Stormwater Projects

Stormwater is a significant source of pollutants to the Columbia River and its tributaries. We work with schools and communities to reconfigure schoolyards, parking lots, streets, and other impermeable surfaces to allow stormwater to infiltrate into the ground, rather than running directly into our streams and rivers.

Below are several stormwater projects we have completed throughout the years.

The Estuary Partnership is working alongside the City of Ilwaco and the Port of Ilwaco to enhance the water quality of Baker Bay. The project will add stormwater treatment facilities along Howerton Avenue and its adjacent parking lots. The project will also enhance pedestrian connections between the Port’s parking areas, businesses on Howerton Avenue, and the Discovery Trail. The result will be a visually appealing streetscape that is appealing to locals and welcoming to area visitors.  Construction on this project is expected to begin in 2024. 

Read more.

an Ilwaco streetscape with new trees and stormwater features
Grattix boxes in a row

Grattix boxes are a simple, innovative stormwater solution to reduce zinc and copper from roof runoff. Designed by the Port of Vancouver, the Grattix box is essentially an above-ground rain garden in a box. The Estuary Partnership is providing free Grattix boxes to businesses along the Columbia River from Scappoose, Oregon to Longview, Washington, to help them meet state requirements for stormwater discharge.

Read more.

ClackaCraft Drift Boats

ClackaCraft Drift Boats is located in a heavily developed area of Clackamas County. As a boat business, they wanted to make a change to help water quality for the nearby Clackamas River. In 2020, with the help of designer Juncus Studio and crews from Verde Builds, we completed a 480 square foot rain garden along ClackaCraft's parking lot.

Workers excavate area for a raingarden

This retrofit will infiltrate stormwater from their building and parking lot to reduce the polluted runoff entering the Clackamas. The project was possible thanks to funding from the Clackamas County RiverHealth Stewardship Program.

worker finishes planting grasses in a new raingarden

Sitton School

Sitton before

North Portland’s Sitton School had a lot of outside space, but they didn’t have a good place to teach their students about native plants, stormwater, and how it affects the nearby Willamette River. In 2019, we worked with the school and nonprofit Depave to remove around 3,000 square feet of asphalt from their schoolyard.

Depaving Sitton School

The area was later planted with native trees and other vegetation to provide shade, filter stormwater, and provide an area for students to learn about native habitats and green infrastructure on their school grounds.

Sitton after

The project was funded by the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services Community Watershed Stewardship Program. Other partners include Depave, Portland Public Schools, and the Sitton School community and PTA.


Boise-Eliot/Humboldt School

Boise-Eliot/Humboldt School in North Portland had a sizeable playground, but it also had a lot of asphalt and lacked large green spaces for active play. In 2018, the Estuary Partnership partnered with the school and Depave to remove 6,700 square feet of asphalt from their school grounds.

Depave at Boise-Eliot credit BES

The space was replanted with play-friendly grass, trees, and a small stormwater retention garden. Classes from Boise-Eliot also got a series of stormwater lessons.

“Many of our students naturally gravitate to the little tree and grass space that we currently have both for imaginative play and for reduced temperatures on hot days. Increasing this space will increase possibilities for students to play and for teachers to utilize the space for outdoor learning activities,” said Kaveh Pakseresht, Boise-Eliot/Humboldt School Principal.

Boise-Eliot tree planting

The project was funded by Evans Metal Fabricators through an Oregon DEQ Supplemental Environmental Project, Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, and East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District. Partners include Depave, Portland Parks and Recreation, and the Boise-Eliot/Humboldt School community.

Boise-Eliot Tree Planting


Vernon School

Vernon students on mulch

At Vernon School in Northeast Portland, students had limited green space on their largely paved playground. In 2016, we worked with the school community and nonprofit Depave to remove around 1,008 square feet of asphalt from the schoolyard. Kindergarten and 1st grade students later got to plant large trees in the depaved squares to add shade to the playground and create new habitat areas for birds and other species.


Vernon benches

The folks from Open Architecture PDX and Turner Construction helped design and build benches so teachers and students have a place to rest. In addition, 5th and 6th grade students got a series of lessons on stormwater and how their schoolyard is connected to the Columbia Slough from Estuary Partnership educators.

Vernon tree planting credit Portland Public Schools

This project was funded by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services. Partners include Depave, Portland Public Schools, Vernon School, Vernon School PTA, Open Architecture PDX, and Turner Construction.

Read more about the Estuary Partnership's other work: