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West Lents Floodplain Restoration Project

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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 construction access points for the West Lents Floodplain Restoration Project. Please note this map is not up to scale and currently does not reflect a third access entrance at SE 82nd Avenue, south of the Springwater Corridor Trail.

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. 

Please be aware that construction work may occur in phases, meaning the work zone may experience periods of inactivity. Other services like replanting work will be completed during the appropriate seasons.

What's Happening Now

Construction work at the West Lents restoration site will not begin until 2025. However, the City's contractors for the Springwater Wetlands and Floodplain Restoration Project will use West Lents as a barrow and ecological restoration site throughout Summer 2024. 

Crews will continue to import clean soil and other building materials between Springwater and West Lents. The public should expect high volumes of construction trucks and vehicles transporting dirt, subgrade, and other building materials to enhance Springwater wetlands. The City’s contractor has built wheel-washing systems at multiple work zones. Watering roads and gravel trails will minimize dust and help reduce chances of transporting invasive species and other pollutants. 

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

July - August 2024 

The City has issued an interim noise control rule allowing contractors to begin work at 6:00 a.m. on days when temperatures are predicted to exceed 85 degrees by 3:00 p.m. 

Daytime work hours are Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the following three access locations (updated):

  • SE 82nd Avenue, south of the Springwater Corridor Trail 
  • SE 83rd Avenue, along SE Lambert Street
  • SE 89th Avenue at SE Crystal Springs Blvd

This work will temporarily restrict some travel lanes, sidewalk crossings, remove on-street parking temporarily, and may create traffic delays at both Springwater and West Lents locations.

Parking Enforcement: Vehicles and other private belongings in the right-of-way (ROW) or blocking access to roads and construction gates may be subject to citing and towing. Thank you for your understanding and total cooperation. 

Please obey all traffic control signs and follow the directions of flaggers.

Extreme Weather

When high temperatures, extreme heat, near freezing temperatures, or extreme cold are in the weather forecast, crews may adjust schedules to protect workers from the dangers of heat stress and cold stress. When working in extreme weather environments, all City workers, contractors, and subcontractors must follow Oregon’s OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) mandates and Environmental Services’ Heat Illness Safety and Health Plan and its Cold Stress Safety and Health Plan. You may see crews taking more frequent water and rest breaks, stopping work at noon, and taking other protective measures during extreme weather.

Keeping You Informed

Transporting soil and building materials to and from a work site can create noise, vibration, and dust and can disrupt normal neighborhood activity. We want you to be safe around the work site. Please keep children, pets, bikes, cars, and trucks away from the tools, machines, supplies, and construction workers. A City inspector will be on-site during work hours and may be able to assist you with construction concerns. Inspectors typically wear a hard hat and safety vest with “City of Portland” on the back. 

To learn more about what to expect during construction, please review the brief guide on what community can expect during ongoing projects conducted by Environmental Services.

What Will the Proposed Project in 2025 Look Like?

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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