Check out the 33 murals in our collection!
UpStream Art is a fun way to get out into Springfield while connecting with the arts and the environment. Click here to see the UpStream Art Virtual Tour. Five new outdoor murals were added in July 2022, bringing our total number of viewable murals to 33. The entire UpStream Art mural collection consists of colorful, water-themed sidewalk murals that are painted by Oregon artists around storm drains in four areas across the City.
Held every summer since 2016 and adding around 5 new murals every year, the UpStream Art project increases awareness of the connection between City streets and local waterways. In the spring, artists submit their design ideas through a Call To Artists and then a panel of judges chooses the winners. Artists are paid for their work. Art is chosen for its ability to inspire all of us to do our part in preventing pollutants from entering neighborhood storm drains.
UpStream Art murals are on only a handful of storm drains, yet the messages apply to every storm drain in all Springfield neighborhoods because they all empty directly into our rivers and streams.
The five new murals for the 2022 collection are located on sidewalks in downtown Springfield on A Street, between Pioneer Parkway East and 5th Street.
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?
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.
- 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.