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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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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. 

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.


  • 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

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 and for transit options. 

Upcoming Work: Current – September 2016  

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 for real time updates.

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). 

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.

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:

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.

Sales Mailer May Confuse Some Customers

By Jaymee Cuti Add a Comment

The Portland Water Bureau shares our community’s concerns about the recent detections of lead in water in area schools and other facilities. Unfortunately, a private home drinking water treatment company is trying to capitalize on these concerns with inaccurate advertising that may confuse some customers.

The Portland Water Bureau wants to remind our customers that such offers are not associated with the City of Portland, nor does the Portland Water Bureau have any connection with such companies, or any other such home treatment manufacturer. 

While some treatment can be an effective method for removing contaminants from water, including lead, it is important for consumers to make informed decisions regarding the water in their homes based upon accurate data and facts

Here are the facts that you need to know:

Our source water meets or surpasses all federal and state drinking water standards. The level of lead in drinking water in the mailing was from 2013, and was the regulatory level found in the most at-risk homes tested under worst case scenario. It is not representative of the potential lead in drinking water found in most homes during normal use.

The main source of lead in water in the Portland area is household plumbing. Lead is rarely found in Portland’s source waters, and there are no known lead service lines in the distribution system. Lead solder was commonly used in homes built or plumbed with copper pipes before 1985. Lead can also be found in brass plumbing fixtures and components.

Because lead exposure is localized to the plumbing in high-risk homes and buildings, your home would not necessarily be at risk solely on the basis that  your neighbors’ home has a high lead detection.

The only way to know if your home plumbing contains lead solder is to test. Free test kits are available by contacting the LeadLine, 503-988-4000 or

The Portland Water Bureau recently released its annual water quality report online. The federally-required report outlines how Portland is continuing to deliver clean and safe drinking water to nearly a million customers.

The Portland Water Bureau mailed a postcard to inform every customer about the availability of the report online. Customers are able to request a paper copy, either online or by phone or by calling the Portland Water Bureau Water Line at 503-823-7525.

From 2013 to 2016, more than 15,000 lead tests were conducted in Multnomah County. Of those, elevated blood lead levels were found in 188 children. No cases were traced to lead in drinking water from any source.