With major storms threatening our region, stormwater management is a topic on everyone’s mind. Rain gardens, bioswales, and other stormwater facilities become highly active players in the infrastructure of a city during a major weather event like the one we are experiencing in the Pacific Northwest. The City of Albany is highly committed to managing their stormwater and has been working with GreenWorks to improve their stormwater management since 2009.
GreenWorks was hired by the City of Albany to assist them in developing stormwater quality development standards. The first phase was a thorough review of the city’s municipal and development codes and engineering standards. GreenWorks recommended updates to address water quality and stream protection goals and regulations. The team facilitated workshops and a field facility tour for city staff to determine the types of stormwater quality facilities and related design standards to adopt. We developed facility sizing requirements and prepared engineering standards, specifications and standard drawings. Key goals included the development of stormwater quality standards with a focus on vegetated facilities that can integrate into existing site landscaping and City ROW, that are straight-forward to design and review for compliance, and offer flexibility to the development community. GreenWorks used highly illustrative standards to show how various options of vegetated facilities could be sized and located. The resulting Stormwater Quality Program and Standards (including codes, standards, specifications, and drawings) was adapted by the Albany City Council in 2014.
Stormwater facilities were designed and completed in 2015. Robust in size, these facilities were built to manage a major stormwater event. GreenWorks continues to provide implementation assistance to city staff on an on-call basis to review drawings and answer questions, and in some instances provide stormwater facility design support.
A female mallard duck was recently photographed enjoying the Wall’s lush vegetation. Since opening in 2014, the Stormwater Green Wall has flourished. After a winter that broke rainfall records in the Portland Metro area, the ferns, star jasmine, sedge, and other plants are thriving. The Stormwater Green Wall was designed in partnership with the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) as a pilot project. The Wall manages and treats 9,400 square feet of roof stormwater runoff, and it continues to be monitored to better understand its performance and relevance to future projects. The Stormwater Green Wall was constructed as a freestanding custom metal structure with a gravity water distribution system that feeds stormwater to a series of vegetated channels that filter pollutants and absorb stormwater. We are delighted to learn that besides processing stormwater, it provides urban wildlife habitat too!
At GreenWorks, we strongly believe that sustainable designs can also be beautiful. This idea is wonderfully demonstrated in the recently published book Artful Rainwater Design: Creative Ways to Manage Stormwater byStuart Echols and Eliza Pennypacker. According to the book’s description, “this beautifully illustrated, comprehensive guide explains how to design creative, yet practical, landscapes that treat on-site stormwater management as an opportunity to enhance site design.”
GreenWorks’ Washougal Town Square is featured as a case study in this “must-have resource for landscape architects, urban designers, civil engineers, and architects who won’t let stormwater regulations cramp their style, and who understand that for a design to truly be sustainable, people must appreciate and love it.” Other GreenWorks projects such as Headwaters at Tryon Creek and RiverEast Center are also included in the book.
We hear this a lot in reference to the art feature of the Clay Street Green Street project in Portland’s Central Eastside Industrial District (CEID). The Log Dog sculptures incorporated into the Clay Street swales reference and celebrate the district’s industrial past. In the 19th Century, the lumber industry used the Willamette River as a conduit for transporting logs to the lumber mills established along the banks of the river. Logs were tied together into rafts and piloted down the Willamette in massive convoys. These log rafts where chained together by cable that ran through attachments known as log dogs. The historic log dogs were like thick needles, driven into the floating logs before a cable was pulled through the eye and cinched to bundle them together, creating a raft.
GreenWorks designed the streetscape for a 12-block section of SE Clay Street. Working with KPFF and artist, Linda M. Wysong, the green street provides a pedestrian friendly corridor from the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood to the Eastbank Esplanade, strengthening connectivity and improving the pedestrian realm. The green street honors the industrial district’s history through the art installations and interpretive elements.
GreenWorks has contributed to the redevelopment of Portland’s Central Eastside Industrial District (CEID) over the last decade through improvements to the Clay Street Right of Way / RiverEast pedestrian plaza and most recently with Clay Street Green Street. The completed project provides sustainable environmental benefits, including vegetated stormwater management, pedestrian and bicycle passage, and strategies that maintain freight movement and business activities throughout the CEID.
