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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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Join Volunteer Restoration at Powell Butte Nature Park

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On Saturday, March 14 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, the public is invited to volunteer alongside the Friends of Powell Butte Nature Park, Hands On Greater Portland, and Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) to perform needed trail maintenance and restoration work at Powell Butte Nature Park.

Volunteers are encouraged to wear long thick pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and sturdy shoes. Bring a backpack, water bottle, rain gear, and sunhat. Instruction, tools, gloves, water, coffee/tea, and granola bars will be provided. Volunteers will be walking up to five miles during the event.

Meet at the SE Ellis Street and SE 145th Avenue. Recommended parking is on SE Ellis Street. Please be aware not to block neighbors’ driveways.

Please be aware that a major construction project is under completion within the Powell Butte Nature Park. Volunteers are reminded to keep out of fenced hazardous construction areas and to stay on open designated park trails during the restoration event.

This volunteer opportunity is family-friendly and all ages are welcome to participate. However, children must be accompanied and supervised by an adult for the duration of the volunteer event.

Volunteers are asked to RSVP online to Hands On Portland. For more information, contact PP&R Stewardship Coordinator Susan Hawes at 503-823-6131 or by e-mail.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

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It’s Groundwater Awareness Week: Be Informed & Help Protect a Vital Resource

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During the week of March 8, the Portland Water Bureau joins the National Groundwater Association and other partners to give special recognition to one of our nation’s most valuable resources - GROUNDWATER.

Spread the word!Readers are encouraged to follow the Water Bureau on Twitter and Facebook for posts that will discuss why groundwater is important to our drinking water supply, and what you can do to be a groundwater steward and help protect this resource.

Groundwater – It’s Right Underneath Your Feet

Groundwater is the water that soaks into the soil from rain or other precipitation and moves deep underground to fill cracks and other openings in beds of rock and sand called aquifers. It is a renewable natural resource when used wisely. Of all the fresh water in the world (excluding polar ice caps), 95 percent is groundwater. Surface water (lakes and rivers) make up only three percent of the world’s fresh water.

Groundwater affects everyone.

Groundwater provides drinking water for nearly half our nation’s population (including Portland and surrounding communities) and provides about 40 percent of America’s irrigation water. It sustains streamflow between rain events and during long dry periods, and it helps maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems in streams, lakes, and wetlands.

Groundwater serves as the secondary source of Portland’s drinking water.

To access the water beneath our feet, Portland has 27 wells in three regional aquifers in the Columbia South Shore Well Field. The Well Field can provide close to 100 million gallons of drinking water a day in emergency situations or to augment Bull Run supply in the summer. This reliable backup water source is also a big reason that Portland is able to maintain the region’s primary drinking water supply in the Bull Run watershed as an unfiltered drinking water source. Learn more here. 

Groundwater Protection: Do Your Part

We all play a role in preserving our vital drinking water resources. Whether you’re a resident, business owner, employee or farmer, you can make a difference. Even small amounts of chemicals spilled, leaked or dumped on the ground can find their way into our aquifers.

Are you ready to join Portland Water Bureau in protecting groundwater? Start by taking one or more of the following actions:

  • Carefully follow all instructions for the use, storage and disposal of household chemicals, and never pour them down a storm drain.
  • Check underground storage tanks for leaks. Many older homes have underground heating oil tanks. Information on checking for leaks and decommissioning can be found here.
  • Report chemical spills and illegal dumping. Call Oregon Emergency Response System at 1-800-452-0311 and Bureau of Environmental Services at 503-823-7180.

To increase your groundwater awareness, visit Help promote and protect this valuable resource.

Doug Wise
Groundwater Protection

REMINDER: Proposed Washington Park Reservoir Project Initial Land Use Review Application: Public Comment Period Now Open, Historic Landmarks Commission Meeting Scheduled for March 23

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In February 2015, the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services (BDS) deemed the Portland Water Bureau’s initial Type IV Land Use Review (LUR) application for the proposed Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project as complete. 

