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Commissioner Mapps lauds partnership that restores bioswale and community ties by offering paid opportunities to people who are unhoused at tree planting and for long term stewardship
Commissioner Mapps lauds partnership that restores bioswale and community ties by offering paid opportunities to people who are unhoused at tree planting and for long term stewardship
Central Eastside businesses, houseless community and Bureau of Environmental Services join in tree planting, restoration at east end of Morrison Bridge - 04/29/21

Commissioner Mingus Mapps joins tree planting as neighbors restore a stormwater bioswale, creating green space and paid skill-building for unhoused people.

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The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services is planting trees this week at the east end of the Morrison Bridge with the support of Central Eastside businesses and people experiencing houselessness. This planting is a collaboration between the City and the Central Eastside Bioswale Program, a pilot program of the Central Eastside Industrial Council (CEIC) in partnership with Ground Score Association, a peer-led initiative of Trash for Peace.

The event is part of an ongoing collaborative effort offering paid opportunities for people who are unhoused to participate in restoring stormwater bioswales in the Central Eastside. The program aims to create a healthier green space to benefit the community and Willamette River while offering paid stewardship and skill-building opportunities for people who are unhoused. 

Currently, because of camping that compacts the soil and trash dumping, the bioswales aren’t able to perform the function they were created for. The program promotes environmental stewardship, leading to better functioning bioswales and, as a result, a healthier Willamette river.  

The three partners organized the two-day  event that is planting more than 50 trees and shrubs on April 29 and 30.  COVID-19 safety precautions will be in effect and participants will wear masks, use hand sanitizers and practice distancing. 

“This tree planting and the long term program behind it brings people together to creating lasting relationships, lasting opportunity, and lasting stewardship,”  says Commissioner Mingus Mapps, who oversees the Bureau of Environmental Services. “Together, government, business, and people who are unhoused are repairing our infrastructure and repairing our community ties.”

“Central Eastside Together, our Enhanced Service District, is focused on providing innovative, solutions oriented and trauma-informed programs that benefit all residents and businesses in the Central Eastside Industrial District,” says Kate Merrill, executive director of the CEIC, which oversees Central Eastside Together.

“CEIC has been our strongest supporter from the beginning - starting with Ground Score’s first event on Earth Day 2 years ago in the Central Eastside.  And like the life of a tree, we hope that this partnership continues to grow into the future,” says Barbra Weber, co-Founder and Coordinator of Ground Score Association and Director for the Board of Central Eastside Together.  

The Central Eastside Bioswale Program provides low-barrier workforce development opportunities to the most vulnerable in our community, co-creating solutions to the challenges the region faces, as seen in the Central Eastside Industrial District. Ground Score Stewards are paid $20 and coordinators $25 per hour, and are connected to the Ground Score Association and ongoing job opportunities.

The Central Eastside Industrial Council has a two-year commitment to fund this program and is also seeking in-kind support from local businesses. The Bureau of Environmental Services - the City’s stormwater and sewer utility -  is supplying the trees, materials, and staff for the tree planting and has committed to provide support in navigating City and County requirements as well as education for program participants.

Looking ahead, the Central Eastside Together Bioswale Program has the goal of being a sustainable model for outreach and stewardship to support the cleaning, maintenance, and design of green infrastructure. 

 

About the Central Eastside Industrial Council (CEIC)

CEIC is a non-profit, volunteer organization representing property owners, businesses, residents and makers in the Central Eastside. It operates the newest Enhanced Services District (ESD) in Portland, Central Eastside Together, and is currently pioneering new ways to help businesses survive the pandemic and set them up to thrive.  Learn more here: https://ceic.cc/centraleastsidetogether/

 

About Ground Score Association

Ground Score Association, a program of Trash for Peace, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is an association of informal recyclers, dumpster divers and other environmental workers who create and fill low-barrier waste management jobs. Trash for Peace seeks to build a more environmentally and socially aware community, while also changing society's perceptions of what and who is considered valuable.  Learn more here:  https://www.trashforpeace.org/ground-score

About the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services

The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services - your sewer and stormwater utility - provides Portland residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. Follow on Twitter - @BESPortland. On the web: portlandoregon.gov/bes/news.