The project’s artist describes the inspiration on the Clay Street Log Dog:
“The Wetlands were filled, the mill erected and a city built. The land is transformed as the water continues to flow. It may seep into the earth or be hidden by stone and concrete, but it continues to connect, sustain and give form to our lives. Honor and protect the river.”
Linda M. Wysong, artist
GreenWorks hosted a Water Resources Committee Meeting for the Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) on April 9th. For this event, Mike Faha and Shawn Kummer presented The Portland EXPO Stormwater Wall project that was designed by GreenWorks and constructed last fall 2014. Click on the link provided below for additional information about the project.
Pringle Creek Community is one of Oregon’s most low-impact residential developments, and as the first sustainable housing and mixed-use project spanning 32 acres of a total 250 scheduled for development, Pringle Creek is pioneering green initiatives in southeast Salem.
Pringle Creek is, according to the Community’s general manager Jane Poznar, “a diamond for sustainability” with its 7,000 feet of green streets, 2,000 feet of green alleys, and a newly ‘salmon safe’ creek (from which the community gets its name). Regarding stormwater, Buranen notes that Pringle Creek Community is also home to “one of the largest pervious asphalt street systems in the United States,” handling 90% of runoff onsite.
GreenWorks was responsible for collaboration on the design of the Community’s green streets and rain gardens, pedestrian pathways and greenway enhancement, woonerfs and public recreational spaces, overall landscape treatment and the Village Green open space.
The project was awarded the Land Development of the Year Award in 2007 from the National Home Builder’s Association.
Check out this article by Sustainable Business Oregon editor Andy Giegerich announcing upcoming updates to the Portland Trail Blazers’ Moda Center exterior, a project headed by GreenWorks!
We have been working with the Trail Blazers Senior Director of Sustainability, Justin Zeulner, to both beautify the Center’s landscaping with native and drought-resistant plants and replenish the grounds with healthier soils and stormwater facilities, which will “reduce the [site’s] landscaping water use by 20-30%” among other progressive initiatives. This work represents what Justin noted as “the first phase of sustainable projects around the arena,” and will further the Trail Blazers’ efforts for sustainability in keeping with their ideals.
Located in the Lloyd Center District, Portland’s first EcoDistrict, the Moda Center earned LEED Gold status in 2010 because of measures that reduced greenhouse gas emissions, energy usage, non-organic and non-local food sourcing, and landfill use, but they’re not stopping there. As Justin suggests, “Every little bit helps.”
The new landscaping designs will become a reality after demolitions in the spring. Click here for more information on the Blazers’ conservation efforts.
Construction has begun on the SE Clay Street Green Street project! The Green Street spans from SE 2nd Avenue to SE 12th Avenue in Portland’s Central East-Side Industrial District. When completed, it will better connect pedestrians and bicyclists from east-side neighborhoods with the RiverEast Center Plaza (also a GreenWorks project) all the way to Portland’s popular Eastbank Esplanade. The redone renovated? revitalized? street will include storm water curb extensions, storm water planters with railroad rail check dams, and installations from local artist Linda Wysong. Custom seating will be incorporated into the storm water planter walls along the sidewalk edge, giving the corridor a more inviting, pedestrian-oriented feel.
From the beginning, this project posed planning challenges to all parties involved. Integrating stormwater management as well as pedestrian, bicycling and car travel with the project’s industrial freight access requirements resulted in unique designs for storm water curb extensions that respond to the larger turning radii required by some trucks that use the industrial district.
If you’d like to learn more about the SE Clay St Green Street project, click here!
Our 2nd Street project in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego has come to an end, and we wanted to show a few photos of the finished product. With the slight narrowing of the curb to curb width of the street, the City transformed the street into a beautiful modern streetscape within the core of the downtown business district. Widened sidewalks, street lights, benches, driveways, street trees, and unique stormwater planters were all delicately knitted together by the design team to deliver a streetscape project that will benefit the surrounding business community while protecting the urban watershed.
