Have you heard about Stormwater Stars?

garden plot with many different plants near a mailbox

Guest post by Stormwater Programs Specialist, Rachel Dvorsky

Stormwater Stars logo

Stormwater Stars are properties that have improved their landscaping to help manage rain in our city. By making improvements at many small sites we are creating a larger constellation of stars that together make a big impact.

Do you have an area of your yard that is damp or soggy that you do not know what to do with? Do you have a lawn space that you would like to replace with native plantings? Perhaps you have seen the Stormwater Stars signs at a past workshop location and are curious about who we are?

We help build skills and confidence for people to work on their own landscapes. Eligible projects improve watershed health, enhance habitat and reduce the need for harmful lawn and garden chemicals. The basic landscaping practices include lawn replacement, depaving, amending soil, porous pathways, contained planters and planting native plants. We host free hands-on installation workshops in the Fall and Spring to demonstrate these practices on residential properties, at businesses, or in community spaces. We also provide free site visits to homeowners and property representatives to help provide guidance for landscape improvements for watershed health.

people planting plants in soil

So how does this all work?

Sign-ups for our free workshops happen through the website. At the workshops we spend a little time introducing what we will be doing that day, and the bulk of the time is spent with our gloves on making the improvements to the site. Every workshop is different and throughout the season we do our best to provide opportunities to learn a variety of different landscaping practices on different size projects.

Where are our workshops located?

Our workshops are open to everyone located within the West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District service area. Most of our projects have been in SW Portland and we have since expanded the area that we serve and are now actively looking to hold more workshops in NW Multnomah County!

Will you come look at my yard?

Site visits are a great way to talk through your specific challenges and goals. We will walk the space and address any questions or concerns you might have, and afterwards we will send you a summary of what we discussed. We do our best to provide you with the resources you need to reach your goals for your yard.

What if I want to host a workshop?

If you are interested in hosting a workshop, we will come look at spaces in your yard that might be a good fit and what practices could be demonstrated. Our workshop areas are typically about 600 square feet in area, but can vary depending on what the site needs. Workshop projects must be visible to the public, typically in front or side yards. Together we will decide if your space would be a good location to bring in volunteers where we can create and learn together. If your site is selected for a workshop we will work together to make a plan. Each site varies in terms of what is needed, and we provide assistance with design, plant selection, compost and native plants.

Interested in learning more?

Please contact the Stormwater Programs Specialist Rachel Dvorsky with questions or to set up a site visit at hello@stormwaterstars.org. You can also find more information about our program, practices, and past projects on our website at www.stormwaterstars.org

We look forward to seeing you at a future workshop!

Stormwater Stars is a program delivered by Neighbors West Northwest and the Westside Watershed Resource Center, in partnership with and funded by generous contributions from West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District and City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.

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