GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404
1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204
With the weather warming up, the Portland Water Bureau has begun turning the Bubblers back on. Portlanders can once again get a refreshing drink when they want.
The Portland Water Bureau has begun to turn off the city's Benson Bubbler drinking fountains due to forecasts for freezing temperatures and windy conditions, which could potentially cause safety hazards on sidewalks for pedestrians. Once temperatures warm up, the iconic Bubblers will be turned back on.
The Portland Water Bureau reminds the public that cold temperatures have the potential to cause freezing pipes that can damage private property. Here are several precautions to help avoid and minimize potential impacts:
While completing these preparations, it's also important to know the location of the house or building's main water shut‐off valve in case a pipe breaks inside. Most shut‐off valves are located in the following locations:
Main breaks, service leaks, and frozen water meters can also occur as a result of cold weather. If you observe running water in the street, believe you are not receiving water from your meter, or experience an urgent water problem, please contact the Portland Water Bureau's 24/7 Emergency Hotline at 503‐823‐4874.
This day marks the 50-year anniversary of what is known as the1964 Christmas flood, which caused significant damage throughout Oregon.
In Portland, the lower deck of the Steel Bridge was underwater and had also been hit by a log raft consisting of around 1,000 logs. The impact of the raft severely damaged the Hawthorne Bridge, closing it for a year. At 12 feet above flood stage, the flooding of the Willamette River at Portland in 1964 was second only to the 1948 flood that wiped out Vanport. At its peak, the water was at the top of downtown Portland's seawall.
The 1964 Christmas event caused significant damage to the water system infrastructure in the Bull Run Watershed. Conduit 2 was broken and conduit 4 was pulled apart at the joints. Only conduit 3 remained in service while repairs were made, but it provided enough water to avoid shortages. The United States Geological Service and the Water Bureau operate a stream gauge on the Bull Run River 2 miles downstream from Bull Run Reservoir 2 and the water system intake. The maximum flow at this station was 24,800 cubic feet per second on December 22, 1964. By comparison, the same gauge this past week averaged 715 cubic feet per second.
While the Christmas event impacted water operations, it was actually the heavy rains later in January 1965 that caused the worst damage to the water system. A significant landslide occurred at a site along the route of the conduits at the Portland General Electric power plant along the Bull Run River. The slide damaged the county road, and conduit 2 had to be taken out of service while emergency repairs were made. There was so much water spilling over Dam 2 that the plunge pool below was torn apart by the velocity and quantity of the water.
The US Army Corps of Engineers has established a multi-agency, flood campaign website. Watch for links to videos, debunked flood myths, economic impact information and more.
Clackamas County has produced an oral history video on the impacts to the residents in the Sandy River basin, in which the Bull Run Watershed is located.
Private home insurance companies are again conducting sales mailings offering water service line insurance in Portland. The Portland Water Bureau wants to remind our customers that such offers are not associated with the City of Portland, nor does the Portland Water Bureau have any connection with such companies, or any other such insurance carrier.
These private companies send letters to Portland residents offering a repair plan for the water service line extending from the resident’s house to the water distribution pipeline, which usually runs from the water meter in front of the house.
These letters state that the line extending from the house to the water meter is the homeowner’s responsibility. This means that if the pipeline experiences a crack or break, the resident is responsible for all associated costs.
While this is in fact true, some sales literature from such insurance companies has confused some residents, making them feel that they are required to have an insurance policy that is separate from their homeowner’s policy to cover any water utility line damage. This is not true.
Here are the facts that you need to know:
Before signing an annual insurance plan that protects your water service line, the Water Bureau urges caution. Some plans may be legitimate offers, but make sure to examine the fine print. For example, letters received by customers in 2012 noted, in small print, that the private companies’ insurance plan will not pay for residential plumbing services if the water line fails due to “acts of God,” frozen pipes, faulty construction or maintenance, or “normal wear and tear.”
If you are interested in water service line insurance, the Portland Water Bureau encourages you to consider the following information:
If you are ever suspicious of anything related to your water service, please call the Water Bureau Customer Service hotline at 503-823-7770.
The Walk-In Center, located on the first floor of the Portland Building at 1120 SW 5th Avenue, will reopen on Friday, December 26 and Friday, January 2 at 8 a.m., respectively.
For your convenience you may pay your bill online, or pay by Visa or MasterCard by calling our automated payment system at 503-823-7770 and pressing 1. You may also leave a payment in the night box located outside the front door at 1120 SW 5th Avenue Portland, OR 97204.
We apologize for any inconvenience.
With the temperature on the chilly side, thinking about water (the non-frozen variety) isn't high on the agenda for most people. But we always need drinking water — and clean drinking water at that.
In Portland we are blessed with an abundance of water that most of us take for granted. This is the season of thinking about what we will do in the new year to be and do better. How about reducing your water footprint? Here are a few suggestions:
The list goes on.
So think about what could work for you and make a commitment to do at least one thing this coming year.