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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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People Behind the Water: Sara Maier

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Senior Engineering Associate, Sara Maier


How long have you been at the Water Bureau? Four years.

Where do you live and how long is your commute? I live in Milwaukie.  My commute is a 10-mile bike ride.

What's for lunch today? Peanut butter, bacon, and lettuce sandwich.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpower to be? Teleporting.  I'd love to instantaneously be able to go any place at any time!

What motivates you to go to work each day? A hot shower, clean water for brushing my teeth, flushing toilets, and cold tap water for quenching my thirst after a long bike ride in.

For what advice or assistance do other employees turn to you? As a female in engineering, I often help out at job fairs and support the Education group in teaching kids about the water system.

What is the best part of your job? Research, problem-solving, and interacting with colleagues in all work groups.

-Sarah Bott

Fix a Leak Week

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Every Drop Counts

Did you know that an average household loses 22 gallons of water to leakage each day costing $103 in annual water and sewer charges? This daily leakage volume is roughly equal to the amount of drinking water a family of 3 needs for two full weeks!

In recognition of Fix a Leak Week, the Portland Water Bureau would like to remind you to check and fix your plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems for water wasting leaks.

Get started by visiting the Water Bureau’s web site for information on fixing basic toilet and faucet leaks.  If your fixture requires replacement, hire a professional to install a WaterSense-labeled model. WaterSense fixtures are 20 percent more water-efficient than average products and are independently tested for performance. Learn more about WaterSense here.

-Sabrina Litton

Bull Run Working Group Meeting

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 The public is invited to attend the Portland Water Bureau and Mt. Hood National Forest Bull Run working group meeting on Wednesday, April 6, 2011, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM in the Bull Run conference room on the 5th floor of the Portland Building at 1120 SW 5th Avenue in Portland.  


Under the terms of a 20-year agreement between the Portland Water Bureau and Mt. Hood National Forest, staff engaged in the management of the Bull Run watershed, Portland’s primary drinking water source, will meet semi-annually each year. The purpose of these meetings is to review work plans, budgets and staff assignments; and communicate accomplishments and issues addressed during the course of management activities. An annual report is presented at the spring meetings.

For more information about the 20-year stewardship agreement between the Portland Water Bureau and the Mt. Hood National Forest, please go to Cooperative Management or

For more information contact Terry Black at the Portland Water Bureau at (503) 823-1168 or Rick Acosta at the Mt. Hood National Forest at (503) 668-1791.

Water Bureau presents proposed design for new pump station in Willamette Park

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Open House set for Saturday, March 19

Water Bureau presents proposed design for new pump station in Willamette Park

The Portland Water Bureau unveiled the proposed design of its new drinking water pump station to be built in Willamette Park in Southwest Portland.  The concept is to let the building quietly express the context of the park while blending into the natural landscape.

Concept by Michael Willis Architects

The entire facility's architectural design and landscaping plans will be on display at an Open House on Saturday, March 19th, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Portland French School, 6318 SW Corbett Avenue. The public is invited to drop-in to view and comment on the design concept.


A nine-member citizen Project Advisory Committee (PAC) met with project architects and staff from Portland Parks & Recreation and Water Bureau to choose and refine design elements for the exterior of the facility. The PAC also advised on a landscaping plan that will complement the park.  In addition to the huge pumps needed to convey water up to many southwest neighborhoods, the building will house a new larger public restroom and park equipment storage area.


The public is invited to share their comments on the design with the Water Bureau by visiting:


For more information, contact Tim Hall, Water Bureau Public Outreach, at 503-823-6926 or

Responding to a Call about a Foggy Water Meter

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When water meter levels raise or drop dramatically, a red flag is raised at the Portland Water Bureau. There are a few reasons that this can happen, including a fogged meter. A fogged meter can be a result of a leak or too much condensation within the meter. When the problem is discovered a work order is issued, and the work is prioritized and dealt with within 48-hours.

 Water Bureau staff check on meter

Water Bureau crews begin work at 6:45 am each weekday. Utility workers load their trucks, pick up their list of 10-20 work orders, and set out for a day of maintenance.

After locating the water meter under a pile of mud, he retrieves his tools and starts digging until he reaches the meter box.  The wooden box is rotting and can no longer protect the meter from water, mud, and condensation. Mike checks the meter in order to determine whether or not it is still functioning. He discovers it is not, and the replacement process begins. 

After informing the residents that their water will be shut off for a few minutes he unscrews the fogged meter and pumps out any excess water in order to avoid future fogging.  The new meter is put in place and water is restored.  A new meter box is placed over the meter and the meter box cover is replaced.  Mike fills out some paperwork to detail the work and heads to his next job site.

-Abby Wynne