The City of Silverton partnered with the Oregon Association
of Nurserymen (OAN) to create The Oregon Garden (TOG). In the
early 1990s the City failed to meet its National Pollution Discharge
Elimination System permit requirements for treated wastewater.
An Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Clean Water Act
survey of surface waters in Oregon listed the towns Silver
Creek on the 303(d)* list of water bodies not meeting water quality
standards for temperature and bacteria problems, caused partly
by the influx of City-treated wastewater. Silverton decided to
buy land where it could create wastewater wetlands to treat the
Meanwhile, OAN was looking for a site for its planned botanical
garden, and approached the City with the partnership idea. A
botanical garden needs water for irrigation, and the Citys
treated wastewater made a perfect fit. Although not regulated
as a treatment process, the wetlands were designed to lower temperature
and nutrient load. Water in the wetlands was designated Waters
of the State so that it could be used for irrigation in
our garden. This designation officially makes the wetlands non-fish
bearing, warm water refugia.
We finished and dedicated parts of The Garden between 1999
and 2001 following the official July 27, 1997, groundbreaking.
The City started pumping treated wastewater to us in May 2000.
We continue to grow and expand; in the summer of 2005 we opened
our most recent addition, the Lewis and Clark Garden.