The City's surface water utility diverts rain water (storm water) runoff to minimize flooding and erosion. Storm water infrastructure includes inlets to collect storm water on streets, pipes, and urban streams to move the water through the community to be discharged into the Willamette River.

The challenge for the storm water utility is to balance the need for flood control with the desire to maintain urban streams for fish and wildlife habitat. The revenue to support these services comes almost exclusively from user fees charged on the monthly City utility bill.


  • 170 miles of storm water pipe
  • 14 miles of urban streams
  • 8,000 catch basins
  • 2,725 manholes
  • 20 storm water detention facilities
  • 14 storm water treatment facilities
  • 279 storm water outfalls

The Public Works Department performs a variety of maintenance activities to ensure the storm water utility operates at peak performance to minimize the impacts of storms on the community. Here are just a few:

Pipe inspection. A video camera is inserted into a storm line to assess the condition of the pipe. This is a key component of a proactive maintenance program because problems are identified early and maintenance can be scheduled before operation is disrupted.

Catch Basin Cleaning. Catch basins are storm inlets in the street used to direct the rain fall to the storm water collection system. Debris gets trapped in the catch basin sump and must be periodically removed to minimize urban stream pollution. Clogged basins have a reduced capacity which will eventually cause back-ups and street flooding.

Urban Stream Maintenance. Seasonal staff is hired in the summer to clear flow channels in urban streams, and to remove debris and garbage. Only minimal cleaning and clearing is done to maintain aesthetic values and the habitat of fish and wildlife.

Flood/High Water Response. Emergency response to flooding and/or high water conditions includes cleaning catch basins, cleaning storm line outfall structures, and removing obstructions in urban streams.

Consultations on Drainage Issues. In response to requests, staff will meet with citizens to offer advice about drainage issues on private property within the city limits. Typically, citizens making this request are anxious about the issue, so these calls get immediate attention, even though they may not be of an immediate nature.

Last updated: 9/10/2012 4:54:12 PM