Every summer since 2016, the City of Springfield’s Stormwater Team has commissioned artists to paint murals at select City storm drains. This project, called UpStream Art, supports artists and beautifies the City while increasing awareness of the connection between City streets and local waterways. Our goal is to inspire community members to change their everyday behaviors in order to prevent pollutants from entering neighborhood storm drains.
Our stormwater system is an important part of Springfield’s infrastructure that prevents flooding. It’s largely out of sight and out of mind because it’s mostly underground, yet it links our yards to our rivers. When it rains the water washes over the City, collecting contaminants such as yard chemicals, vehicle fluids, animal waste, soaps from car washing, litter, yard debris, and more. These flow into storm drains and, unfiltered, out to the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers, where they can harm the waterways we all rely on and enjoy.
Springfield is located between two rivers and our earliest industries are founded on water. We need water to survive and it factors into local activities we can enjoy. UpStream Art provides opportunities to consider the water that surrounds us, the unseen water infrastructure that sustains us, and the good choices we’re already making that preserve Springfield’s health and our future.