On a cool rainy Friday last month, local business people gathered to clean up the bioswales on SE Ankeny St. They are part of the Green Street Steward Program: citizens who have partnered with the City to help maintain the small rain gardens and make sure the overflow drains are unobstructed.
Portland has been pro-active, utilizing the national Green Street trend that combines stormwater management with urban street design. The small gardens use plants and soil to capture stormwater runoff from the street, allowing it to soak into the ground while filtering out pollutants.
The City carefully selects plants (and soil) that work best for stormwater management.
“Green Streets help with the overflow that keeps the sewer out of the river, and the streets and basements from flooding,” Emily Hauth, from the City of Portland BES said. “but they offer communities other benefits by improving livability, pedestrian and bicycle safety as well as beautifying the neighborhood.”
Each bioswale is capable of absorbing 9 inches of ponding.
Laurie Morton an employee of Judy Boothby at Third Way Chiropractic, decided to help organize the people on Ankeny and joined the Green Street Steward Program two years ago.
Not only does everyone get out of the office and do a little gardening, but they become acquainted with other business owners on the street. They plan to gather every other month to work for a couple of hours.
“The steward project is really worth it,” Morton said. They’re performing a service that helps everyone while having a community gathering.” Ankeny stewards adopted 17 streets.
Arriving with tools, buckets, lawn debris bags and bright vests, Emily Hauth helps with the maintenance. “I try to make it to most of the cleanups but if I can’t the stewards have their own set of tools and equipment,” she said.
Currently there have been 141 Green Streets adopted by 59 people. This partnership with The City keeps these bioswales functioning properly.
To become involved you need to sign up to adopt a Green Street. The facility must be at least 2 years old and the plants established.
Attend a training workshop if you want more instruction or want to remove weeds from a Green Street facility. When you sign up to adopt a Green Street, the information includes which phase it is in.
For more information about Green Streets and sustainable stormwater management, contact Emily at 503.823.7378.