This project included a number of significant design elements such as:
Lined stormwater planters and curb extensions that will manage approximately 1,000,000 gallons of urban runoff while protecting adjacent commercial basements
Structural soil tree wells that extend under sidewalk to provide and additional 10 cubic yards of additional root space per tree.
Efficient inlet design to ensure stormwater capture on a steep street
Unique low fencing around facilities patterned after fencing at City’s Millennium Park Plaza
Construction is complete on a new trail connecting the Springwater Trail through Gresham Main City Park to downtown Gresham. The approximately 1000 foot long multi-use trail improves pedestrian and bicycle connections through the park on an attractive, ADA accessible 15 foot wide promenade. The trail promenade is a key design element of the Main City Park Master Plan which GreenWorks developed with the City in 2008. The trail also features a distinctive gateway structure and plaza at the south end at the connection to the Springwater trail as well as rain gardens that treat stormwater run-off.
Funding sponsors on the project included Metro, Oregon Parks and Recreation, Urban Trails Funding and Parks System Development Fees. The design team on the project was comprised of GreenWorks as the prime, KPFF Consulting Engineers (civil engineering), Kittelson & Associates, Inc. (lighting and electrical engineering), and Pacific Geotechnical, Inc.
For more information about the project click here.
Construction has been completed on the City of Wilsonville South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) Operations Fleet Facility. The project includes a 12,600 square foot Fleet and Administration Building located on an approximately 4.5 acre site. Site improvements include employee and bus parking, fleet maintenance, and administrative services, and is located on SW Boberg Road adjacent to the Wilsonville Westside Express Service (WES) Station.
Design services provided by GreenWorks, include Conceptual Site Design and Grading Coordination, type ‘C’ Tree Preservation and Removal Plans, and Final Construction Documentation. The design team developed a budget sensitive sustainable plan that embraces the natural characteristics of the site, and architectural design features. Habitat and buffering improvements integrated adjacent to the Significant Resource Overlay Zone (SROZ), provide a transition and embraced the landscape strategy of incorporating native and drought tolerant plants, in combination with a temporary irrigation system. Stormwater is managed through on site conveyance in channels and basins, and is celebrated through roof rainwater capture and outfall at architectural scuppers along the building entrance.
GreenWorks is working with the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services to design a Green Wall at the Expo Center that will also manage roof stormwater runoff. Because of this added function, we have taken to calling this project a Stormwater Wall. A design workshop was just recently held on April 16th with our project partners at Metro and the Expo Center along with participants from BES and GreenWorks. There was a lot of good conversation, information and design ideas generated during the work session from which to move forward with into the design phase of the project. The Storm Water Wall project will serve as a prototype for BES from which they can monitor and learn from for future green wall projects. It will also provide an exciting and attractive new green sustainable feature to the the Expo Center.
This birdseye view of Oregon City’s Jughandle Project at Highway 213 shows the scale and context of this significant infrastructure project, which is currently under construction. GreenWorks prepared this graphic to illustrate our role in helping design a new landscape gateway into downtown Oregon City, a new roundabout with planting medians, green streets with stormwater facilities, street trees, bicycle lanes and a 6+ acre floodplain mitigation site.
Construction of a swale at Hosford Middle School began during the school’s winter break. It was designed by GreenWorks, PC and constructed by DeSantis Landscapes for the LowerColumbia Estuary Partnership’s stormwater and schools efforts. The design includes a curved concrete wall and other features that reduce the maintenance efforts needed by Portland Public Schools. The swale infiltrates runoff from approximately 4,600 square feet of the school’s roof and reduces the amount of runoff to the combined sewer system. The rerouted downspout creates a runoff powered water feature by directing water through a series of basalt columns before spilling into the swale. The project provides schoolyard learning opportunities for students, beautifies the school grounds, and supports local and regional efforts to improve the health of our rivers through onsite stormwater management. Students and Estuary Partnership educators will plant several hundred native plants in the swale in the next few weeks. Project partners include Hosford Middle School, the Estuary Partnership and Portland Public Schools. We would like to thank the City of Portland, East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, and New Seasons Market for their generous support.
