UpStream Art

The City of Springfield provides the paints and supplies used by our artists during the 2-day art installation activity

The 2022 designs are now up!

On July 28-29, five new murals were added to our UpStream Art mural collection. Drop by any time to check them out, or join us to talk to Stormwater Staff about the project at Springfield’s Second Friday Art Walk from 5pm-7:30pm on Friday, August 12!

Held every summer since 2016, the UpStream Art mural collection now consists of 33 unique and colorful sidewalk murals, painted around storm drains at four locations across the City.

This year’s new murals are located in downtown Springfield on A Street, between Pioneer Parkway East and 5th Street. Custom designs by five Oregon artists were selected and each artist was compensated $1,000 for their work.

The project increases awareness of the connection between City streets and local waterways. Art was chosen for its ability to inspire all of us to do our part in preventing pollutants from entering neighborhood storm drain.

Meet the artists for 2022!

Congratulations to these five Oregon artists whose designs were selected for this year’s UpStream Art project! They were selected from a pool of 24 applicants for their art that shows a connection between humans and waterways through a storm drain.

View the Artist FAQ for 2022 >>>
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About UpStream Art

UpStream Art background

Held every summer since 2016, UpStream Art is a project hosted by the City of Springfield in which artists are commissioned to paint inspirational murals around storm drains and sidewalks. These colorful creations raise awareness of the connection between City streets and local waterways while supporting artists and beautifying the City.

The project consists of a Call to Artists in spring, a panel of judges selecting the winning designs, a two-day mural painting activity in summer, followed by tour opportunities. Tours include the Virtual Tour and Self-guided Tour Map published on this page.

The murals convey a simple-yet-important reminder: storm drains across the City create a direct connection from Springfield’s streets to the waterways. Some cities treat their stormwater before it reaches the rivers, but Springfield does not. That’s why it’s important that we and our neighbors make sure no contaminants, debris, or litter from around our homes and businesses wash into the drains.

Our goal for UpStream Art is to inspire community members to do their part in preventing pollutants from entering storm drains.

What is stormwater?

Outfall in Island Park where UpStream Art storm drains lead to. As Springfield has developed, more areas have become covered by buildings, asphalt, concrete, and more. Without realizing it, these structures disrupt an important part of the water cycle.

Normally rain filters into the ground and joins the water supply but when solid surfaces cover the ground the rain instead flows over roofs, driveways, and streets. There would be floods every time it rains, but Springfield has developed a dynamic stormwater system that collects rain and directs it into local rivers and streams. The stormwater system consists of gutters, storm drains, catch basins, channels (or ditches) along roadsides, swales, underground pipes, ponds, and more.

As rain flows over the City, it picks up pollutants from our solid surfaces and washes them into the stormwater system and out to our waterways where it can harm aquatic life and our water supplies – the McKenzie River to the north, and the Willamette River to the south. These rivers are vital to our way of life! Pollutants include everyday items like yard fertilizers or herbicides, oil from our cars, zinc from moss killers, little pieces of litter including cigarette butts, debris from pressure washing, and even soaps and grease from car washing.

These and other pollutants have a harmful effect on aquatic life and the health of our water supplies. It’s why we say, “Only rain down the storm drain!”

To learn more about how you can help prevent water pollution, read this Prevent Stormwater Pollution resource and check out our Clean Water at A Glance factsheets.

Table showing common pollution sources and solutions to each kind of pollution.

Contact Us

  • For general information, please contact the City of Springfield’s Stormwater Team at WaterResources@springfield-or.gov or 541.746.3694.
  • Artists interested in applying for the next UpStream Art mural painting project can either visit this webpage or the City of Springfield’s Facebook page in mid-April 2023, or can click the button below to sign up to receive emailed updates. A panel of judges selects our winners and those artists are paid for installing their paintings.
Click to join the UpStream Art Mailing List