Rain Gardens Completed at Trinity Lutheran Church!

Volunteers and staff stand in front of a Trinity Lutheran Church in falling snow and rain gear.
Volunteers weren’t afraid to get cold in the snow while planting rain gardens that were actively collecting stormwater.

Written by Elizabeth Brosig

This spring the rain gardens at Trinity Lutheran Church were completed! At our annual Watershed Wide Event, a snowy Saturday morning in March, over thirty volunteers and staff from JCWC came together to plant native plants in four rain gardens and a planter in the parking lot. Soon after, contractors took advantage of the sunny weather to install curbs, a speed bump, and a trench drain. The speed bump and trench drain help to direct flow into the rain gardens that would otherwise flow past.  

All of this hard work is to help reduce stormwater entering the storm drains and improve water quality going into Johnson Creek. The storm drains in the Church parking lot drain to the City’s storm collection pipes, which drain directly into Johnson Creek. The rain gardens will capture stormwater from half of an acre of paved parking lot and allow the water to slowly infiltrate into the soil. Stormwater runoff collects a variety of pollutants, including oil, tire particles, and trash; by collecting the stormwater in rain gardens, these pollutants are filtered out of the water before entering our waterways. As it snowed everyone had a chance to see the rain gardens function first hand as stormwater flowed in from the parking lot pavement and slowly soaked into the soil.

A child holds a small shovel to plant native plants in a rain garden.
 Willamette Valley native plants were planted in the rain gardens to benefit pollinators and wildlife, as well as help absorb and treat stormwater. 
Stormwater flows from the parking lot pavement into a rain garden with standing water.
 Parking lots can be home to many pollutants, including oil from cars, which can enter waterways during storms. Rain gardens collect stormwater and filter pollutants out.

There are many locations in the Johnson Creek watershed where stormwater is collected in stormwater facilities and piped directly to Johnson Creek, bringing all of the pollutants picked up on the way. The Council is looking to continue installing rain gardens throughout the watershed to help reduce pollutants entering the creek. 

A huge thank you to our funders (City of Gresham, East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, and Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board), the Trinity Lutheran Church, and everyone that came out to help complete this project. And a special thank you for Flatline Construction for providing and installing the trench drain for free.

Contractors saw cutting pavement in a parking lot to install a trench drain, which will drain into a rain garden.
Flatline Construction installing the trench drain for free!
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