Wetlands, Rain Gardens and PDX summit

Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking  Amy Chomowicz from Portland (PDX) onto the wetland green roof at the V&A museum.

Amy Chomowicz from PDX on the wetland roof V&A, London
Amy Chomowicz from PDX on the V&A wetland roof London

A rain garden on a roof

Rain water pours off the lead roofs either side and is held in the wetland. When the depth gets too high for the garden the water is slowly realised off the roof. Thus during heavy events the volumes and the rate of run off are significantly reduced. Therefore the green roof is in fact a rain garden.  And of course PDX is synonymous with rain gardens.

Late summer view of the V&A wetland roof
Late summer view of the V&A wetland roof

Portland (PDX)  Eco-roof Symposium

I have visited Portland several times and I will back early October to be part of the part of the Eco-roof symposium. Amy works for city as part of the storm water team. At the event will be a motley crew of other green roof friends including Linda and Aramis Velazquez of greenroofs.com.

I first visited the city in 2004 to speak at the second North American Green Roof Conference. That was in June. By then PDX is hot. However, when I visited in March 2009 I experienced the rain of the North West US. Boy does it rain. We might talk about cats and dogs here in the UK but up there in the NW it’s more like the whole US animal fauna dropping down on you.

Amy visited a few years ago, and we visited one of the first ‘vertical rain gardens’ in the world. The tolley street green wall was designed by my consultancy. At the time Amy was in the process of designing and commissioning a vertical rain garden wall in PDX. When I visit in October I am hoping I get to visit the wall.

PDX Charette leads to first biodiverse green roof

My visit in 2009 included a charette that included ideas for a lightweight Swiss-Uk style bioverse roof in the industrial North east of the city. I was really proud when I was emailed a few years ago about this and given some credit. The green roof also features in a video that Amy helped to produced.

Amy and I had a good hour to discuss green infrastructure and the forthcoming summit.

Such events are important. There is much publicity and claims of expertise out there, but for many of us who got involved 20 years ago there is always the need to meet share experiences and learn from one another.

The PDX event will one of those. And a few of us who will be there, like Linda and Aramis Velazquez will be off to Bogota two weeks later…but that’s for another post.

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