The Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) recently bestowed their coveted Julian Prize for Sustainability for Public Works on the Port of Portland for installing 35 acres of environmentally-friendly ‘porous’ asphalt at one of the Port’s auto-import facilities. While water runs off most asphalt, porous asphalt allows stormwater to leak through the surface and recharge the ground water in a more environmentally friendly way. The Port also installed a system of swales and natural vegetation to handle heavy rain.

‘The Julian prize showcases the role innovative public works can play in environmental stewardship,’ said Port Project Development Manager Alan Willis. ‘The Port’s project was one of the first on the West Coast to use porous asphalt, so we’re pleased that APWA recognized our leadership role.’

Porous asphalt looks like regular asphalt, but rainwater soaks through.

Contact Port for high-rez image.

The project was a model of environmental stewardship and smart business that balanced benefits to the community, the economy, and the environment. Benefits of incorporating porous asphalt include:

  • Provided 100% onsite stormwater management
  • Shortened design, construction and permitting process
  • Lower annual operating costs, maintenance costs, and reduced stormwater fees
  • Improved stormwater quality, with groundwater recharge
  • Reduced impact on ‘storm surge’ in adjacent waterways
  • In warm weather, allows stormwater to cool before entering the river.
  • $250,000 in cost savings from reduced permitting requirements and the fact that no stormwater system was necessary.

‘Based on this project’s success, we’re looking for ways to incorporate porous asphalt into future projects,’ Willis said. ‘We’re also fielding calls from other ports and private industry, who are interested in incorporating porous asphalt into their projects. The credibility and recognition brought by the APWA Julian prize will help spread the word even further.’

The Oregon APWA Chapter includes more than 650 professional engineers, technicians, public works directors, business people, contractors, consultants and others who join together to exchange ideas and information, promote education and training, and work as a team to meet professional and community needs. The Oregon Chapter awarded three Julian prizes this year.

Partners in the porous asphalt project included Century West Engineering, a leading NW consulting firm in sustainable design; GreenWorks, a Portland based landscape architecture firm with a sustainable design focus; and Cahill Associates, a nationally recognized stormwater management design firm.