Summer Project will Complete Salmon Safe Parking Lot Improvements
Mt. Hood Community College, the Sandy River Watershed Council and other partners are preparing to complete planned parking lot improvements as part of the Salmon Safe initiative to enhance water quality and habitat on the College’s Gresham campus. Funded entirely by local and regional grants, the series of engineered rain gardens, swales, and stormwater filtering planters will clean and capture millions of gallons of rainfall from parking lots G and H, at the north edge of the campus entrance.
By cleansing the runoff before it enters Beaver and Kelly Creeks, which meet on campus,
this summer’s project is the next step in a long-term plan to reduce pollution carried by
rainfall from MHCC hardscape, including buildings, parking lots and walkways. Beaver
Creek is home to populations of wild salmon and other aquatic natives, and an area that
supports wild salmon recovery in the Sandy River basin.
“The Salmon Safe collaboration is helping MHCC serve as a learning laboratory for sustainable water management and water quality science.”
Construction on the parking lot retrofits began Aug. 5th and will finish the week of Sept.
17th. Project partners completed the first phase of parking lot improvements in lots E and
F during 2018, with landscaping occurring in the winter of 2019. The newly installed
green infrastructure, which use natural drainage to reduce unfiltered runoff into nearby
creeks, cover just 4 percent of the lots’ impervious area but each year will cleanse
almost all those lots’ stormwater, about 4 million gallons, and remove about 3,000
pounds of pollutants. The Salmon Safe parking lot improvements help MHCC fulfill a
commitment as the first Salmon-Safe certified community college in the country.
“By changing a small area of the parking lots in front of MHCC, the college is taking big
strides toward watershed health and salmon recovery in Beaver Creek and the Sandy
River,” said Steve Wise, executive director of the Sandy River Watershed Council. “The
Salmon Safe collaboration is helping MHCC serve as a learning laboratory for sustainable
water management and water quality science.”
Partners and Funders
MHCC’s partners on the project include the Sandy River Watershed Council, the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD), the City of Gresham, Metro, Salmon Safe, Depave, and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund (SMCF), a grant making organization of The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. More than $1 million in grants and in-kind contributions support the project and include funds from EMSWCD, Metro’s Nature in Neighborhoods capital grant program, the City of Gresham, SMCF, and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.