Roadside Garden: bioswale projects to restore water cycle in Portland, Oregon

Streets and parking lots funnel rainwater directly to stormdrains, and those connect with our sewers. Streams that would’ve meandered overland and seeped into the earth are in underground pipes. During a heavy rain, the combined storm and sewer system sends untreated water into the Willamette River.

When construction crews remove curbside asphalt and create container gardens: that’s a bioswale. The soil and plants are natural water filters. By allowing stormwater to access the earth, taxpayers save money that would be spent on underground pipes and reduce the load at Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The City recently installed a number of bioswales. They help to improve the health of our water, and yes, a roadside garden looks great. Seeing the bioswales as I ride through Portland, I enjoyed the different designs and thought to post some photos.


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