Stephen Epler Hall at Portland State University 1136 SW Montgomery Street • Portland, Oregon


Atlas Landscape Architecture; kpff Consulting Engineers; Mithūn


Portland State University
Stephen Epler Hall
Stephen Epler Hall
Stephen Epler Hall
Stephen Epler Hall
Stephen Epler Hall
Stephen Epler Hall

Utility Goals

Reduce pollutant loads in rainwater
Reduce downstream damage from runoff
Safely move, control, contain rainwater
Capture rain for reuse (of all kinds, human and natural, from irrigation and toilet flushing to groundwater recharge)


The basic stormwater management concept at Stephen Epler Hall is capture, convey, cleanse, and either reuse for irrigation or toilet flushing, or detain and discharge.  Roof runoff falls via 4 downspouts into river pebble-filled splash boxes; scuppers at the base of each box spill water into runnels that safely convey runoff across the space into “biopaddies” (sunken flow-through filter planters).  Biofiltered water then flows from each biopaddy to a below-grade 10,000 gallon cistern, where bacteria are removed with ultraviolet radiation.  The filtered water is used for irrigation and toilet flushing. Large storms send excess runoff from each biopaddy to the next in sequence via runnels; water that exceeds the biopaddy and cistern capacity goes straight to the storm sewer.

Amenity Goals

Public Relations
Aesthetic Richness


The stormwater management system at Stephen Epler Hall presents a fun and engaging celebration of rainwater.  Because it’s so dispersed throughout the “bio-alley” site, the stormwater management system surrounds pedestrians—one simply can’t miss it.  When dry, the system is like a puzzle: its sequence and function beg to be deciphered (appropriate on a college campus); when wet, the system puts on such a stormwater show that students emerge from dorm rooms to watch.    

Awards & More Information


2003 / American Institute of Architects (AIA), Seattle Chapter
2005 / City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development, Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Awards, Award for Stormwater Management