It seems every year when the irrigation system is activated, questions, comments and opinions circulate about how the Old Mill District irrigates the landscaping of this area.


This year more than most, water is at the forefront of everyone’s mind as it should be. The best way for us to discuss how we use water is to give a full overview of our system. The Old Mill District uses 100% river water for all our irrigation needs. Our goal is to maximize our water efficiency in the process of ensuring a healthy habitat for plants, people and animals. We feel that having gorgeous flowers, trees, shrubs and grass enhances our city and makes our concerts and events all the more enjoyable. This takes water to maintain and constant nurturing by a landscaping staff that swells in the summer to close to 30.


An important method of maximizing this efficiency is through our watering system. In 2006, a Rain Bird site control computerized irrigation system was installed.  This high-tech system employs more than 43 different irrigation clocks that communicate with one central computer.  This feature regulates the water and increases efficiency, while reducing overall water usage and environmental impact. When the system is first turned on spring, usually in April, water lines, sprinkler heads and other maintenance is necessary to get the system back to peak operation. Sometimes the water does spray on to walk ways and paths. We try to minimize this as much as possible, however undoubtedly there is some spillover to ensure the edges of the landscaping (which often get the most stressed in the heat by being close to a hot hard surface) are adequately watered. The time the watering occurs will also fluctuate during the season to take into consideration the temperature and usage. If you ever see a malfunctioning sprinkler or excess pool of water due to damage or vandalism, please let us know. Sometimes these things happen overnight and we want to know and correct the issue as soon as possible.

flowers in the old mill district


For over 80 years 14,000 lineal square feet of riverfront were off limits to the public. It took years of restoration to remove sawdust, create habitat islands and restore the riparian area to once again be a vibrant habitat for aquatic life and the animals that depend on its reaches. When the Old Mill District was first converted to a mixed-use district, there was an excess of large dirt lots that blew a great deal of dust. To combat this problem, Millsite Landscaping Services utilized a mixture of grass, seasonal color, native plants and hardy species to create a diverse array of landscapes. These include both walk-by plantings with smaller featured foliage and drive-by plantings with dazzling color.


One special treat is all the fields of wildflowers. Wildflower seeding takes place for six weeks in the springtime and disburses roughly 25 different varieties throughout the Old Mill District.  African daisies, rock flowers, perennials and experimental new varieties create a vibrant patchwork to be enjoyed all summer long by people and bees. The result? No dust and many beautiful flowers that can be enjoyed all season.


The Old Mill District & the Les Schwab Amphitheater have been ardent supporters of the Deschutes River Conservancy and the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council. To learn more about their work in our community follow these links. We are conscientiously striving to raise our standards and lessen our impact. It is essential that we as a community work together to manage our water resources to the best of our abilities for quality of life and future generations to come.


If you want to reach someone to learn more please contact: Old Mill District Management Office 541-312-0131