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Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.


1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

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Proposed Budget Retains Low Income Support and Benson Bubblers

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Proposed Budget Retains Low Income Support and Benson Bubblers, Keeps Water Rates Below a Dollar a Day for Most Customers

The Water Bureau submitted its budget request to the Office of Management and Finance late Monday.

While Commissioner Leonard was pleased with the work our Budget Advisory Committee did to keep our rate as low as we can in spite of the increasing costs required to meet the demands of LT2, our ESA commitments and maintaining and repairing our basic infrastructure, he simply was not willing to endorse a proposed cut to the bureau’s Low Income support program during this time of high unemployment and economic hardship that many of our most vulnerable customers face. In addition, he was very uncomfortable with a proposal to cut the operation of the bureau’s iconic Benson Bubblers by a third.

Accordingly, he directed the bureau to remove those proposed cuts and submit a budget that results in the 13.9% increase we were contemplating before we proposed the cuts to LINC and the bubblers. That would mean that the typical monthly residential customer’s water bill will increase $3.43 instead of $3.18, the retail volume rate will increase $.38 per ccf instead of $.35 per ccf, and the base charge (the fixed charge on the bill, which for most customers is a quarterly charge) will increase $1.15 per month instead of $1.07. The typical monthly bill for a low income resident would increase just $1.53 instead of the $7.61 proposed.

An average family of four can buy enough water for its indoor needs – 61 gallons per person per day for washing, drinking, cooking and flushing–for $25 per month, which is a VERY small portion of a family budget. After the increase it will be approximately $28 per month. That’s still less than a dollar a day for all your household water.

The bureau’s requested budget is located here:

David Shaff, Administrator
Portland Water Bureau

Water House

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Living room view of Portland Water House

Water House Welcomes Visitors!

The Portland Water House, a sustainable demonstration house in East Portland, was viewed by over 750 curious community members at the January opening. Visitors were interested in learning about the many water conservation and green building features. Some people wanted to know more about the eco-friendly mechanicals, and others were more inspired by the beautiful esthetics.

The Water House (located at 1616 NE 140th, just north of Halsey) will continue to be showcased for the next year, below is an initial calendar of events through April:

February 2011

Friday, Feb 11th 11am – 2pm, Community Open House

Sunday, February 27th 1pm – 3 pm, Community Open House

Monday, February 28th 7-8pm, Aging-In-Place (Growing Older and Not Having to Move Out)

with the Regional Green Building Hotline

March 2011

Friday, March 11th 11am – 2pm, Community Open House

Sunday March 13th 1-5pm, Naturscaping workshop by EMSWCD

Sunday March 27th 1pm - 4pm, Community Open House

TBD – Dusting Off Your Bike (PBOT)

April 2011

TBD - Gray water builder’s workshop

TBD - Gray water residential homeowners

Friday, April 8th, 11am - 2pm, Community Open House

Sunday, April 9th 10-11:30am, Water Wise workshop with OSU extension office

Weds, April 13th 7:00pm - 8:00pm - Green Home Remodel Basics

with the Regional Green Building Hotline

Saturday, April 16th 10am to Noon, Northwest Renovation magazine presents

"All You Need to Know About Reclaimed Flooring" with McGee Salvage

Sunday, April 17th 1pm – 4 pm, Community Open House

Saturday, April 23rd 9am – 1pm, DIY Toilet Installation Workshop

The Portland Water House will be the first WaterSense certified home in Oregon, a new E.P.A. certification program for homes that use water at least 20% more efficiently than a standard new home. Certified Earth Advantage® Platinum, Energy Star ®, the Water House will also be measured for efficiency with an Energy Performance score through the Energy Trust of Oregon - like a mile-per-gallon carbon rating for the home.

The demonstration house will have scheduled events throughout the yearlong showcase, please check the project web page for the most current schedule. Take a virtual tour online: 

If you have a group who would like a tour, please call 503-823-3520 or email

Darcy Cronin

Facilities Services Specialist

Benson Bubbler Limeric Contest!

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Limeric Contest!

This is too good not to turn it into a contest.

All limericks will be subject to a vote on our Facebook page (!/portlandwater). Winner will receive one of our famous glass water pitchers - fill and refill with Portland's finest Bull Run! Submit your limerick by Monday, February 14th on the Facebook page.

Photo captured by Cesar Lara, Senior Public Works Inspector for the Portland Water Bureau.

-Sarah Bott

Report Problems with Your Water, 24 Hours a Day

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Report Problems with Your Water, 24 Hours a Day

Has your water suddenly turned brown? Is a hydrant leaking? Has a pipe broken at your property? Is there water leaking in the street? Do you want to report a water emergency (main break?) or have the Portland Water Bureau shut off your water due to a serious property side leak?


Call (503) 823-4874 to report the location of the problem. This phone is answered 24-hours a day. On some occasions you may be asked to leave a message so an operator can return your call when the operator is responding to other calls.


-Sarah Bott

A View from the Headworks

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A View from the Headworks


Headworks is the Portland Water Bureau's facility at the "head" of the water source where water is first diverted, treated, and routed into the distribution system. At Headworks in Bull Run, operators treat the water with chlorine, a disinfectant. As the water flows into town, operators add ammonia and sodium hydroxide to the water. The ammonia prolongs the effectiveness of the chlorine, a process called chloramination.

A fence around the diversion pool, a settling basin which diverts water to the conduits, prevents direct animal contact with water there.


-Sarah Bott