South Waterfront

In September 2008, Portland’s 35-acre South Waterfront became the first urban neighborhood to achieve Salmon-Safe certification, committing the neighborhood to sustaining its environmental leadership over time. This includes meeting Salmon-Safe stormwater requirements in the design of future buildings and the district-wide elimination of pesticides that are harmful to salmon and other aquatic life.

From a salmon’s perspective, the water flowing into the river from South Waterfront is as clean as if development had not occurred, a huge improvement from the area’s recent industrial past. Residents and visitors can readily see many of the features responsible for that change such as the extensive use of bioswales and other innovative stormwater management techniques that have been incorporated into landscaping.

In announcing the neighborhood's certification, Dennis Wilde, a principal at project partner Gerding-Edlen Development and South Waterfront resident, said "Recognizing the ecological sensitivity of this site and its direct connection to the Willamette River, Gerding-Edlen and all of our partners committed to building the nation's most sustainable neighborhood, particularly with respect to managing stormwater runoff."

Certification was awarded only after comprehensive on-site assessment by Salmon-Safe's independent team of environmental experts. We continue to work with the neighborhood to embed Salmon-Safe design and management standards in the homeowner agreements and other governing structures of the neighborhood as future blocks are developed.


The Willamette River is South Waterfront's front yard so the commitment of the developers to infiltrating stormwater on-site through practices like this rain garden directly benefit migrating salmon. Now homeowners, with Salmon-Safe certification embedded in their convenants, will ensure that this stewardship commitment will be carried forward through future development phases and in the day-to-day operation of the neighborhood.

Salmon-Safe © 2010


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