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Adopt a storm drain

Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) crews work to keep city drains clear and prevent flooding. With over 58,000 drains in the city, we can’t get to them all. “Adopt” a storm drain near you and help keep them clear of debris. Tips on clearing drains and information about stormwater runoff.

About storm drains

Portland’s storm drains, also known as catch basins, help with stormwater runoff and prevent flooding. When drains get clogged with fallen leaves and other debris, it leads to dangerous ponding along city streets and intersections. Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) crews work hard to keep more than 58,000 storm drains clear but with so many, we can’t to them all. Thank you to all Portlanders who have "adopted" storm drains in their neighborhoods and help us keep them free and clear.


Tips for clearing storm drains

  • Use a rake, shovel, or broom. Don't use your hands.
  • Wear gloves. Be careful of sharp objects!
  • Wear reflective clothing so people driving can see you. Watch out for traffic!
  • Only clear drains you can reach from the sidewalk. Don't stand in the street and don’t clear drains that are in the middle of a street.
  • Clear drains before the rain, whenever possible.
  • Clear 10 feet on both approaches to the drain.
  • Watch for standing water to avoid slipping or stepping on sharp objects.
  • Make sure adults are supervising if children are helping.
  • Clear surface debris only. Call PBOT Maintenance Dispatch 24/7 at 503-823-1700 for any emergency hazards or if the drain is still clogged after removing surface debris.
  • Never lift storm drain grates. They are very heavy.
  • Don’t put leaves in the street. Place leaves in a yard debris roll cart for curbside pickup. If you have too many for the cart, simply bag them and place them next to the roll cart for pickup.
  • If snow or ice is blocking the drain, clear a 10-12 inch path along the curb for melting snow and ice to reach the drain.

Thank you for helping keep Portland’s streets clear and safe!