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Portland Water Bureau

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1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

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Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project: June Update

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

In order to comply with federal and state mandates and ensure a healthy, resilient, and secure water system, the Portland Water Bureau and Oregon general contractor Hoffman Construction Company are moving forward with an eight-year capital improvement project to update the Washington Park reservoir site at 2403 SW Jefferson Street. 

SUMMARY
The project includes building a new, seismically reinforced below ground reservoir.

The new reservoir will preserve the historic drinking water function provided by the original reservoirs at the site and be engineered to withstand ongoing landslide encroachment and potentially catastrophic effects of a major earthquake. A reflecting pool/water feature will be constructed on top in the same general footprint as the historical Reservoir 3. Reservoir 4 will be disconnected from the public drinking water system and a lowland wildlife habitat area, bioswale, and reflecting pool will be constructed in the basin.

When complete and online, the new underground reservoir will supply water to Portland’s west side and serve more than 360,000 people, including all downtown businesses and residents, 20 Portland public schools, three hospital complexes, more than 60 parks, and the Oregon Zoo.

SCHEDULE

  • Proposed Schedule
  • July 1, 2016: Begin construction
  • December 31, 2019: Complete construction on new Reservoir 3
  • December 31, 2020: Disconnect Reservoir 4 from the public water system
  • 2023-2024: Complete project completed

UPCOMING PROJECT WORK & IMPACTS
The project will span eight years. The first two years (2016-2018) will trigger the most significant impacts to traffic, transportation, and parking in the park. Washington Park users are encouraged to travel to and move safely around the park and its attractions by using the bus and light rail, walking, biking and skating, and taking the free park shuttle. Visit trimet.org and explorewashingtonpark.org for transit options. 

Upcoming Work: Current – September 2016  

TASK LOCATION  2016
JUN JUL AUG SEPT OCT
Construction Fence Installation Within project site  X      
Placement of Mobile Field Offices Project site, below Reservoir 4  X      
Tree Pruning / Inspection Within project site, around the reservoirs, along SW Sacajawea Boulevard, SW Lewis Clark Way, & SW Madison Court  X    
Vegetation / Tree Removal Around the reservoirs, by SW Sacajawea and Sherwood Boulevards  X    
Erosion Control Within project site X    
Disconnect Reservoir 3 Inlet and Outlet Piping Within project site    X  X    
Remove Weir Building Within project site, east of Reservoir 3      X  X  
Disconnect Reservoir 4 Inlet and Outlet Piping Within project site, by Reservoir 4      X  X  
Cut and Cap Piping Within project site, by Reservoir 4      X  X  
Removal of Stilling Tank inside Gatehouse 4 Within project site, by Gatehouse 4      
Construct Shoring Wall (begins mid-Sept) Within project site, by Reservoir 3      

IMap showing traffic delay locationsmpacts: May – September 2016

  • Traffic Delays: Travelers may experience intermittent traffic flow delays up to 20 minutes on SW Sacajawea and SW Sherwood Boulevards due to pre-construction maintenance and removal of vegetation and trees in the project site.

  • Parking: All parking will remain open on SW Lewis Clark Way and SW Sacajawea and SW Sherwood Boulevards.

  • Park Facilities: All park facilities will remain open.

  • TriMet Bus Service: TriMet Bus Line 63 may have minor delays. Stop ID 6177 at SW Sacajawea/ Sherwood may be intermittently affected depending on pre-construction activity. Check trimet.org for real time updates.

FUNDING & BUDGET
The project is part of the Water Bureau’s Capital Improvement Program. It is funded by revenue bond proceeds backed by the utility ratepayers’ fund. Currently, 100 percent of the project’s design is complete. With high confidence, the Water Bureau now appraises the total project budget for the life of the project at $190 million (+/- 10 percent). 

MEDIA & COMMUNITY EVENTS HONORING THE RESERVOIRS
In June 2016, the Water Bureau held events for local media outlets and members of the community to honor the past, present, and future of the Washington Park reservoirs. Five media outlets and close to 100 community members attended the events, taking the opportunity to photograph the reservoirs and participate in guided walking tours and a “toss a penny into the reservoir, make a wish” tribute. View KOIN Channel 6’s coverage and additional photos of the events on the Water Blog.

KEEPING YOU UP-TO-DATE
The Water Bureau will be presenting project updates at upcoming neighborhood association meetings. Please join us to learn more about the project: 

To contact us with questions or concerns or to change your preferences on how to receive project updates:

Celebrating the Past, Present, & Future of the Washington Park Reservoirs

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Community event

On June 25, close to 100 members of the community attended an event honoring the past, present, and future of the Washington Park Reservoirs. 

Retrospective display boards Retrospective display boards

Attendees were treated to retrospective display boards celebrating the reservoir’s past, an opportunity to photograph the current reservoirs, guided walking tours around Reservoir 3, and a “toss a penny into the reservoir, make a wish” tribute for the future.

 

The event offered the community a chance to take a last look at Reservoir 3 and 4 before an eight-year construction project begins at the site.
The Past

Reservoir 3 construction, 1894 Reservoir 3 construction, 1894 
Reservoir 3 construction, 1894

The reservoirs in Washington Park were constructed between 1893 and 1894, concurrently with the construction of the water conduit and distribution system from the Bull Run Watershed.

