Pringle Creek (Salem, Oregon) Green Streets Initiative

In 2006, the community of Pringle Creek, Oregon installed porous pavements on 100 percent of its streets, called its “Green Streets” iniative. The project combined a variety of green infrastructure techniques such as rain gardens and bioswales, with porous pavements to mitigate flooding of Pringle Creek streets during heavy precipitation events. The green infrastructure techniques used by the community are designed to return 90 percent of rainwater to the local aquifer, as opposed to flowing as runoff to community storm sewers. While Pringle Creek did not explicitly install the porous pavement with climate change in mind, the project provides a model for any community facing more intense precipitation as a climate impact.

The Pringle Creek community, located near Salem, OR, was designed and built to be an environmentally sustainable community. At the time of construction in 2006, Pringle Creek’s Green Streets initiative was the biggest porous asphalt application in the country. The purpose of the porous streets and other green infrastructure techniques (described below) were to return 90 percent of rainwater to the aquifer underground. The project additionally takes pollutants out of the water before it returns to the local stream or settles as groundwater, improving water quality. The project greatly reduces runoff to the storm sewers, which would otherwise become overloaded during heavy precipitation and potentially back up, flooding the streets and making them impassable.

While the streets themselves are 100 percent porous asphalt, the edges of streets are designed without curbs and with gravel strips that helps increase porosity of the area as a whole. Vegetated bioswales, or shallow sloping drainage courses, and rain gardens at each intersection contribute to the flood control. The effectiveness of the porous pavement was tested during a particularly heavy rainstorm in 2006; the traditional pavement outside the entrance to the community was flooded, while Pringle Creek itself had only a few puddles. The community paid to install the porous pavements paid by, and while the cost was higher than traditional pavement, the community also saved $250,000 in stormwater infrastructure it did not have to build. The project provides an example of how communities who are projected to experience increased precipitation as a result of climate change can reduce flooding impacts on roads and storm water systems.

 

This Adaptation Clearinghouse entry was prepared with support from the Federal Highway Administration. This entry was last updated on October 31, 2015.

 

Publication Date: 2006

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