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Photo Credit: COURTESY OF GREENWORKS - The new vegetated wall at the Expo Center helps drain water collecting on the rooftop above. The latest addition to the Portland’s Expo Center’s Hall E is a 30-foot-tall and 60-foot-long green wall.


Green walls, lined with plants, typically are installed for temperature control and their aesthetic qualities, but this wall is unique in its ability to manage stormwater runoff before it hits the drain. Rainfall collecting on the roof above drains into a series of planters below, so it doesn't have to be drained into the city's sewer system and treatment plant.

The stormwater treatment provided by the wall will reduce the amount of runoff reaching local waterways, says Matthew Rotchford, Expo Center director, . He attributes the success of the project to support from both public and private agencies, including Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The vertical free-standing structure, made of steel and aluminum, is composed of soil and vegetation native to Oregon, particularly the Columbia River Gorge, according to design lead Mike Faha of GreenWorks. Its vertical composition allows the water to flow by gravity through the different channels of the wall, eliminating the need for pumps.

Rotchford and the rest of the project managers hope the innovative technology behind the construction of the wall will inspire and encourage architects and designers internationally.

Photo Credit: COURTESY GREENWORKS  - Native plants and soil help absorb rainfall, minimizing runoff to the sewage treatment plant. The Portland Expo Center will host an official unveiling of the wall on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 2:30 p.m. to celebrate its completion at their North Marine Drive location.

“This is a good example of the kind of work that has helped make Portland a national leader in innovative stormwater management,” says BES Director Dean Marriott about the project, which took nearly 2 years to complete.

Steve Law can reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Twitter: @SteveLawTrib

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