Authorize eight grant or intergovernmental agreements related to the Community Watershed Stewardship Program for a total amount up to $100,000


The City of Portland ordains:

Section 1. The Council finds:

  1. The Council implemented the Clean River Program on April 6, 1990. In 1995, the Bureau of Environmental Services developed the Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) to provide grant funds and technical assistance for community-led watershed projects. On March 8, 2006, the Council adopted the 2005 Portland Watershed Management Plan which describes actions for watershed health including community-led activities such as natural area revegetation, education, involvement, and stewardship. On May 2, 2012, Council adopted Resolution No. 36920, reaffirming the City’s commitment to watershed health.  Each CWSP grant includes goals in watershed health, community partnerships, and equity.
  2. The following grantees have been selected for FY23-24:
    • Black Men in Training (BMIT): Teaching Young Black Men to Provide, Maintain, and Protect through Environmental Knowledge Sharing and Modeling
    • Columbia Slough Watershed Council:  Parkrose Boat Launch Restoration Project;
    • Division Midway Alliance: Youth Conservation on Importance of Watershed in Cross-Cultural Setting;
    • Ethiopian and Eritrean Cultural and Resource Center (EECRC): EECRC Environmental Ambassadors Program;
    • Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership: Connecting Students with Science;
    • Portland Refugee Group: Refugee Sustainability Leadership;
    • Slavic Community Center of the Northwest: Slavic Community Center Planting Event; and
    • SOLVE: Outreach Partner-Driven Community Clean-Ups.
      Additional community projects will be awarded Native Plant Certificates for small native planting projects up to $500 each.  The program area total will not exceed $100,000.
  3. The established cost is $100,000.  Funds will be made available in the Sewer System Operating Fund, FY 2023-24 Budget, Bureau of Environmental Services, Cost Center ESDP000023, 529000, ($100,000).

NOW, THEREFORE, the Council directs:

  1. The Director of the Bureau of Environmental Services is authorized to execute grant agreements and intergovernmental agreements in substantially the same form as Exhibit A and Exhibit B attached herein for the purpose described in Section 1, in the total amount of $100,000.
  2. The Director of the Bureau of Environmental Services is authorized to amend agreements where substantial need is demonstrated by the grantee to change the timeline or amend the budget line items. 
  3. The Mayor and Auditor are hereby authorized to pay for the agreements from the Sewer System Operating Fund Budget when demand is presented and approved by the proper authority.

An ordinance when passed by the Council shall be signed by the Auditor. It shall be carefully filed and preserved in the custody of the Auditor (City Charter Chapter 2 Article 1 Section 2-122)

Passed by Council

Auditor of the City of Portland
Simone Rede

Impact Statement

Purpose of Proposed Legislation and Background Information

The purpose of this ordinance is to provide funding to community partners to implement small, on-the-ground restoration, education and leadership development projects. These projects will plant native vegetation, train underrepresented Portlanders in stewardship of natural areas,  clean up litter near waterways,  provide healing space, and educate community members of all ages about their natural world and watershed health. 

The Bureau of Environmental Services’ (BES) 10-year Strategic Plan (2018-2027) guides the bureau’s work and provides a structure for evaluating and improving service delivery for all Portlanders. Building strong community relationships is identified as one of the six goal areas for the bureau to pursue over the next decade. The plan includes strategic initiatives “to use expertise in equity to inform community relationships and communications” (COMM-4), and to “work with businesses, residents, educational institutions, nonprofits, and agencies to partner on projects and support private activities that complement our work”  (COMM-5).

This year’s Selection Committee included BES Community Engagement staff, Judy BlueHorse Skelton, Associate Professor, Portland State University Indigenous Nations Studies (INST), Bear Cunningham-Goodell (INST Student), and Cuetzpali Reyes (INST Student).

The committee continues to use three selection criteria: benefits to watershed health, community partnerships, and the degree to which the project serves and is led by underrepresented community members. Sixteen pre-applications were received this year by CWSP.  Half of the grant recipients are receiving CWSP funding for the first time including: Black Men in Training, Ethiopian Eritrean Cultural and Resource Center, Portland Refugee Support Group, and Slavic Community Center of the Northwest. 

Estimated grant awards are indicated below, but final awards may vary based on possible additional funds needed such as insurance coverage to meet City requirements.

