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Portland Water Bureau

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

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Four of Portland's Fountain Plazas Preserved in the National Register of Historic Places

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Chimney Fountain  Dreamer Fountain 

Ira Keller's Forecourt Fountain  The Lovejoy Fountain
Clockwise: The Dreamer Fountain, Lovejoy Fountain, Ira Keller's Forecourt Fountain, Chimney Fountain

The innovative series of downtown Portland fountain plazas by world-renowned landscape architect Lawrence Halprin have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places, according to a press release distributed by the the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department on Wednesday, March 6, 2013.

Known individually as the Ira Keller's Forecourt Fountain, the Dreamer Fountain (located in Pettygrove Park), Lovejoy Fountain, and the Chimney Fountain, the public plazas are located between SW Clay and Lincoln streets and First and Fourth Avenues and are connected by a system of pedestrian walkways. They are collectively called the “Portland Open Space Sequence.”

A winner of the Presidential Medal of the Arts and other honors, Halprin and members of his firm, Lawrence Halprin and Associates, designed the plazas from 1963 to 1970 as the heart of the city's first urban renewal district, known as the South Auditorium District. Their unprecedented sculptural wedding of public space, water, and references to the natural landscape turned the plazas into instant people magnets, luring investment and laying the groundwork for Portland's unique urban renewal policies for decades to come.

The National Register is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Additional information can be located on the Oregon National Register and Survey Program's website

Maintaining Portland's Municipal Decorative Fountains
The Portland Water Bureau has proudly maintained Portland’s municipal decorative fountains since 1988. Maintaining these fountains is no small feat. The Portland Water Bureau is dedicated to ensuring that Portland’s fountains are in working order, safe for public enjoyment and running efficiently. The bureau turns the fountains off for the cold weather months to prevent water from blowing or freezing on surfaces. This “down time” also provides an opportunity for maintenance and repair projects.

Learn more about Portland's many fountains and get a downtown fountain walking tour map on Portland Water Bureau's website.

Lindsay Wochnick
Community Information and Involvement

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Making Way for a Better Kelly Butte Landscape

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Kelly Butte Reservoir Project - February 2013 Aerial Photo
Kelly Butte Reservoir Project - February 2013

Over the past two months, while heading north on the I-205 freeway or from SE Powell Boulevard near the freeway ramp, you may have seen construction vehicles at work clearing the south side of Kelly Butte. Crews were busy removing non-native and invasive plants, dead and diseased trees, and unfortunately a few healthy trees.  All of this work is part of the construction of the new 25-million gallon underground drinking water reservoir on the butte.

The plant removal -- through an integrated approach of mechanical cutting and manual removal -- was necessary to build the larger rectangle reservoir that is replacing a 10-million gallon round steel water tank. A temporary wide road for large trucks to haul away excavated soil and carry in concrete and steel had to be built.  In addition, space on the hillside was needed for a new storm water detention pond and overflow holding tank.

While the south slope may now be barren, once the reservoir construction is completed the next phase of the project is a Land Use approved re-vegetation plan that includes planting with more than 1,667 trees and 7,254 shrubs on the entire site. The south side will be replanted with an oak savannah. The north side is where many of the new trees will be planted.  Seeding of ground cover plants like grasses and wildflowers will occur.  The haul road will be reduced in width to accommodate Portland Water Bureau maintenance trucks.

On the west and north side of the butte, the tree canopy that is dominated by Douglas-Fir and Big Leaf Maple trees has been largely left intact.

For over 30 years, invasive plants have degraded the local environment by decreasing botanic diversity and displacing native species, destroying habitat for wildlife and birds, and increasing storm water runoff by decreasing the structural complexity of plant communities.

One of the many vegetation goals for the project is to aid in reducing the level of invasive plants on the butte. With the actions taken, the future landscape will enable the preservation of some upland meadow, prairie and grassy habitats. The project work will also remove invasive plants from the Portland Water Bureau’s property on the butte.

The Future of Kelly Butte - photo

When reservoir construction is complete in 2015, the ground surface above the facility and its pipes will be re-seeded. Re-vegetation services will continue to monitor the new plant life far after the construction is completed.

Tim Hall
Community Information and Involvement 

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Interstate Renovation Project Update

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Interstate Renovation Project March 2013

Since January, site preparation for the Interstate Renovation Project has been in full swing. Both the Carpentry Building and the Foundry Building along NE Tillamook St. have been demolished. Construction will soon begin on the new SSW (Shops & Stores Warehouse) Building.

Pile driving is scheduled to start on Wednesday, March 27th. A large crane will be erecting pilings and a hammer will be driving piles each work day, Monday-Friday, starting at 7 a.m. Neighbors should expect a great deal of noise while pile driving is taking place. Under ideal circumstances, pile driving is scheduled to take up to 6-8 weeks. Noise levels will vary depending on your distance from the construction site, but should not be considered harmful.

Visit the project webpage for updates: www.portlandoregon.gov/water/interstate

Please contact Darcy Cronin, Public Outreach, at 503-823-3520 with any questions.

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UPDATE - Water main break at N Lombard and N Reno has been repaired

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Photo of water main break

UPDATE 3:30 PM on 3/29/2013:

The early morning main break at N. Lombard Street and N. Reno Street has been repaired. All residents have water service and the street has been repaired. Traffic has returned to normal.

Main Break Information from early morning 3/29/13:
An eight-inch cast iron pipe has caused the street to buckle at the intersection of N. Lombard Street and N. Reno Street in North Portland. There is no sink hole. Traffic is being directed to a single lane and motorists are encouraged to avoid this intersection.

Residents continue to have water service. A Portland Water Bureau crew is working to repair the main break by the end of the day. An update will be posted when it has been fixed.

For additional information, please contact the Portland Water Bureau's Public Information Officer at 503-823-8064.

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Main Parking Lot at Powell Butte Nature Park Scheduled to Re-Open October 2013

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Main parking lot at Powell Butte Nature Park in February 2013

Previously slated to re-open in May 2013, the main parking lot at Powell Butte Nature Park in SE Portland is now rescheduled to open by October 2013. Temporary free parking lots continue to be available in designated locations around the butte. 

Powell Butte Reservoir 2 in March 2013

Construction on the city’s new 50-million gallon underground reservoir is making steady progress. However, work on the publicly-required park facilities – a new Interpretive Center with restrooms, the permanent Caretaker’s House, and trail upgrades – have faced some delays. 

The nature park remains open to all visitors. Park users are reminded to keep out of fenced construction areas and to stay on open designated park trails.

Additional information detailing the Powell Butte Reservoir 2 Project can be accessed online at: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/powellbutte.

Lindsay Wochnick
Community Information & Involvement

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