Help keep storm drains clear this fall to prevent urban flooding

We’ve entered the perfect storm, if you will, when the rain and leaves are falling causing flooding in some areas due to blocked storm drains. To help prevent urban flooding, the City of Portland is encouraging people to adopt a storm drain, since their crews can’t keep all 58,000 storm drains. It’s not just Portland that faces these issues, all of the cities in the area face this problem each year. First, when you’re raking your leaves, don’t put them in the street, leaves and other organic material belong in your yard debris bin. If you’ve got a lot, use lawn bags for the excess and place them next to your cart for pickup. 

When clearing storm drains, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use a rake, shovel, or broom, not your hands.
  • Wear gloves. Be careful of sharp objects!
  • Watch out for traffic and wear reflective clothing so people driving can see you. 
  • Clear drains before the rain, whenever possible.
  • Clear 10 feet on both approaches to the drain.
  • 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.

If you’ve got leaves in your side or backyards, it’s also good to Leave the Leaves! Leaves on the ground provide habitats for small creatures throughout the winter, eventually breaking down adding nutrients to your yard.