Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
Emergency Messages as of 11:12 am, Tue. Oct. 23
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News Releases
Commissioner Nick Fish announces Oaks Bottom habitat restoration to finish on time; Nov. 1 Springwater Corridor Trail to reopen; salmon subway reconnects river to refuge - 10/22/18

Commissioner Nick Fish joined with other City of Portland officials and the US Army Corps of Engineers on Monday to showcase the newly restored Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and its main feature– a new, large fish-friendly passage that benefits salmon and other wildlife.

The commissioner also announced that the Springwater Corridor trail, closed for four months for the project, will reopen on time Thursday, November 1, 2018.

"Instead of a small culvert, we now have a ‘salmon subway’ that reconnects the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and the Willamette River for the first time in over 100 years,” said Commissioner Fish. “Juvenile salmon now have a rest stop on their journey to the ocean. I look forward to biking here with my son and enjoying nature in the heart of our urban environment.”

he major restoration is a joint project between the two bureaus the commissioner oversees - the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services and Portland Parks & Recreation – and the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps is paying $5.72 million, or 65 percent, and Environmental Services is paying just over $3.1 million, or 35 percent, of the total project cost of $8.8 million. PP&R manages the refuge and trail.

In addition to replacing the small pipe culvert that had blocked fish access, crews also improved the stream flow within the refuge and created a winding channel to enhance habitat for fish, otter, beaver, amphibians and other wildlife, including 175 bird species.

The construction team had a mandate to complete most work during the “in-water work window” between July 1 and October 31, the timeframe allowed by law to minimize impacts on federally-protected salmon. During that time, the Springwater Corridor trail has been closed to through travel as crews cut open the berm supporting the trail to excavate and replace the culvert.

“We are excited that the work will be done as scheduled and trail will open on November 1,” said Lance Helwig, chief of engineering and construction for the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District. “Some important safety-related work needs to be completed between now and then, and we thank the community in advanced for its continued patience. Opening a safe trail over the new culvert is our top priority.”

Remaining construction activities that will be completed before reopening include the installation of safety rails on the trail and along a new small overlook at the culvert site. Until work is complete and the trail is safe for reopening, barricades will remain in place.

Once the trail reopens, the public will be able to see the new channels from the trail. Over winter, erosion control fabric along the channel’s banks will protect the soil. Native seed installed under the fabric will sprout and grow. In spring, which is the best time to plant trees and shrubs, Environmental Services crews will plant about 8,500 native trees such as cascara, red alder, willow, cottonwood and dogwood.  A new viewing platform will also be built closer to the open water at the edge of the restoration site.

“Just as we return to a remodeled home, wildlife will return to this newly restored area of the refuge,” said Dawn Uchiyama, deputy director for Environmental Services, the project lead for the City. “Habitat that is good for salmon is good for other wildlife. The refuge is a space where beaver will once again thrive.  And river otter, freshwater mussels, and migrating birds will claim as their own.”

“We invite Portlanders to stop and really notice the wild nature in our city,” said PP&R Interim Director Kia Selley. “Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge was established by the community. It used to be a landfill slated for development. But with Portland Audubon Society and other community partners, the City saved and restored the area as a beneficial and popular wildlife refuge in the heart of Portland. This is a new chapter in restoration, and one which will be beneficial for nature and people for generations.”

Sewage Advisory: Valve failure leads to sewage release to ground along NE Marine Drive, traffic not affected - 10/03/18

(this is not a combined sewer overflow [CSO] advisory)

(October 3, 2018) - A valve failure on a sewer line led to a sewage release along NE Marine Drive this morning. Neither the roadway nor a nearby bike path were affected. 

The release of an unknown volume occurred on the 4300 block of NE Marine Drive around 7 a.m. with sewage collecting in a field along the roadway. Crews stopped the flow around 9:15 a.m. and are on-site for cleanup. A certain amount is soaking into the ground and warning signs will be in place for about 72 hours. Environmental Services is investigating the cause and determining necessary repairs. 

The City of Portland treats an average of 70 million gallons of wastewater each day. Over one-third of Portland’s more than 2,500 miles of sewer pipes are over 80 years old. Pipes that fail or become blocked with grease, tree roots, and debris are common causes of sewage overflows.

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. http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes and @BESPortland.

Sewage Advisory: Grease in sewer pipes leads to overflow on SE Foster Road - 10/02/18

A sewer line clogged with grease led to a sewage overflow this morning on the 11600 block of SE Foster Road.

Crews directed the flow to two street planters on either side of the road where it was contained, preventing further discharge to the street or nearby Johnson Creek. The creek was NOT affected.

City crews cleaned up the release, which as estimated at about 1,000 gallons. The incident occurred s://4">around 8:30 a.m. and crews completed cleanup s://5">around 9:45 a.m. They posted warning signs around the street planters, also known as bioswales. The signs will remain in place for about 48 hours. 

Sewage overflows often are preventable. Pipes that become blocked with grease, tree roots, and debris are the most common cause of sewage overflows. Environmental Services advises the public to protect public health, property and our environment by following these tips:

* Place grease in a container and then in the trash, not down kitchen drains. Food establishments are required to take additional measures to prevent grease from entering sewer lines. 

* Avoid flushing rags or wipes or anything other than toilet paper and human waste.

* Outside the home, avoid pouring anything down storm drains, which are intended for rainfall only.  

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

Traffic Advisory: Emergency sewer construction closes one lane at N Alberta, affecting travel on the I-5 ramps for up to two months (Photo) - 09/26/18

The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services advises the traveling public that an emergency sewer construction project involves a lane closure at N Alberta Street at the on-and off-ramps to I-5 beginning this week and lasting for about two months.

Construction will occur during day and some night hours.  One lane will be maintained at all times. The traveling public is required to follow signage and directions of flaggers when present.

People using the I-5 ramps at N Alberta Street should expect delays during construction, share the road and travel with caution.

The work is part of the N Alberta-Missouri Emergency Sewer Project to replace a 66-foot section of pipe that is failing under the intersection of N Alberta Street and N Missouri Avenue. Replacing the sewer will allow for continued dependable sewer service and protect the public and our environment by reducing the possibility of sewage releases to homes, businesses and streets.

The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.