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Columbia Slough Watershed Council

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Cully Rain Gardens

Catching rain water to improve water quality

Rain gardenRain gardens help improve water quality in our waterways by catching stormwater to drain slowly through the garden instead of sweeping debris over impervious surfaces like concrete directly into streams. This program, created by Nestor Campos of Verde, supports rain garden installations on low-income residential properties in the Cully Neighborhood of Northeast Portland.

The Cully Rain Garden program is a partnership between Verde, Columbia Slough Watershed Council, Multnomah Youth Cooperative, and Habitat for Humanity Portland Metro/East:

People planning a rain garden on a computer

  • Verde provides educational workshops with interested homeowners on rain garden design and theory, plant selection, and provides technical expertise on the project.
  • Habitat for Humanity identifies eligible homeowners and completes initial outreach.
  • Columbia Slough Watershed Council supports the project through logistics, administration, and project coordination, along with field support during construction.
  • Multnomah Youth Cooperative (MYC) connects the program to students interested in learning about environmental workforce skills, training, and construction trades. The students also help maintain the rain gardens in the first year by removing weeds, replacing native plants that died, and adding mulch and rock to reduce erosion and weeds.

Posed picture next to rain gardenIn 2017-18, the Council and its partners installed six rain gardens with funding from the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services, Community Watershed Stewardship Program and a 319 water quality grant through the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

In 2018-19, the partners plan to install nine rain gardens in the Cully community through funding secured by Verde.