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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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TRAFFIC ADVISORY 05/22/13: Repairs to Elk Fountain Closes One Traffic Lane on SW Main Street

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Elk Fountain repairs May 2013

UPDATE: 5/30/2013

Due to the rainy weather, contractors were not able to finish the repairs to the base of the Elk Fountain. Work is scheduled to resume the week of June 10th. Another traffic advisory will be posted shortly before the work begins.

A contractor is currently making repairs to the Elk Fountain, located on SW Main Street, between SW 3rd and SW 4th avenues in downtown Portland. SW Main Street is a one-way, two lane street with traffic traveling westbound. 

Traffic is reduced to one lane around the work zone through Friday, May 24, 2013.  Work hours are 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

The Water Bureau crew is repairing minor damage to the historic fountain caused by two past incidents involving automobile collisions.

Motorists and bicyclists are encouraged to take alternate routes.

Tim Hall
Public Outreach

Phase 1 of Water Mains Project Completed in Hillsdale Neighborhood

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SW Carolina Main Project

The Portland Water Bureau recently completed the first phase of its SW Carolina Pump Main Project, which installed 900 feet of 24-inch diameter water supply pipeline leading to the Burlingame storage tanks on SW 10th Avenue near Wilson High School. Another 500 feet of 4 to 16-inch diameter pipe was also installed or upgraded. In addition to the pipe work, the largest of the three tanks underwent seismic retrofits to make its joints flexible in an earthquake. Underground vaults were also installed to house altitude valves that control the water level elevation of the tanks remotely. 

The Burlingame tank site is a major hub in the city’s water distribution system for much of southwest Portland. These upgrades increased the system’s reliability and versatility as well as reduced their vulnerability.

The second phase of the SW Carolina Pump Main Project will install a new pipeline to connect the Burlingame tanks and the Westwood tank, which will create connections between the Fulton Pump Station to the Carolina Pump Station. This work is slated to begin in early summer 2014 and be completed by December 2014.

Crews will install 3,400 feet of new 24-inch diameter pipe from the intersection of SW Burlingame Avenue and SW Chestnut Street, north along SW Burlingame Avenue, then turn east on SW Burlingame Terrace down to SW Terwilliger Boulevard. Once on SW Terwilliger Boulevard, the construction will continue north until the traffic island at SW Capitol Highway where new underground vaults will be installed.

While fairly straightforward, the project is expected to be challenging due to its neighborhood impacts. A deep four-foot wide pipe trench will need to be dug through narrow, 10 to 12 foot wide residential streets. Once the project moves onto SW Terwilliger Boulevard, traffic impacts are expected to be significant since this is a major thoroughfare through southwest hills communities. The vault work in the traffic island on SW Capitol Highway will cause further traffic delays.

The Portland Water Bureau is committed to keeping area residents and motorists informed of the project’s schedule and its impacts as the project planning moves forward.  While most of Portland’s water is gravity fed, southwest hills neighborhoods rely on pumps to deliver water to higher elevations.

Undoubtedly this work will cause some inconvenience to the area, but the project will significantly increase the reliability and versatility of Portland’s water system. 

For information about this project, contact Darcy Cronin, Public Information, at 503-823-3520.

Darcy Cronin
Public Information

Annual Drinking Water Quality Report released Online

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2013 Drinking Water Quality Report cover

As mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Portland Water Bureau is required to produce an annual water quality report. The report summarizes the water quality results for the 2012 year, and educates customers about their drinking water.

Instead of mailing the full report to every customer, for the first time, the EPA is allowing the report to be published digitally. Water providers are still required to notify customers of the report’s availability, and today a postcard is being mailed to inform every customer about the online report.

Customers are still able to request a paper copy, either online or by phone. Translations of the report in Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese and Spanish are also available by calling Portland Water Bureau Water Line at 503-823-7525.

“I hope everyone takes a moment to read the report online. This information is still extremely important,” said Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff. “Drinking water isn’t something we should take for granted, and it takes a great deal of work to deliver it to each and every tap.”

Again, the report is available online:   

Portland Water Bureau Launches New Facebook Page

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Facebook logo

The Portland Water Bureau has launched a new governmental Facebook page in an effort to continue to use social media as way of increasing transparency and engaging with the public. The Facebook page replaces our “former” Facebook account and complies with the City of Portland Human Resources Administrative Rule 4.08 (Social Media) and Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities

This new social media site will be a vehicle in which our customers and partners can learn more about us and how we strive each day to provide the highest quality water, customer service and stewardship of the critical infrastructure, fiscal and natural resources entrusted to our care. The Facebook page will feature announcements, press releases, bureau job listings, rebates, incentives, photos, videos and links to the award-winning Water Blog

"Using social media is an essential way for the Portland Water Bureau to efficiently communicate and engage with large audiences.  Social media helps us to distribute information quickly, address questions and concerns and educate customers on utilizing water resources,” notes Public Information Manager Tim Hall. 

The Portland Water Bureau also employs other social media tools such as Twitter, Flickr and YouTube to connect and engage with the public.

Visit to “like” the Portland Water Bureau’s new page.

Lindsay Wochnick
Community Information & Involvement

A Sheet of Portland Water History

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Portland Water Company capital stock certificate

Stanley Jackson of Ocean Park, Washington was going through some old boxes and found a capital stock certificate for the historic Portland Water Company. The stock was purchased on September 18, 1886 and issued to his great, great-grandfather Jacob Kamm.

Photo of Jacob KammJacob Kamm was an early pioneer in Portland. He was the founder of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company in 1879 and the Vancouver Transportation Company, both which built and operated steamboats and steamships.  He was also a major shareholder in the U.S. National Bank of Portland.  Mr. Kamm built one of the first large homes in Portland, the landmark Jacob Kamm House. It was located where present day Lincoln High School now sits.

The Portland Water Company was sold on January 1, 1887 to the Water Committee to establish a city-operated municipal water works.  The 125 shares valued at $500 each was worth $62,500 in 1886.  In today’s dollars, the value of the stock would be would $1,572,712.

Tim Hall
Public Information & Involvement

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