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Multnomah Village streets to go green this spring

In village business district, city to construct swales, plant trees, widen sidewalks and rearrange parking


Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services is set to begin construction on the Multnomah Village Stormwater and Streetscape Project this month.

For about 90 days, BES will be building a series of "green street" facilities to capture stormwater runoff and protect water quality in the Fanno Creek watershed.

Green streets are landscaped streetside planters or swales that capture stormwater runoff and allow it to soak into the ground as soil and vegetation filter pollutants.

BES will also be widening sidewalks, planting trees and rearranging parking on both sides of Southwest Capitol Highway, changing the parking configuration.

According to the Portland Stormwater Management Manual, “Trees intercept precipitation and provide general stormwater management benefits: they hold water on the leaves and branches and allow it to evaporate, retaining flow and dissipating the energy runoff. ... Trees also facilitate stormwater infiltration and groundwater recharge.”

The project will take place on Southwest Capitol Highway between Southwest 35th and 36th avenues, making Multnomah Village one of many business districts in Portland to utilize green streetscapes.

“Capitol Highway is an important parking area for Multnomah Village and a major neighborhood thoroughfare,” wrote construction foreman Joe Annett in a statement on the BES website. “When it rains, stormwater runoff from this high-use area washes pollutants from the highway into nearby Vermont Creek. New street trees will absorb rain to reduce runoff and the green street facility will collect and treat stormwater to protect water quality and enhance the neighborhood.”

The city is required by federal law to manage stormwater runoff to protect water quality in rivers and streams, protect watershed health and protect groundwater as a drinking water resource.