Specific projects funded for 2023-2024 are:

  1. Black Men in Training (BMIT) ($12,000) will provide training that prepares older Black teens to  lead and share knowledge with younger youth. BMIT staff will accompany a culturally specific naturalist as youth learn about their natural world, and watershed health.
  2. Columbia Slough Watershed Council (CSWC) ($12,000) will work with community members to improve a boat launch restoration area to preserve riparian canopy, remove blackberry and ivy, plant native plants, and improve freshwater resources along Columbia Slough. This project includes youth workforce development with interns and paid Parkrose Highschool students to learn about environmental enhancement and build experience for future work. 
  3. Division Midway Alliance ($12,000) will build on an existing youth environmental leadership program to involve East Portland refugee youth in learning and sharing about watershed concepts in their culture and country of origin. Youth will visit to Leach Botanical Garden, create a mural, and perform a neighborhood clean-up day.
  4. Ethiopian and Eritrean Cultural and Resource Center (EECRC) ($11,995) will recruit and train ambassadors who can provide environmental knowledge to the community. Participants will include youth, mothers, and seniors with special focus on youth engagement and environmental responsibility.
  5. Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership ($11,950) will provide the Connecting Students with Science curriculum to elementary schools. In collaboration with schoolteachers, educators will deliver science lessons on local ecology and watersheds in classrooms followed by a field trip with hands on a natural area restoration project in Forest Park.
  6. Portland Refugee Support Group ($12,000) will educate refugee youth about their new environment, sharing tools for environmental responsibility. Workshops will be followed by walks in the Tryon Creek watershed and native planting at Leach Botanical Gardens. Youth will teach their communities what they learned.
  7. Slavic Community Center of the Northwest ($9,890) Will create a healing community gathering garden and plant viburnum, a native plant to Portland and a symbol of the resistance and courage of the Ukrainian people. Slavic participants will work with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council  to clean up a boat launch area on the slough and create a welcoming space for all.
  8. SOLVE ($11,491) will partner with Dignity Village on planning and implementing two  litter clean ups near the waterways of the Columbia Slough. SOLVE volunteers will work with Dignity Village members to build connections with people who reside in the area, plan, and communicate about the event.

Financial and Budgetary Impacts

  • Long-term financial impacts for the City: Long term financial impacts are not a consideration for these grants as the projects have a 12-month execution period.
  • Budget impacts: the budget for CWSP is included in the Sewer System Operating
    Fund Budget, FY 23-24 ESDP00023.
  • Change in expenses: This legislation authorizes spending on an existing project and include funds that have been budgeted for this intended use.
  • The level of confidence for these project estimates are high. Budgets for individual projects have been examined and approved by the Stewardship Grant selection committee.
  • Sources of funding are included in the Sewer System Operating Fund Budget, FY 2023-24, ESDP00023.
  • This legislation does not create, eliminate, or re-classify positions now or in the future.
  • Financial agreements: This legislation does result in a new or modified financial obligation or benefit, including IGAs, grants and contracts.

Community Impacts and Community Involvement

This legislation is in direct response to requests for engagement from the community. The community-identified benefits include improved watershed health, greener community spaces and natural areas, and education for underserved populations. The projects improve participation of underrepresented people in environmental activities. The projects authorized through this legislation are driven by community members with the assistance of a CWSP coordinator from the PSU Indigenous Nations Studies Program. The purpose of this authorization of funding is to provide financial support for community-designed and community-executed environmental endeavors.

  • Different communities of people are benefitting from this legislation. Specific populations served by these projects include Portlanders who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color, youth and adults, immigrants, refugees, and people who are experiencing houselessness. Many projects this year are working with students.
  • The geographic area served by these projects are within the City of Portland’s Urban Services Boundary.
  • Businesses, institutions, and interest-based organizations all benefit from this legislation. Several educational programs and institutions will also benefit from this legislation.
  • This legislation makes several improvements to City livability. Projects authorized by this legislation contributes to a prosperous, educated, healthy, and equitable Portland. Populations within the City who are currently underserved will benefit from this funding authorization by gaining conservation and restoration education and training.
  • Summarize significant objections/concerns: No objections received.

100% Renewable Goal

  • This action does not increase or decrease the City’s total energy use
  • This action does not increase or decrease the City’s renewable energy use

Budget Office Financial Impact Analysis

The funding for this program exists in the Sewer System Operating Fund within the Bureau of Environmental Services’ FY 2023-24 Requested Budget.

Document History

Item 381 Time Certain in May 17-18, 2023 Council Agenda

City Council

Passed to second reading

Passed to second reading May 24, 2023 at 9:30 a.m.

Item 416 Regular Agenda in May 24, 2023 Council Agenda

City Council


  • Commissioner Dan Ryan Yea
  • Commissioner Rene Gonzalez Yea
  • Commissioner Mingus Mapps Yea
  • Commissioner Carmen Rubio Yea
  • Mayor Ted Wheeler Yea


Requested Agenda Type


Date and Time Information

Requested Council Date