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West Lents Floodplain Restoration Project

Active
Environmental Services is designing a project to restore about 18 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.
Project design began in 2019 and will continue through 2024. Construction is expected to begin in early March 2025 and will be completed by mid-February 2026.
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Current project 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.  Johnson Creek also serves as a critical habitat corridor for a wide range of migrating and resident wildlife.

Project Area

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

West Lents Project Area Map, updated February 2023
The graphic above is a simplified map that displays floodplain improvements and proposed access for the West Lents Floodplain Restoration Project. Please note - this map is not up to scale. 

General Schedule

Project design began in 2019 and will continue through 2024. Construction is expected to begin in the Spring of 2025 and is expected to be completed by late-February 2026. 

What's Happening Now

Final project design is now set to completed by Summer of 2024. A construction schedule will be available after a City contractor is selected this year. 

Throughout June 2024

Construction at West Lents is anticipated to start in 2025. However, City contractors for the Springwater Wetlands and Floodplain Restoration Project will use West Lents as a barrow site and to stage additional equipment and materials.

Activities include storing, treating, and transporting natural and other reusable building materials to and from West Lents. These efforts will help erosion control and the future development of land banks at the Springwater site.

All work is weather-dependent and subject to change due to contractor and subcontractor availability. 

What Will the Proposed Project Look Like?

Project designers have developed some initial concept designs.  The project is still being designed throughout 2024, so 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 Floodplain 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 inside 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. We encourage you to:

  • Project Webpage: Please visit www.portland.gov/WestLents for current project details.
  • Questions: Call 503-823-5759 or email city staff stating that West Lents Floodplain Restoration Project is your area of concern. Outreach staff will return your call or email 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?

  • Create space on city property to safely absorb the impacts of flooding.
  • Remove rock armoring from the streambanks and restore Johnson Creek to a natural channel.
  • Add wood to the channel and floodplain to enhance habitat complexity.
  • Establish native plant communities and public viewpoints.
  • Remove abandoned roadways and underground infrastructure.

Sign Up for Project Updates

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

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This project will help protect the health of the Johnson Creek Watershed.

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