Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) crews work to keep city drains clear and prevent flooding. With over 58,000 drains in the city, we can’t get to them all. “Adopt” a storm drain near you and help keep them clear of debris. Tips on clearing drains and information about stormwater runoff.
Tips for clearing storm drains
- Use a rake, shovel, or broom. Don’t use your hands.
- Wear gloves. Be careful of sharp objects!
- Wear reflective clothing so people driving can see you. Watch out for traffic!
- Only clear drains you can reach from the sidewalk. Don’t stand in the street and don’t clear drains that are in the middle of a street.
- Clear drains before the rain, whenever possible.
- Clear 10 feet on both approaches to the drain.
- Watch for standing water to avoid slipping or stepping on sharp objects.
- Make sure adults are supervising if children are helping.
- Clear surface debris only. Call PBOT Maintenance Dispatch 24/7 at 503-823-1700 for any emergency hazards or if the drain is still clogged after removing surface debris.
- Never lift storm drain grates. They are very heavy.
- Don’t put leaves in the street. Place leaves in a yard debris roll cart for curbside pickup. If you have too many for the cart, simply bag them and place them next to the roll cart for pickup.
- If snow or ice is blocking the drain, clear a 10-12 inch path along the curb for melting snow and ice to reach the drain.
Thank you for helping keep Portland’s streets clear and safe!