West Lents Floodplain Restoration Project

Environmental Services is designing a project to restore about 16 acres in the Johnson Creek floodplain. The project will reconnect Johnson Creek to its historic floodplain, reduce flooding on private property, restore habitat for fish and wildlife, and improve water quality in the creek.
Construction is anticipated to take place in 2024.

Current efforts to restore Johnson Creek focus on returning it to a more natural state. This type of restoration provides a safe place for flood waters to spread out and soak into the ground. It also helps improve water quality and increases fish and wildlife habitat. Johnson Creek provides important habitat for coho and Chinook salmon, as well as steelhead and cutthroat trout. While these species still exist in Johnson Creek and its tributaries, their long-term survival depends on our ability to restore habitat and improve water quality.  

Project Area

The project will take place in natural areas along Johnson Creek, to the south of the Springwater Corridor Trail between SE 82nd Ave and SE 92nd Ave.

Map of the West Lents Project Area
West Lents Project Area

What's Happening Now

Project designers have reached the 30% design milestone. Currently, the proposed design will restore the creek to a more natural stream condition, reconnect the floodplain in the area so water from Johnson Creek has a place to spread out and soak into the ground, and restore local habitat by planting thousands of native plants and trees. Designers are still working on how to include trails and interpretive features on the project site. A pedestrian bridge is no longer being considered as part of this project. 

Site Visits, and Evaluation 

Throughout the project design process, various project team members will be in the area collecting information that will help them develop a successful project. You may see survey crews taking various measurements, utility locate crews marking underground utilities, community outreach staff talking to residents and businesses, biologists studying the natural systems in the area, and other field crews conducting site investigations.

What Will the Proposed Project Look Like?

Project designers have developed some initial concept designs.  The project is still being designed, so the specifics may change.  However, the images below provide a general sense of what the finished project may look like.

A graphic showing what the proposed restoration project will look like when complete.
A graphic showing the proposed West Lents Restoration project when complete
a graphic diagram showing what the proposed completed project will look like in side view (known as a "section" view)
Diagram showing what the proposed completed project will look like in side view (known as a "section" view)

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. The following resources will help you stay informed and report concerns:

  • Questions: Call 503-823-5759, stating that Springwater Wetlands and Floodplain Restoration Project is your area of concern. Outreach staff will return your call by the next business day.

  • Sewer Emergency: In the event of a sewer backup or basement flooding, call the Maintenance hotline immediately at 503-823-1700. It is staffed all hours and all days, 24/7.

Project Background

In the 1930’s, the Federal Works Progress Administration partially straightened and rock-lined the banks of Johnson Creek in this area to try to reduce flooding. Unfortunately, these changes to the creek increased downstream flooding by disconnecting the creek from its floodplain. It also made the creek warmer by removing trees along the banks, and reduced habitat for endangered salmon, steelhead and other wildlife. In some places, untreated rainwater runoff from buildings and roads goes directly into the creek.

Environmental Services and its partners have been working for 25 years to address these issues and restore Johnson Creek. The West Lents Project is a high priority for Environmental Services. It will help restore the floodplain, improve water quality, and provide habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife.

What are the project goals?

  • Enhance habitat for salmon, steelhead, and other wildlife.
  • Improve water quality in Johnson Creek.
  • Reduce how often nearby private property floods.

How will this be done?

  • Restore more natural meanders to the creek and remove rock lining from its banks.
  • Remove non-native plants and replace them with native plants.
  • Add space on public property where flood water can safely go.
  • Remove abandoned roadways.
  • Add footbridge and trail over Johnson Creek for pedestrians and people on bikes.

Sign Up for Project Updates

Sign up for regular email or text message updates for the West Lents Restoration 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.