Portland's Green Street Program

by Ben Bowen

Portland has a couple thousand miles of sewer pipes, and 1/3 of it is over 80 years old! It's easy to see why the city is interested in anything that lessens the demand on this aging infrastructure. Enter the Green Street program...

What is a Green Street?

Portland's Green Street facilities are small rain gardens that catch rain water, letting it naturally return to the ground. These gardens greatly reduce demand on the storm water system and keep polluted water out of our rivers and streams.

What do you think of Portland's Green Streets?

In residential areas the rain gardens can reduce the parking spots available. I am sure there a few people not happy about that. But the benefits are obvious. The facilities are effective and attractive. And they are so "Portland". However you you feel about them. get used to them. We already have hundreds of these little rain gardens, with many more on the way.

Green Street Maintenance

The Green Streets are maintained by the City of Portland, but they encourage public partnerships. Individuals and companies can volunteer as "Stewards".

What does a Green Street Steward do?

You visit as often as you want, clear leaves that might keep water out of the garden, and remove garbage. Then you sign in to the City of Portland site to report your activity. This helps the city deploy crews efficiently. It takes me about 10 minutes to visit our Green Street and less than 5 to report.

Want to know more? Or volunteer?

Check out the links to the right. And if you are at the bus stop at 42nd and Division- please take a moment to admire our Green Street.

And maybe not throw your cigarette butts in it?


A Green Street facility at SE 42nd and Division. Ross NW Watergardens has adopted this facility.