I paid a visit to one my old haunts the other day, thanks to the internet. I learned that two blocks in the heart of the business district of Multnomah Village, in Portland, Oregon’s southwest side, is getting spruced up. In addition to the usual street furniture and wider sidewalks, Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services has called for streetside planters or swales to capture stormwater runoff and allow it to soak into the ground rather than pour into sewers; in the process, the vegetation filters pollutants that wash into a nearby creek from parking areas. It one of dozens of similar green water control measures that have been or will be installed in that city.
The Springfield Metro Sanitary District's plan to reduce stormwater overflows into local creeks is being approved by state regulators and will then be opened to public review. Green infrastructure (see “Going against the flow,” Aug. 11, 2011) is mentioned among the palliatives, but the priority will remain gray infrastructure, as in concrete -- bigger pipes, new pumps and expanded treatment plants.