Rain-Gathering Wall Adds to Portland Expo Center’s Green Appeal

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Portland, OR – A new water feature added to the Portland Expo Center (PEC) has increased the building’s green appeal while also chipping in to the Oregon city’s overall efforts to curb storm runoff.
The “storm water green wall,” located on the exterior of Hall E, opened for business this Fall. It immediately began putting Portland’s ample rains to work for the appreciative plants. Standing 30 feet tall and 60 feet long, the free-standing structure is made of steel and aluminum and is adorned with soil and vegetation native to Oregon, particularly the Columbia River Gorge, according to Mike Faha of GreenWorks.
No pumps are used to flow the water through its travel channels. “Ours is a simple and elegant approach,” said Amy Chomowicz, administrator of the Ecoroof Program at the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services, which oversaw the project. “The water flows by gravity from the roof through different channels.”
The project adds some rustic décor to the exhibit hall and helps keep the interior cool. It also puts a dent in the amount of runoff from the PEC’s 53-acre campus, and treats the excess water to remove contaminants before it enters the storm sewers and flows into the Columbia River.
“The key difference between a standard green wall and the Expo Center’s storm water green wall is that ours treats the storm water before it hits the final drains, which reduces the amount of runoff reaching our waterways,” said Matthew Rotchford, director of PEC.
City officials said the only other similar wall is located in London. The PEC’s wall will be monitored to see if it can be effectively replicated in other parts of town.
The Portland Expo Center includes five exhibit halls with a total of 333,000 square feet of prime exhibit space located near the Portland airport. It is ranked 41st on the Trade Show Executive World’s Top Convention Centers list.
Reach Matthew Rotchford, director, at (503) 736-5203 or mpr@expocenter.org