GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404
1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204
The Bull Run watershed is located around 26 miles east of downtown Portland.
Water is captured from rain, snow and mist...it rains 130 inches a year.
The lake was created 10,000 years ago by a landslide.
Fish populations are monitored by biologists from the U.S. Forest Service & the Portland Water Bureau.
Below Bull Run Lake, the flow goes subsurface before it bubbles up a quarter mile downhill.
Eight gauging stations measure flow, temperature, and turbidity levels in Bull Run streams.
The Portland Water Bureau & U.S. Forest Service collaborate in watershed protection.
One of the most picturesque waterfalls in the Bull Run watershed.
It is common to see deer, quail, and even bear when visiting the watershed.
Logs could otherwise damage water supply infrastructure.
Reservoirs are in drawdown when more water is going out than flowing in.
It's because they are both concrete gravity-arch dams. Dam 1 was constructed from 1925-1929.
It holds about 10 billion gallons of drinking water at peak.
50 years later, the City constructed a hydroelectric power generator.
Two towers draw water for drinking water, hydroelectric power, and to the lower Bull Run River for fish.
Both dam's powerhouses produce an average 84,700,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) per year.
Water enters the pipes that serve Portland's 900,000 customers.
The Portland Water Bureau restores fish habitat to comply with federal Endangered Species & Clean Water Acts.
Portland delivers the best water in the world.
The Bull Run watershed is the primary drinking water supply for the City of Portland and its 19 wholesale customers. Water from the Bull Run serves more than 900,000 residents in the Portland metropolitan region.
The protected Bull Run watershed is located 26 miles from downtown Portland in the Sandy River basin on the Mt. Hood National Forest.
The 102 square-mile protected Bull Run watershed collects water from rain and snowmelt that then flows to the Bull Run River and its tributaries. The river drains into two reservoirs, where more than 17 billion gallons are stored. The Portland Water Bureau treats the water before it enters into the three conduits that transport it to Portland. The water moves through the system by gravity, requiring no fossil fuel consumption to move water from its intake to the main storage reservoir at Powell Butte.
The entire watershed has been managed under increasing levels of protection since it was established as a Forest Reserve in 1892. In 2001 the protection boundary was extended by federal law, and both the watershed and the protected buffer lands are known as the Bull Run Management Unit (BRMU). No unauthorized public entry is allowed inside the BRMU and all land management activities are limited to only those necessary to protect water quality and operate the water supply and hydroelectric power facilities.
The majority of lands within the BRMU are under federal ownership (96%) and the rest are owned by the City of Portland. The BRMU is carefully managed to sustain and supply clean drinking water to a quarter of Oregon’s population.
Find out what is happening in the watershed right now.
Learn about Bull Run's wildlife, forests and climate.
Legislation, agreements and City Code protecting the Bull Run watershed.
Learn how to sign-up for a tour or plan a field trip to the Bull Run watershed.