RiverEast Center: A Sustainable Site

An example of a successful public-private partnership involving sustainable stormwater management is RiverEast Center in Portland, Oregon. The site includes numerous vegetated infiltration swales that filter and cleanse runoff from the parking lot, walkways, building roof, and adjacent public street. The swales were constructed at a gentle gradient to allow the water to readily soak into the soil, rather than be rapidly carried off to storm drains. Plantings, mulch, and stones cover all the unpaved surfaces; no high-maintenance turfgrass can be found on the property. The site also includes several recycled concrete slabs, set on edge, that serve as sculptural and functional elements. The office building is a renovated warehouse (with a new façade) that has achieved LEED gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

A vegetated infiltration swale is situated between a pedestrian walkway and the parking area. This walkway connects to a bicycle/pedestrian path along the Willamette River.

This infiltration swale is located between parking bays. A raised storm drain at the end of each swale takes in excess stormwater during heavy rain events.

Roof water from a building scupper is slowed by a gravel bed (edged with recycled concrete slabs) and is then directed through a slot in the taller slab to a vegetated infiltration bed on the left side of this photo.

During heavy rain storms, roof runoff that can’t entirely soak through the plant bed next to the building is conveyed through this walkway channel into an infiltration swale.

Stormwater from the adjoining public street is directed through several walkway channels into the adjacent infiltration swale on the RiverEast Center property.
Photos by Alice Webb


4 thoughts on “RiverEast Center: A Sustainable Site

    1. Thanks, Damian. The photography is my favorite part about blogging! Portland has some great examples of sustainable development, and I enjoyed seeing them firsthand.

  1. I have a keen interest in water sustainability measures that can be employed within the built environment. Your article and images are spot on, simple to understand and easy to integrate. Great stuff!

    1. Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the article. It’s always inspiring to visit sites with innovative designs, particularly those that are environmentally sustainable.

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