A few GreenWorks employees recently visited the Lane Community College Health and Wellness Facility at Lane Community College in Eugene to see how the completed project is progressing. The facility functions as the northwestern gateway to the main campus integrating the new facility and existing campus. Clear circulation and a sense of arrival accentuate the overall design, which incorporates stormwater treatment solutions. Exterior spaces are active and engaging areas that translate health and wellness to the landscape.
Following a successful rapid bridge construction that required a multiday road closure, ODOT officials announced the reopening of Highway Oregon 213 in Oregon City at the I-205 interchange on Monday night, ahead of schedule. The “Jughandle Project” will relieve traffic backups and improve safety at the busiest signalized intersection in the state by eliminating left turns, adding a new alignment for Washington Street, and replacing a 130 foot-long section of the 6-lane bridge.
Click here to view a brief time lapse video of the rapid bridge construction – amazing stuff!
GreenWorks developed a planting and irrigation design as part of the project, including a rehabilitated gateway landscape into Oregon City, new green streets designed to accept and treat stormwater, and a 7+ acre mitigation site planted with thousands of native trees and shrubs. Click here to view the plans and drawings.
The school community at Beverly Cleary School in NE Portland recently completed construction on a bioswale as part of an overall landscape plan entitled the “Learning Landscape Project.” The project was inspired to develop a system that improved the school’s impact on urban stormwater. The bioswale works to mitigate the impact of polluted stormwater by collecting and filtering the water before it drains in to sewers, rivers, or streams.
GreenWorks’ Michelle Mathis led the design effort of this project working with the Beverly Cleary School community. The Beverly Cleary K-8 School is a two-campus school; Kindergarten and first grade students are housed at the Hollyrood campus, and the second through eighth grade students are housed at the Fernwood campus. They built and planted a swale at the Fernwood School in the spring of 2006, but the downspouts were never disconnected to feed into the swale.
For more information and a video on the downspout visit:
As a Landscape Architect at GreenWorks, I get the chance to work on projects for many local public schools. I am often amazed at how much Portland area students know about rainwater. To some of them the terms rain garden, infiltration, and combined sewer are household words. A few years ago, in a 5th grade class, I lead a discussion on the effects of urban development on stormwater and how increased impervious surfaces speed up and pollute our water . I was barraged with questions about why we continue to let this happen and why someone is not doing more about it. It seems the work of local designers, environmentalists and agencies was not enough for them. It’s refreshing to see this type of concern and curiosity in young people. It inspires me to continue to work with schools.
The school community at Beverly Cleary School in NE Portland was inspired to develop a project that improved their schools effects on urban stormwater. It took some determination. They built and planted a swale at their school in the spring of 2006, but the downspouts were never disconnected to feed into the swale.
Fernwood students install and plant a swale in 2006
Recently, a dedicated parent with the support of the school community fostered the project through to completion. GreenWorks donated design and consulting services for the swale and most recently for design of the downspout disconnects. In addition to the downspout design, GreenWorks collaborated with students to measure the soil’s infiltration rate, and helped with contractor coordination during construction. The highlight of the project is the pouring downspout bucket. See it in action below. This living science lab is now open for exploration and learning by the school’s students!
Don Huld from Portland Public Schools and dedicated parent Lynn Raube enjoy the rain and the new downspout disconnect
Michelle Mathis is a Landscape Architect at GreenWorks with 8 years of experience. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture, and has a Master’s in Education from Portland State University.
The Watershed Management Group (WMG) out of Tucson, AZ has been promoting the installation of green street facilities in the SW region for rainwater harvesting. In August of 2010, WMG put together a comprehensive document called Green Infrastructure for Southwestern Neighborhoods that describes and illustrates the benefits and installation techniques for green street projects. Recently they produced a video showing the real world application of their green street designs. WMG describes the video as…
This short (5 minute) video explains the benefits of using green infrastructure and how WMG advocates and implements these practices through educational workshops.
Kudos to WMG for implementing these projects and teaching neighbors about the benefits of green street facilities.