Adopt a Storm Drain

Clearing a Storm DrainPortland’s storm drains help drain storm water quickly and efficiently and keep our streets safe. But when drains get clogged with fallen leaves and other debris, it can lead to ponding water in our streets and at our intersections. That makes it harder to drive, walk, bike and roll around town. Portland Bureau of Transportation crews work hard to keep the drains clear. But with over 58,000 drains in the city, they can’t get to all of them.

That’s why we’re asking Portlanders to adopt storm drains in their neighborhoods and help to keep them free and clear of leaves.

When clearing a storm drain, please keep these tips in mind:

  • If possible, clear the drain before it starts raining.
  • Clear about 10 feet on both sides of the drain.
  • Clear from the sidewalk, not the street. Wear reflective clothing so people driving can see you.
  • Always wear gloves and be careful of sharp objects!
  • Use a rake, shovel, or broom – not your hands.
  • Watch out for traffic. Don’t clear drains that are in the middle of a street.
  • Be careful of standing water to avoid slipping or stepping on sharp objects.
  • If children are helping, make sure adults are supervising.
  • Don’t try to lift storm drain grates. They are very heavy.
  • Let our crews handle garbage or any hazards in the catch basin. Clear surface debris only.
  • Don’t put leaves in the street! Place leaves in your 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.
  • Snow or ice blocking the drain? Clear a 10-12 inch path along the curb, for melting snow and ice to reach the drain.

If the drain is still clogged after you’ve removed the surface debris, please call our Maintenance Dispatchers at 503-823-1700 or email  to report it.

Thank you for helping keep Portland’s streets clear and safe!

Report a clogged storm drain or stormwater drainage problem in city streets:

Portland Bureau of Transportation
Phone: 503-823-5185
Fax: 503-823-7576
1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800
Portland, OR 97204

Find out more more information about what how and why PBOT works with stormwater and drainage.

By Portland Bureau of Transportation