Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

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

More Contact Info

Subscribe to RSS feed

Most Recent

View More

UPDATE: Traffic signals return to service on

0 Comments | Add a Comment

At 3:00 pm today, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) returned to operation the traffic signals on SW Naito Parkway at the intersection of SW Harrison Street.  The PBOT crew temporarily relocated the signals’ electrical conduit overhead, out of the path of the Portland Water Bureau’s new water supply pipeline, now under construction.


All of the signal lights’ functions will operate on a time-cycle (or recall). The sensors that identify a vehicle in the LEFT turn lanes are disabled. Motorists will have to wait until the signal goes through a full cycle before the light changes.  The pedestrian “Cross” buttons are also temporarily turned off. The signal will automatically allow pedestrians to crossing during the signal cycle. Both of these temporary measures may cause some traffic delays.

The PBOT crew will return to the site on Friday, February 24, 2012, to place the electrical conduit back underground once the large sections of water supply pipeline at this location are installed.

The traveling public should follow signs, use caution in work zones and consider alternate routes to avoid delays.

For more information, contact Tim Hall, Public Outreach, 503-823-6926 or 503-381-0056

Vintage Bull Run

1 Comment | Add a Comment

The Bull Run logo developed for the marketing campaign, used on bottled water, posters, and t-shirts.The Bull Run logo developed for the marketing campaign, used on bottled water, posters, and t-shirts.  A customer recently found a vintage “Bull Run Portland’s Sparkling Water” poster at an estate sale, and asked us about its history via Facebook. They guessed correctly that it dates to the 1980s, specifically the Mayor Ivancie Era.


Since this history is already documented in the second edition of Water: Portland’s Precious Heritage, we’ll just share an excerpt from the book, pages 150-51:


Marketing Bull Run

     The ten years under Frank Ivancie’s direction were momentous ones for the Water Bureau. Ivancie’s leadership also produced a couple of less significant, though still noteworthy, events. In his term as mayor, Ivancie’s agenda focused on economic development and he wanted to use Portland’s superior water as part of a strategy to market Portland as a business location.


     Bottled water was just coming into vogue in the early 1980s, primarily sparkling water along the European model. (The ubiquity of bottled still water, which does not have to meet the same water quality standards as municipal supplies, and produces tons of disposable plastic containers, was a later development.) Ivancie directed the Water Bureau to bottle Bull Run water, hoping it would create a niche in the designer water market. Privately, bureau staff groused about the project, as it added cost, diverted staff from other work, and perhaps most importantly did not really provide Bull Run quality water. The water came from Bull Run, true enough, but in bottling it and carbonating it, the chemistry changed, and it just wasn’t as good.


     Undeterred, Ivancie used “Bull Run in a bottle” as the centerpiece of a Portland marketing campaign that extended to the 1984 New Orleans World’s Fair. The theme of the fair was “The World of Rivers – Fresh Water as a Source of Life.” Ivancie had Bull Run posters printed, and he commissioned a mobile sculpture that featured flowing water in something of a Rube Goldberg creation to be the drawing point of Portland exhibit at the fair. The Southern Pacific 4449 “Freedom Train” made the trip from Portland to New Orleans, promoting Portland and Bull Run water at every stop. Ivancie sent three employees to staff the World’s Fair booth for three days, but it produced no leads for economic development. In the meantime, Ivancie had been upset in his re-election bid by tavern owner and political newcomer J.E. “Bud” Clark. Ivancie’s defeat, and principal completion of the decade-long changes to the Water Bureau’s physical and financial infrastructure, ushered in a new era.

Frank Ivancie pours a glass of bottled Bull Run water, photo credit The Oregonian  Frank Ivancie pours a glass of bottled Bull Run water, photo credit The Oregonian

Frank Ivancie pours a glass of bottled Bull Run water, photo credit The Oregonian.

Thanks for the Facebook comment that spurred this post!

Darcy Cronin

Community Involvement & Information


Don't miss the last Fix-It Fair of the 2011-2012 Season!

0 Comments | Add a Comment

Learn simple ways to save money and be healthy at home at the Feb 25 Fix-It Fair.