Reservoir 4 Construction, 1894 
Reservoir 4 construction, 1894

The reservoir’s concrete-lined basins, buildings, and dams were constructed in a Romanesque style for an “Old World” feel important to the City Beautiful movement’s idealization of the natural landscape. The site and the built elements were carefully integrated, with both reservoirs in “naturalistic” shapes situated within a ravine. This was an experiential destination ‐ a place where Portlanders could get out of the crowded streets and into a naturalistic landscape. Viewpoints were also integrated in the design.

In January 1895, Portland’s new Bull Run water system went online. However, due to the landslide the reservoirs were not put into service until they were re-lined in 1904 and 1905.

The Present
In the 120 years since that time, Portland has enjoyed (and continues to enjoy) some of the purest drinking water available. However, recurring landslide damage to the Washington Park reservoirs over the years has required ongoing repairs and maintenance, and ongoing changes in safe drinking water standards has necessitated change.

The Future
Beginning July 1, 2016, the Portland Water Bureau and Oregon general contractor Hoffman Construction Company will officially begin an eight-year capital improvement project to update the Washington Park reservoir site at 2403 SW Jefferson Street.

New Construction Rendering - Upper Reflecting Pool at Gate House 3 New Construction Rendering - Upper Reflecting Pool from the Grand Stairway.jpg 
New construction rendering- upper Reflecting Pool at Gate House 3 (left)
New construction rendering - upper Reflecting Pool from the Grand Stairway (right)

The project includes building a new, seismically reinforced below ground reservoir. The new reservoir will preserve the historic drinking water function provided by the original reservoirs at the site and be engineered to withstand ongoing landslide encroachment and potentially catastrophic effects of a major earthquake. A reflecting pool/water feature will be constructed on top in the same general footprint as the historical Reservoir 3.

New Construction Rendering - Lower Reflecting Pool View from Dam 3  
New Construction Rendering - lower Reflecting Pool View from Dam 3 (top)
New Construction Rendering - Dam 3, lower Reflecting Pool and Lowland Habitat (bottom)

Reservoir 4 will be disconnected from the public drinking water system and a lowland wildlife habitat area, bioswale, and reflecting pool will be constructed in the basin.

When complete and online, the new underground reservoir will supply water to Portland’s west side and serve more than 360,000 people, including all downtown businesses and residents, 20 Portland public schools, three hospital complexes, more than 60 parks, and the Oregon Zoo.

The project is being driven by four major challenges:

  1. Aging Facilities: Reservoirs are typically designed for 100 years of service. The two Washington Park reservoirs are more than 120 years old. Condition assessments performed at the Washington Park Reservoir site in 1997 and 2001 confirmed the reservoirs and structures were nearing the end of their useful service life.
  2. Seismic Vulnerability: The original facilities were designed and constructed prior to current seismic standards. They do not meet structural requirements for current anticipated seismic activity and, therefore, are vulnerable to severe damage or failure during a significant seismic event. Failure of these reservoirs and structures could be catastrophic, resulting in the loss of drinking water to the west side of Portland.
  3. Landslide: Washington Park’s ancient landslide at the reservoir site has been continuously damaging both reservoirs since original construction in the late 1800s.
  4. Long-Term Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2): The 2006 federal regulation requires the City of Portland to protect its stored drinking water against contamination as part of the water quality requirements for safe drinking water. To address this requirement, the City is constructing alternative buried storage, allowing the uncovered reservoirs to be taken off‐line.

For more information on the upcoming project, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/water/wpreservoirs.

Wildlife of Bull Run: Bobcat

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Bobcat "selfie" in the Bull Run WatershedBobcats live throughout the Bull Run Watershed. A Portland Water Bureau wildlife monitoring camera helped this bobcat snap an inadvertent selfie near one of the Bull Run reservoirs.

Bobcats are about twice the size of the average housecat and eat mainly birds and small mammals. Bobcats live throughout the state of Oregon, except at high elevations.

Want to try to spot some Bull Run wildlife yourself?
Sign up for one of this summer’s guided tours.

Portland Water Bureau Offices Closed July 4 in Observance of Independence Day

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

In observance of Independence Day, Portland Water Bureau offices will be closed on Monday, July 4, 2016.

This includes both the Customer Service Call Center and the Customer Service Walk-In Service Center located on the first floor at 1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, Oregon. Offices will reopen on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 at 8 a.m.

During the holiday, Water Bureau customers are invited to pay their bill in the following ways:

  • Online
  • Drop off: Leave a payment in the Water Bureau's night box located at 1120 SW 5th Avenue to the left of the building's front doors

To report a water system emergency, contact the 24/7 Emergency Hotline at 503-823-4874.

Single Lane Closure on SW Barbur Boulevard June 22, 23, and 27

By Teresa Black Add a Comment

A Portland Water Bureau water main installation project will close 100 feet of the westside southbound lane of SW Barbur Boulevard between SW Baird Street and SW 35th Avenue  from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Monday, June 22, 23 and 27.

Travelers are urged to use alternate routes and are reminded to drive slowly, exercise caution, and follow traffic control signs.