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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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Conduit 2 Gets a Facelift

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Portland Water Bureau employees at the Sandy River Station (SRS) recently completed a repair project on Conduit 2. Conduit 2 travels 26 miles from the Bull Run Watershed to the Powell Butte Reservoirs.

Pipe wrapping 
Specified by the Engineering Services Group, the fiberglass pipe wrap will halt the corrosion and form a protective layer around the pipe. This was the first pipe wrap installation of its kind performed by the Water Bureau and may be used in the future on other sections of conduit. 

At one point along the way, the pipe runs a short distance above ground and across a creek. This section of the pipe is protected by a culvert that channels the creek away from the conduit. Upon inspection, the conduit was observed to be in extremely poor shape due to corrosion. In addition, the existing culvert was undersized and had rotted away.

Installation of new culvert 
A new culvert was installed to protect the conduit.

To address these challenges, the 44-inch conduit was excavated. The SRS crew and painters then worked together to install a fiberglass pipe wrap around the conduit.

Buried conduit and restoration nearing completion. 
Buried conduit and restoration nearing completion.

The pipe was finally buried and the site restored with native vegetation. The entire project was completed in an efficient four weeks.

More About Conduit 2
Conduit 2 was built in 1911. It is a lock bar steel pipe with riveted joint. The diameter of the conduit ranges from 44- to 52-inches, and has the capacity to deliver 50 million gallons per day to customers.

Washington Park Project Receives Community Engagement Award

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

The Cascade Chapter of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) recognized the Portland Water Bureau and JLA Public Involvement with a 2016 Public Involvement Best Practice Award for the design phase of the Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project.

Project team displays awardThe award acknowledges projects in Oregon and Southwest Washington that promote meaningful and innovative opportunities for community engagement.

"The project was recognized for successfully engaging interested and impacted stakeholders, resulting in meaningful input and broad-based support for both the designs and the process,” commented IAP2 on Facebook.

During the design phase of the project, the Water Bureau and JLA team conducted stakeholder interviews, met nine times with a Community Sounding Board, regularly briefed many of the area neighborhood associations and business groups, met with historic advocacy groups, and communicated with the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission. Broader community outreach included sending mailers to neighboring addresses, outreach within the park, public open houses (both in-person and on-line), and presentations to Explore Washington Park.

Based on feedback, the following community values will be reflected in the project’s visual features: 

  • Large expanses of water (reflecting pools/water feature)
  • Retaining the historic character (accommodate and restore historic elements, incorporate new elements in deference to the historic district)
  • Interpretive elements, quiet spaces, and habitat (lowland wildlife habitat area, bioswale)

For additional information on the project, visit

Join our Team: Laboratory Supervisor

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

If you're interested in joining an award-winning public utility where employees thrive on the pride of delivering a life-essential product with world class customer service, the Portland Water Bureau might be just the place for you.

The Water Bureau is a recognized leader in the utility industry. We've achieved this success by investing in the very best people and empowering them to find new and better ways to meet our customer's needs.

The Water Bureau currently employs approximately 560 people. All current job postings with the City of Portland are posted online, and updated weekly. We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Current Job Available at the Water Bureau

 Laboratory Supervisor Full Time $5,830.00 - $7,784.00 Monthly Mon. 08/22/16 4:30 PM Pacific Time

The Water Bureau is a Best-Practice Leader in Using Business Cases

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

The Portland Water Bureau is a noted leader among water utilities for analyzing its costs and benefits through business cases (a rationale for why we do a particular task or project).

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) published a report in July 2016 highlighting how we use business cases to evaluate the benefits and costs of projects, operations, and maintenance activities.

The Water Bureau is one of the first utilities to use a triple-bottom-line method in these business cases that looks at benefits and costs in financial, social, and environmental terms. For example, a broken water pipe that damages a major highway may cost a few hundred thousand dollars to fix in purely economic terms. If the pipe shuts the highway down; however, the social costs from delayed traffic, blocked emergency routes, and interrupted trade may add up to millions.

WRF ReportThe bureau is also a leader in quantifying social and environmental factors with monetary values. Translating social and environmental factors into dollars in the business case helps decision-makers make more informed choices.

