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Quarterly Bull Run watershed Projects and Ongoing Maintenance Activities List Available

By Teresa Black Add a Comment

Today the Portland Water Bureau published its updated list of projects and ongoing maintenance activities that are occurring or planned to occur in the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit.

The purpose of the list is to ensure that the public has access to information about the Water Bureau’s actions in maintaining and protecting the watershed and the infrastructure that makes up the Bull Run Water Supply System. On a quarterly basis, the Water Bureau provides updates for all bureau-sponsored projects and activities both active and in the planning stage within the management unit. The next updated list will be posted in April 2014.

Please contact Terry Black at 503-823-1168 with any questions.

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PRESS RELEASE 01/02/14: City Commissioner Nick Fish Announces Groundbreaking New Partnership with Consumer Advocate Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Today, Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish announced a first-of-its-kind partnership between the City of Portland and the Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon (CUB). Next Wednesday, January 8, the City Council will take up a Resolution, co-sponsored by Commissioners Nick Fish and Steve Novick, formally approving the agreement. 

The Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon (CUB), a public benefit non-profit, was created in 1984 by a citizens’ ballot initiative to represent the interests of residential utility customers.

The City of Portland provides sewer, stormwater, and water services to 180,000 customer accounts, almost 90% of which are residential.

In its three decades of service, CUB has been a leader in ratepayer advocacy, achieving an estimated savings of $5.8 billion for residential ratepayers across Oregon.

During this proposed five-year partnership, CUB will provide outside, independent analysis of the operations and budgeting of the City’s two utility bureaus, the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) and the Portland Water Bureau (PWB), and will make recommendations to the Council based on that analysis.

CUB will conduct extensive community outreach to key stakeholders, including neighborhood groups, commercial and large industrial customers, civic groups, and environmental organizations to identify issues that are important to ratepayers. CUB will then develop recommendations concerning the bureaus’ budgets, capital planning, and longer-term policy questions.

“I believe that sunshine leads to better decisions and outcomes. When I was assigned the City’s two utilities in June of 2013, I committed to high standards of accountability and transparency in my bureaus,” said Commissioner Nick Fish.

“CUB has a 30-year track record of successful advocacy for residential ratepayers across Oregon – older adults on fixed incomes, hardworking parents, young families just starting out. This groundbreaking partnership will be good for the City and good for Portland ratepayers.”

Commissioner Steve Novick, co-sponsor of the Resolution, hailed the agreement as an important step forward. “CUB has spent years developing a reputation as a tough but fair and thoughtful critic of the rates and spending decisions of the private utilities. Portlanders and the City can only benefit from having CUB apply that kind of tough, fair and thoughtful analysis to the City utilities.”

To acknowledge and honor CUB’s independence, the City will not pay for this outside oversight. Instead, the City will publicize its partnership with CUB and ask Portland customers to consider joining the member-supported organization.

Tackle the Toilet

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Tackle the ToiletSome of us look forward to the college bowl season to cheer on our favorite football team.  Others watch the Super Bowl just to catch the popular commercial lineup. Whether you tune in or not, there’s one bowl we should all keep our eyes on: the toilet bowl.  

The most common place to find a leak in a home or business is the toilet.  While it might seem like a minor problem, toilets can waste lots of water over time, affecting the environment and your pocketbook.

Checking for toilet leaks is easy. Use these “Three Rs” to tackle your toilet and start saving water and money inside your home: 

  1. REMEMBER to check your toilet for leaks twice a year. Tying the schedule to easy-to-remember annual events (like the Super Bowl in the winter and the 4th of July in the summer) is a great way to ensure it gets done. To check for leaks, add 10 drops of food coloring inside your toilet tank and wait 10 minutes. If the dye color shows up in your toilet bowl, you have a leak.
  2. REPAIR leaks that can be fixed by do-it-yourselfers using inexpensive replacement parts. Check out this short video on how to repair a leaky toilet from our partners at the Regional Water Providers Consortium:
  3. REPLACE older toilets with a WaterSense high-efficiency one. Older toilets can use up to four times more water per flush. The Portland Water Bureau currently offers a $50 rebate for replacing an old toilet or urinal with a high-efficiency model. Commercial, residential and multifamily properties are eligible.  The old toilet or urinal MUST be recycled at an approved recycling center. For complete rebate details visit:  

Sarah Santner
Water Conservation

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Free Workshop Offered on Portland’s Groundwater Supply

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Groundwater 101 Workshop

Join the Portland Water Bureau and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council on Saturday, January 25, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the NECA-IBEW Training Center (16021 NE Airport Way) for “Groundwater 101,” a FREE workshop that teaches groundwater basics.

Taught with a mix of hands-on and classroom-style teaching, the workshop invites participants to learn about local geology and hydrology, the vital role groundwater plays in our drinking water system, and what we can all do to protect this important resource.

The workshop is appropriate for adults and high school students aged 14 and up and light refreshments will be provided. After the workshop, interested participants are invited to take a 30-minute guided tour of the Portland Water Bureau Groundwater Facility.

Pre-registration online is required and class size is limited to 35 participants – don’t wait to sign up!

Visit the Columbia Slough Watershed Council’s website for watershed information, activities and events and opportunities to get involved.

Doug Wise
Groundwater Protection

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Celebrating Steady Progress: Forest Park Low Tank Reservoir & Pump Station

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

January 2013 aerial photo of worksite
January 2013 aerial photo of worksite 

Just over a year ago in October 2012, contractor Emery & Sons Construction, Inc. began work with oversight from the Portland Water Bureau’s Engineering Services Group to construct a 1.3-million gallon reinforced-concrete underground drinking water reservoir and a 1,408 square-foot pump station on City property off NW Skyline Boulevard, near NW Hawkins Boulevard. 

Identified in the city’s water system as the Forest Park Low Reservoir, the 73-foot diameter reservoir and adjacent pump station are part of an overall plan to better serve the current and future water needs of residents living at higher elevations in the area. It will also help to improve water capacity for emergency fire protection.

November 2013 aerial photo of worksite
November 2013 aerial photo of worksite

In the past 12 months, crews have made significant progress, completing on schedule the following phases of construction:

  • Clearing and grubbing the site
  • Building a maintenance access road
  • Excavating the site for the reservoir and pump station
  • Drilling and grouting 320 soil nails to stabilize the soil slope
  • Installing a detention vault that will assist in managing excess water runoff
  • Pouring the reservoir floor and 50-foot tall walls
  • Pouring the nine interior columns to support the roof
  • Reinforcing the reservoir walls with a tensioned wrap of steel cable
  • Applying shotcrete to the exterior of the reservoir
  • Pouring the reservoir roof
  • Installing an underground vault that houses electrical facilities to power the reservoir
  • Testing reservoir for water tightness

Backfilling around tank

Currently, crews are working to backfill the reservoir which was built 41-feet into the ground. They are also constructing the neighboring 1,408 square foot pump station, already completing the excavation and form placement and working to now complete floor and wall pours for the structure.

The project is on track for full completion in March 2014. For additional information on the project, visit

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

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