Storm damage recovery

Irving Park Stormwater Project

Sewer and Stormwater
Environmental Services and Portland Parks & Recreation are collaborating on a project to build nature patches and rain gardens to manage stormwater in Irving Park. The project will help prevent nearby flooding, sewer basement backups, and sewage overflows into the Willamette River during storms.
Nature patch work was completed in February 2021. Construction of the rain gardens and green street planters is expected to be complete by the end of March 2024.
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This project will bring natural elements to Irving Park that will work to project public health and the environment but will also add beauty and foster wildlife habitat.

The nature patches and rain gardens will capture large volumes of rain that flow off the park’s hilly and compacted terrain. Capturing stormwater is especially important during heavy rains to reduce flooding and to help prevent the public sewer system from being filled to capacity, potentially backing up into basements or overflowing into rivers and streams.

As part of this project, two green street planters will be built on 7th Avenue just north and south of San Rafael Street. The green street planters will capture stormwater that collects and ponds in this area during storms.

Project Area

Below is a map that shows the general locations of the nature patches and rain gardens in Irving Park. As part of this project, two green street planters will be built on 7th Avenue just north and south of San Rafael Street where flooding is a reoccurring issue. 

Irving Park Rain Garden Locations Revised

What's Happening Now

The project is nearly complete.  Over the next few weeks crews will be completing remaining miscellaneous items and removing materials from the site. Remaining outstanding items include:

  • Concrete work around stormwater drains on NE 7th Avenue and San Rafael.  
  • Paving spaces around the green street planter on NE 7th Avenue and San Rafael and restoration of a nearby speedbump. 
  • Concrete work around the rain gardens near the Irving Park Tennis Courts.
  • Planting vegetation in the green street planters and rain gardens.  

Work will occur as weather and subcontractor availability allow. Work will be completed in phases and there may be periods of inactivity between each phase. 


Nature Patches

Portland Parks & Recreation completed nature patch work in February 2021. Click here to learn more about the nature patches and to sign up for future planting events in other locations. 

Rain Gardens and Green Street Planters

Environmental Services will build in Irving Park and green street planters on 7th Avenue and San Rafael Street.  The rain gardens will capture excessive stormwater downslope of the nature patch as well as from the basketball and tennis courts.  The green street planters will capture stormwater that collects and ponds at 7th Avenue and San Rafael during heavy rain.

Design Changes

Three rain gardens near the basketball courts removed from the project - two will remain.

Concerns have been raised that changing the use of the area around the basketball courts - from grassy areas to nature patches and rain gardens - will reduce the ability to hold large events and tournaments that have been important welcoming gathering spaces for decades. 

In response to this recent community feedback, we are changing the design near the basketball courts.  The new design will remove three rain gardens to retain lawn area immediately adjacent to the basketball courts but keep two rain gardens closest to Fremont Street. The design will retain space to gather around the basketball courts while managing stormwater that creates dangerous street flooding in Fremont Street.  

Rain gardens construction near the tennis courts continuing.

Concerns have also been raised that the rain gardens closest to the tennis courts remove open space for visitors to watch tennis, picnic, and play.  We know that using this space for stormwater management will reduce space for recreating in grassy areas, however, construction of rain gardens near the tennis courts is vital to preventing stormwater from entering the public sewer during heavy storms and reducing sewage backups into homes and buildings in the neighborhood. For this reason, rain garden construction next to the tennis courts is continuing. 

Irving Park Rain Garden Rendering

Percent (%) for Green

This project is partially funded by Environmental Services’ Percent (%) for Green Grants program which supports construction of green street planters, rain gardens, and nature patches in the City of Portland that manage stormwater, enhance livability, and provide other environmental benefits. To learn more, go to the About Percent for Green Grants program webpage. 

We Want to Hear from You

Environmental Services will inform residents and businesses about project activities and respond to questions and concerns in a timely manner. We encourage you to:

  • Visit this project webpage regularly for updates. 
  • With questions or comments, please contact Matt Gough by email or phone 503-823-5352.
  • If you have a question or concern, please be sure to include your name, property address, and project name (Irving Park) in your voicemail and email so we can provide you more details about what to expect in front of your property.
  • If your basement sewer backs up or your property or street floods, please report it immediately to the City’s Maintenance Operations hotline at 503-823-1700. It is staffed 24/7, all hours and all days.

Sign Up for Email Updates

Sign up for periodic email or text message updates for the Irving Park Stormwater Project through our free GovDelivery subscription service. These updates are the best way to stay informed about what’s happening and what to expect. You can also sign up for bulletins on other projects and topics.


This project will help protect the health of the Williamette River Watershed.