Sewage Advisory: Grease clogs sewer line, causing overflow on NE 160th near Burnside Street - 04/18/21

City crews responded to a sewage overflow on NE 160th Avenue just north of Burnside Street to find a sewer line clogged by grease. They reported to the area around 2 p.m. and cleared the blockage around 6:30 p.m.

The sewage overflowed from a manhole on NE 160th Avenue and traveled around 200 yards, or the length of two football fields, before entering a catch basin and sump. The quantity is estimated at about 1,000 gallons.

The public is advised to heed warning signs posted in the area. 

Most sewage overflows are preventable. Pipes that become blocked with grease, tree roots, wet wipes, and other debris are the most common cause of sewage overflows.  

Environmental Services advises the public to follow these tips to prevent clogs in homes and businesses, and to prevent sewage releases: 

  • Never pour grease down drains: Collect grease, oil, and fat in a can and then into the garbage. Grease that is liquid when poured down drains will become solid once in pipes.
  • Only flush human waste and toilet paper (wet wipes are NOT flushable); 
  • Don’t put anything down storm drains, which are intended for rainfall only. Many of the City’s storm drains feed directly into creeks.

If you experience or see a sewer overflow, call the City of Portland’s 24/7 reporting hotline: 503-823-1700.  

 The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. @BESPortland.

 

BES fish biologists with the old culvert and new bridge during construction
BES fish biologists with the old culvert and new bridge during construction
REMINDER - Boones Ferry Road to reopen Friday evening, April 16; new Tryon Creek bridge benefits people, fish, wildlife (Photo) - 04/16/21

Reminder: New bridge over Tryon Creek at SW Boones Ferry Road is complete; road to reopen this evening, April 16. 

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The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services announces the substantial completion of a major habitat restoration and bridge-building project over Tryon Creek and the reopening of SW Boones Ferry Road at SW Arnold Street on Friday evening, April 16. 

The new Tryon Creek bridge allows the creek to flow freely. It replaces an aging culvert that had restricted water flow, causing erosion and flood surges while blocking fish and wildlife. The new 125-foot span includes two travel lanes, wide sidewalks and a trail for people and wildlife underneath it.

The bridge and road open around 6 p.m. Friday. Crews will continue working underneath the bridge in the coming weeks, but that work is unlikely to affect travel.

“The Tryon Creek bridge and restoration project offers much to celebrate for people, fish, and wildlife,” said Commissioner Mingus Mapps. “The opening of the bridge marks the culmination of many years of hard work and collaboration by the community and government agencies. It will serve our community for many years to come.”

To build the bridge, crews worked since February 2020, pivoting to meet new COVID-19 guidelines a month after construction began and adjusting schedules and procedures to stay safe during the pandemic.

They removed the road bed and the aging culvert, restoring the stream bed, and installed native plants along the stream banks. They also built a new pedestrian and wildlife trail under the bridge to connect with the area’s existing popular trail network.

“The culvert was a barrier, the bridge is a connector,” Environmental Services Director Mike Jordan has said, “Instead of squeezing the creek into a dark corrugated pipe, the bridge allows one of Portland’s most important streams to flow freely.”

Tryon Creek is considered one of Portland’s healthiest streams, and is home to native cutthroat trout, Pacific lamprey, and other native fish. The larger watershed is home to beaver, deer, and other wildlife. 

Community groups have been long time advocates for this project. 

The SW Boones Ferry Bridge and Restoration Project cost is $8.8 million, with the majority being funded by Environmental Services. Metro provided a $650,000 grant through its Nature in the Neighborhood program.

Other project partners are: Portland Parks and Recreation, Portland Bureau of Transportation, Portland Water Bureau, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, and community groups including Tryon Creek Watershed Council, SWTrails PDX, Friends of Tryon Creek State Park,  SWNI Transportation Committee,  Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association, and adjacent and nearby property owners.

With the new bridge, only one major culvert remains downstream on Tryon Creek. Planning is underway with the US Army Corps of Engineers for removal of that Highway 43 culvert near the creek’s confluence with the Willamette River. That would open Tryon Creek’s prime habitat to endangered Willamette River salmon and steelhead.  

 More photos may be found at Flickr.  See the project video and find more information at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/boonesferry.

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 The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. www.portlandoregon.gov/bes and @BESPortland.