Downspout @ Epler Hall, Portland State University

Disconnected downspouts offer a visual connection to the process and function of our stormwater.  These features can be fun and innovative, enticing visitors to pause, ponder, and appreciate what’s really happening.

This particular downspout can be found at one of my favorite examples of stormwater courtyards – Epler Hall at PSU in downtown Portland, OR.  The courtyard is seamlessly tied into the architecture and functions of the building.  The granite pavers you see link the flow of the water from rooftop collection, across the courtyard (and physically under your feet), into the lushly vegetated raingardens.  The legibility – meaning the simplicity of the story told through design elements – is thoughtful and elegant.

Raingardens connected to downspouts via granite paver runnels crossing the courtyard.

To the right is a photo taken from a field trip with my landscape architecture grad class during our first summer in the program (2007 – seems like yesterday).  Speaking for myself (at the time), I was completely unaware of the potential that stormwater design lent to the world.  During my field trip to various stormwater collection sites around the Portland area, I fell in love with the concept and my passion for stormwater design and education was conceived.

I ended up writing my final thesis on the possibilities of ‘Re-Envisioning Urban Infrastructure’.  Never could I have imagined the FUN I would have in writing a 135 page document!  The purpose of this blog is for me to share some of my findings, theories, and ideas that I learned on my journeys.  I visited so many amazing sites, talked to some incredible people, generated some crazy designs… and now they’re all bound up in a pretty little book, sitting on my bookshelf amongst many other things I rarely crack open.  My hope is to generate a gleaming glimpse of interest and possibly spread the love for sustainable stormwater design solutions!


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