Jamie Stamberger worked with City of Gresham staff, school teachers, principal and maintenance staff, the Parent Teacher Coalition, AmeriCorps volunteers, OSU 4-H, and students to install a rain garden in front of West Gresham Grade School.
Runoff from the school roof ran down the driveway to a storm drain in the street, causing icy conditions for buses in winter, and carrying pollution and erosive volumes of storm water to nearby Johnson Creek. High visibility along busy Powell Boulevard made it a great location for a demonstration project.
This project was funded by East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District and the City of Gresham Watershed Division.
Garden size and shape were designed to provide safe overflow during very heavy rains and enough ponding area to handle average local storms, while providing for student safety, aesthetic concerns and protecting the large historic big leaf maple onsite. City of Gresham Stormwater Operations staff excavated and added soil amendments to improve drainage and fertilize newly installed plants. The school district hired a local contractor to re-route roof drains under driveway and to the rain garden.
Parents, teachers and students helped plant the rain garden with native plants that are tolerant of both drought and standing water. Jamie worked with a subset of those volunteers, the Rain Garden Team, to help design the garden and plan for its long term maintenance.
The planting plan was designed, drawn up and implemented on site by AmeriCorps volunteer Ben Morelli. On planting day, Jamie taught students about storm water runoff and how it impacts on Johnson Creek while they worked on their rain garden to help reduce impacts from their school.
At one year old, plants are getting established, and soaking in spring rains. This rain garden captures, filters and infiltrates an estimated 96,000 gallons of roof runoff from the school each year, reducing pollution in nearby Johnson Creek, and reducing icy conditions for buses and students.