The City of Portland’s 25th annual Fix-It Fair season is in full swing. Don’t miss the last fair this February 25th at Jefferson High School (5210 N Kerby Ave 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Click here for map and directions )

While you are there, don’t forget to visit the Portland Water Bureau’s table where our staff can advise you on ways to save water and lower your bill. Or take our class “Saving Water makes Cents” at noon to learn about how to identify and fix leaks.


What you'll find at a Fix-It Fair

PWB Staff at a fix it fair

Ongoing exhibits and hourly workshops on topics such as:pwb astaff at fix it fair

PWB Staff at fix-it fair

  • Water and energy savings
  • Safe and healthy home
  • Food and nutrition
  • Neighborhood and community resources
  • Recycling
  • Weatherizing your home
  • Gardening and growing your own food
  • Yard care and composting
  • Transportation


  • Free lead blood testing
  • Free giveaways
  • Hourly door prizes
  • Free professional childcare
  • Free lunch
  • Free minor bike tune-ups and flat tire repair for students and families 

See you there!

Download the brochure including workshop schedule for the upcoming Fix-It Fair.


Portland Water Bureau customers can get water efficiency information and free conservation devices at any time by calling (503) 823-4527, or ordering online at

What would we do without our groundwater supply?

4 Comments | Add a Comment

We all appreciate the purity and abundance of our treasured Bull Run water. For over 100 years, the Water Bureau has worked diligently to protect the watershed and maintain the high water quality customers expect and deserve. However, Mother Nature always has the last word.

Winter landslide in Bull Run watershed, note the staff person for scale.

In January, there was a large landslide on the South Fork of the Bull Run River between the two storage reservoirs in the watershed. The silt and mud from the slide that washed into Reservoir 2 caused elevated levels of turbidity, or suspended solids, and the Bull Run water supply had to be shut down. Our groundwater system was once again called upon to provide high quality water to customers, as the  Bull Run supply is not filtered. The groundwater system allows the Water Bureau to maintain Bull Run as an unfiltered system.

The recent rain storms have again aggravated the slide and the Water Bureau has started to blend groundwater with Bull Run to lower turbidity levels.   

While we commonly sing the praises of Bull Run water, the real unsung hero is groundwater. Without our groundwater system, we would be in a similar boat to Vancouver BC. In fall of 2006, a large storm hit the Pacific Northwest. Over 2 million Vancouver residents had to boil their water, some for as long as 12 days, because of turbidity in their water source. They were not lucky enough to have a secondary water source like we do. During this same storm, the Water Bureau was able to shut off the Bull Run supply and switch to groundwater. All our customer continued to be supplied with drinking water that meets or exceeds all drinking water standards.

So next time you turn on the tap, think about how lucky we are to have groundwater. To learn more about Portland’s groundwater system, participate in one of our upcoming groundwater events.

Rebecca  Geisen

Groudwater Protection Program Manager

Terry Black

Sandy River Basin Community Information

Back to 100% Bull Run

3 Comments | Add a Comment

Bull Run river provides the majority of Portland's water.

The Portland Water Bureau began ramping down its supplemental supply of groundwater to the drinking water system on Monday, February 27, as turbidity levels decreased in the Bull Run water supply. At this time, Water Bureau customers are receiving 100% Bull Run water. The Bull Run supply is not filtered. The groundwater system allows the Water Bureau to maintain Bull Run as an unfiltered system.

The requirement to shut down the Bull Run supply due to high turbidity may occur only once during a winter season. This season, the Bull Run supply was shut down entirely for 10 days between January 21 and 31, 2012. During that time, the Columbia South Shore Well Field supplied Portland’s customers with an average of approximately 83 billion gallons per day.

When the Bull Run supply again experienced increased turbidity levels beginning February 21, the groundwater supply was tapped to provide an average of 45 billion gallons per day from February 22-27, 2012, to supplement the Bull Run supply.

The Portland Water Bureau prides itself on the ability to provide its 900,000 customers with a plentiful supply of high-quality drinking water. 

Terry Black

Sandy River Basin Community Information