Groundbreaking is set to begin in early January 2018 on the ambitious Green Streets project in Argay Terrace. As reported previously here, the Department of Environmental Services is installing small gardens, or bioswales, which filter pollutants out of water runoff before it gets into the Columbia Slough. The project calls for 53 of these green streets to be installed along with 32 stormwater inlets.
“The green street planters are built next to sidewalks to clean and filter the stormwater before it enters the slough to protect water quality, reduce the risk of basement backups and help control stormwater runoff during heavy rain events,” says Debbie Caselton of Environmental Services in a press release. They will mostly consist of rushes and sedges—grassy, ornamental plants—as well as daffodils, camas and irises.
The Columbia Slough is one of Portland’s most polluted stretches, with 31 miles of affected water next to the Columbia River. It’s used as a drinking water reserve and is home to fish and wildlife, which carry pollution into other food chains. The combination of Portland’s heavy rainfall and its dense urban areas with high rates of inorganic pollution creates a dangerous cycle where the water washes whatever garbage and toxins are on the streets right into the slough.
The Green Streets project is a joint venture between Portland Environmental Services and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Money for the project came chiefly from legal settlements with 14 of Portland’s most polluting companies.
First up in the construction project, which is set to run through January 2019, is the relocation of water lines that conflict with the placement of the bioswales. This may include interruption of service for residents, though it remains unclear how many, if any, it will affect. Portland Environmental Services is working with the Portland Water Bureau on the water line move and plan to have all the water lines relocated by the end of February 2018.
“Residents will be notified if water service will be interrupted. This schedule may change due to a variety of reasons, including conditions underground, weather, subcontractor schedules and availability of materials,” says Caselton.
When construction begins in full on the Green Streets, minor traffic delays, construction crews (including flaggers) and other unusual traffic signage will be the norm until the project is complete. Shaver Street is the most affected by the construction, but the bioswales are also going in on 122nd, 125th, 133rd, 141st avenues and Prescott Street. Residents in Argay Terrace can look to Portland Environmental Services, not to mention the Mid-county Memo, for further updates and notifications regarding the project.
Information regarding the Argay Green Street Project can be found online at portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/649845.
Updates can be found at portlandoregon.gov/bes/74210.