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Portland, Oregon: Green Streets Program

City: Oregon
Country / US State / US Territory: Portland
Type of Solution: City Government Program, Streets
Climate Impact: Extreme Temperatures and Urban Heat Island Effect; Air Quality; Heavy Precipitation and Flooding
Social Value Created: Water Security and Quality; Diverse Transportation; Public Health and Safety; Active Living and Recreation; Community Engagement; Educational and Career Development Opportunities; Community Wellness and Quality of Life

The City of Portland, Oregon, created the Green Streets Program in 2003. The program seeks to improve stormwater management around city streets to reduce flooding, sewer backups, and combined sewer overflows during heavy precipitation events. Additionally, the strategies implemented help to address issues of air quality and extreme temperatures. The program also has a strong focus on social value creation through improvements in walkability and bikeability, creation of urban green space, public health, and job creation.

SE Spoke Street is an example of one street that was renovated. Safety was improved through the addition of bike lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, channelizer islands, and speed bumps. SW Texas Street utilized green infrastructure to improve stormwater management, building swales and restoration of an adjacent wetland area. Local residents led the effort to ensure that the project met their needs and contributed to their overall quality of life.

On NE Holman Street, a pocket park was constructed through a collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland Bureau of Transportation, and Portland Water Bureau. The park will help to control flooding and filter pollutants from runoff. Catchment areas were included in the park for drainage, and pedestrian and bicycle safety features were incorporated into the street design. Community members also engaged in the design process, resulting in more seating and an informational kiosk.

Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services engaged community members in the initiative through the creation of the Green Street Steward program. The program allows community members to volunteer to help clean the streets and maintain landscaping.

Fig: Bicycle (left) and pedestrian (right) safety features installed on SE Spoke Street (Photos retrieved from https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/302372)

Fig: Swales installed along SW Texas Street (Photo retrieved from https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/173493)

Fig: NE Holman Street Pocket Park (Photo retrieved from https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/408707)

Sources

The Adaptation Clearinghouse. (2007). Portland, Oregon Green Streets Program. Retrieved from http://www.adaptationclearinghouse.org/resources/portland-oregon-green-streets-program.html.

The City of Portland, Oregon. (n.d.). Holman Pocket Park and Green Street Bicycle Boulevard Project. Retrieved from https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/408707.

The City of Portland, Oregon. (n.d.). SE Spokane Green Street Bicycle Boulevard Project. Retrieved from https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/302372.

The City of Portland, Oregon. (n.d.). SW Texas Green Street Stormwater Improvements. Retrieved from https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/173493.