start of construction will need to be postponed until the summer of 2021. Construction is expected to take about six months to complete.

For More Information

With questions, comments or for more information, please contact Aaron Abrams at 503-823-2827 or