The WRF report, titled Capital Funding Imperatives: Best Practices for Capital Improvement Programs, describes best practices in balancing needs, implementing systems, using business cases, involving stakeholders, and obtaining approval for utility capital programs.

The executive summary of the report is available on the WRF site.

Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project: July 2016 Update

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

The Portland Water Bureau and contractor Hoffman Construction Company have officially begun a long-term capital improvement project to update the Washington Park reservoir site at 2403 SW Jefferson Street. The project complies with federal and state mandates, seismically strengthens key water infrastructure on Portland’s west side, and helps ensure a healthy, resilient, and secure water system.

A new 12.4 million gallon, seismically reinforced below ground reservoir will be constructed with a reflecting pool/water feature on top. The new reservoir will preserve the historic drinking water function provided by the original reservoirs and be engineered to withstand ongoing landslide encroachment and potentially catastrophic effects of a major earthquake. Existing 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 reservoir will supply water to Portland’s west side and serve more than 360,000 people. This will include all downtown businesses and residents, 20 schools, three hospital complexes, more than 60 parks, and the Oregon Zoo.

Construction will proceed through 2019. A pause will occur from 2020 to 2022 to allow soils to consolidate to reduce any vertical movement. From 2022 to 2024, construction of interpretive features, including the two reflecting pools and surface features, will conclude the project.

July - Mid-September 2016 
From now until mid-September 2016, the following construction activity is scheduled to occur.

This activity will cause impacts to traffic, parking, and TriMet bus service.

See chart below and access an online map detailing traffic impacts and entrances into and exits out of Washington Park during this period.

  • Tree and vegetation inspection, pruning, and clearing on SW Sacajawea and Sherwood boulevards
  • Construction fence installation
  • Placement of mobile field offices
  • Erosion control
  • Disconnection of existing Reservoir 3 and 4 inlet and outlet piping
  • Removal of Weir Building
  • Cut and cap of old piping
  • Removal of stilling tank inside Gatehouse 4
  • **Traffic Delays: Travelers may experience intermittent traffic flow delays up to 20 minutes on SW Sacajawea and Sherwood boulevards. Short-term closures may also occur with detours put in place.
  • **Parking: All parking will remain open on SW Lewis Clark Way and SW Sacajawea and Sherwood boulevards except during short-term closures.
  • TriMet Bus Service: TriMet Bus Line 63 – Washington Park to Oregon Zoo may have minor delays. Stop ID 6177 - SW Sacajawea and Sherwood may be intermittently affected depending on construction activity. Check for real time updates.
**Construction-related traffic impacts are subject to change. To avoid traffic delays through the area, plan ahead and consider alternate routes to get to your destination.
  • W Burnside Road to SW Tichner Drive
  • W Burnside Road to SW Fischer Lane
  • SW Fairview Boulevard to SW Knights Boulevard
  • SW Park Place to SW Lewis Clark Way
  • SW Knights Boulevard to SW Canyon Road
  •   SW Tichner Drive to W Burnside Road
  •   SW Knights Boulevard to SW Fairview Boulevard
  •   SW Fischer Lane to W Burnside Road
  •   SW Sacajawea Boulevard to SW Park Place
  •   SW Canyon Road to SW Knights Boulevard
From now until mid-September 2016, all park entrances and exits will remain open.


Cut and Cap Piping  Within project site X        
Tree Pruning / Inspection  Within project site X X       
Fence Installation
 Within project site   X       
Vegetation/ Tree Removal  Around
the reservoirs, by SW Sacajawea and Sherwood boulevards
Erosion Control  Within project site   X       
Disconnect Reservoir 3 Inlet and Outlet Piping  Within project site   X       
Remove Weir Building  Within project site    X X    
Reservoir 4 Inlet and Outlet Piping
 Within project site    X X     
Removal of Stilling Tank inside Gatehouse 4  Within project site    X  X    
Selective Site Demolition  Within project site    X  X    
Construct Upper and Lower Shoring Walls  Within project site     X   X  X

The Water Bureau will be presenting project updates at upcoming local neighborhood association meetings. Join us to learn more about the project. 

To contact us with questions or concerns or to sign up to receive project updates by e-mail: