Help Keep Portland’s Storm Drains Clean

Fall is upon us and with it will be the return of rain, a blessing to the thirsty ground, but a potential hazard when storm drains become clogged, leading to ponding along city streets and intersections. 

Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has crews that work hard to keep the more than 58,000 storm drains in the area clear and is asking Portlanders to help them out. 

There is no formal process to “adopt” a storm drain, just find a drain and help to keep it free and clear of leaves. 

Safety should be the foremost concern to adopters when clearing drains. Make sure to use a rake, shovel or broom instead of your hands. Even with those tools, wear gloves as sharp objects may be mixed in with the leaves. 

Only clear drains that can be reached from the sidewalk and for extra safety, wear reflective clothing so people driving can see you.

Clear the surface debris only, never lifting storm drains as they are very heavy. If it appears the drain is still clogged after removing surface debris, call the PBOT Maintenance Dispatch line 24/7 at 503.823.1700 or report it online at

During dry days it may be easy to forget to how quickly the weather can change bringing precipitation, but dry days are a great time to clear drains. Include 10 feet on both approaches to the drain. 

Do your part to reduce debris by placing leaves in your green roll cart, using lawn bags for additional leaves that won’t fit instead of raking them into the street. 

Help Keep Portland’s Storm Drains Clean

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