Downtown storm drains to be cleaned due to tear gas concerns

Multnomah County

Portland Environmental Services will clean 6 storm drains downtown

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services will be cleaning out several storm drains downtown following weeks of tear gas being deployed.

Environmental Services will be cleaning six storm drains around the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse and the Justice Center. This is an effort to prevent tear gas residue and other chemical pollutants from reaching the Willamette River. ES said it received multiple reports from the public of power washing that flushed contaminants into the street and to storm drains. 

“Our primary goal is pollution prevention,” said Matt Criblez, Environmental Services’ compliance manager. “We know that a certain amount of these chemicals have settled into the City’s storm drains. We are going to remove as much as possible to prevent that material from being flushed into the Willamette River.”

The crews will begin clearing the drains sometime this week, the department said. They will vacuum out the drain and send the sediment to a chemical landfill.

They are also working to get permission to clean a seventh drain, which is behind the fence to the courthouse.

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