PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – It’s been months since Portland experienced serious rain, but the dry streak will come to an end Friday and the Portland Bureau of Transportation is reminding residents to clear their storm drains in advance. 

When rain soaks Portland, leaves and other debris in the street get flushed to the nearest storm drain. Those leaves pile on top of one another, blocking the drain and sometimes resulting in street flooding – even though that’s what these storm drains, or catch basins, are meant to prevent.

All this can be avoided if people take proactive measures and remember to check the drains often as the rain continues. 

“PBOT crews work hard to keep more than 58,000 storm drains clear but with so many, we can’t get to them all. That’s why we’re asking Portlanders to adopt storm drains in their neighborhoods to keep them free and clear of leaves,” PBOT wrote in a news blog. 

The bureau is asking residents to adopt their neighborhood storm drain. 

This means residents should remove leaves from the street before it rains or remove leaves or debris that cover a drain after it rains. 

PBOT said people should use a rake, shovel or broom to do this, not their hands. They should wear gloves and wear reflective clothing when they’re in the street so drivers can see them. 

They suggest only clearing drains that can be reached from the sidewalk and to clear 10 feet on all sides approaching the drain. 

If children want to help clear drains, they should be supervised by an adult. 

People should watch out for standing water to avoid slipping or stepping on sharp objects. 

If anyone detects emergency hazards, or finds a drain that is still clogged after removing surface debris, they should call PBOT Maintenance Dispatch at (503) 823-1700. The line is operated 24/7. Reports can also be made online at www.pdxreporter.org

PBOT reminds the public to never lift storm drain grates because they are very heavy and to never put leaves in the street. Leaves should be placed in green yard debris bins for curbside pickup.