This designation officially opened the public comment period and set the date for the Historic Landmarks Commission public meeting and the City Council hearing.

The Water Bureau’s initial LUR application proposes the removal of the Weir Building (screen house), portions of lower Reservoir 4’s basin, and upper Reservoir 3’s basin in Washington Park. The gatehouses, dams, and other historic features will be protected and restored.

Project Details
In order to comply with federal and state mandates, and ensure a healthy, resilient, and secure water system, the Portland Water Bureau is moving forward with a project to update the Washington Park reservoir site.

Proposed project at Washington Park

The Water Bureau’s Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project proposes to build a new below-ground reservoir in the same general footprint as the existing upper Reservoir 3, with a reflecting pool on top.

Upper Reservoir 3 Lower Reservoir 4
Left to right: Upper Reservoir 3 and lower Reservoir 4

The lower Reservoir 4 basin and the slope to the west are needed to provide landslide abatement; the slope will be restored to its pre-reservoir condition. Reservoir 4 will be disconnected from the public drinking water system and a lowland habitat area/bioswale and a reflecting pool are also proposed in the Reservoir 4 basin. Work will primarily be within the Historic District.

The project addresses major reservoir issues, including recurrent landslide damage, compliance with federal law, seismic vulnerability, and deterioration of the 120-year-old structures.

Key Dates of NotePublic Comments
Public comments on the initial LUR application received by Monday, March 9 will be part of the official record and included in the staff report presented during the upcoming Historic Landmarks Commission public meeting. Access a courtesy copy of the LUR application on the Water Bureau’s project webpage at

Comments can be e‑mailed to, faxed to 503-823-5630, or mailed to:

Hillary Adam
Land Use Services, Bureau of Development Services
RE: LU 14-249689
1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 4500
Portland, OR 97201

Please reference Land Use Review number LU 14-249689 in any communications.

Public comments after Monday, March 9 can be mailed to the Historic Landmarks Commission at 1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 4500, Portland, OR 97201 or faxed to 503-823-5630.

Public Meeting Testimony
A Historic Landmarks Commission public meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday, March 23 on the second floor of 1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Conference Room 2500A.

During the meeting, the Commission will listen to public testimony and review the initial Type IV LUR application and staff report that includes mailed, faxed, or e-mailed public comments. After the meeting, the Commission will forward a letter with recommendations to the Portland City Council.

The City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Thursday, April 23 to make the final decision on the initial LUR application.

Next Steps
In spring 2015, the Water Bureau will submit a second LUR application package that includes two Type III applications. The LUR package will propose the construction of a new covered reservoir, reflecting pools, lowland habitat area/bioswale, walkways, and historic preservation and rehabilitation actions.

The second LUR application process will also include comments period, public meeting, and hearing to ensure public notification and the opportunity to comment before a final land use decision is rendered. 

Before work permits are issued or construction begins, all LUR applications must be approved. This includes the initial Type IV LUR application and the Type III LUR application package.

The LUR applications are a result of a robust public involvement process that included multiple public open houses and nine Community Sounding Board (CSB) meetings that guided design for the required visible features of the Washington Park project.

Additional Information & Contacts
For detailed project information, visit the project webpage or contact Water Bureau Public Information staff by e-mail or at 503-823-3028.

Visit the Bureau of Development Services’ website or call 503-823-7300 for more information on the land use review application process.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Save the Date: City Utility Rate Review Scheduled for March 12, 2015

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Scheduled for Thursday, March 12, the City of Portland will hold the second annual City Utility Rate Review for the public to talk about drinking water and sewer-storm water rates. 

The City Utility Rate Review is sponsored by the City Budget Office

City Commissioner Nick Fish and management staff from both the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services will be on hand to answer questions.

The rate review will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the first floor Banquet Room at the Montgomery Park Building, located at 2701 Northwest Vaughn Street.

The Portland Water Bureau invites our customers to attend to learn more about the bureau’s operating budget, capital improvement program and projects, and the challenges of maintaining an aging system and keeping rates affordable. 

Watch the Water Blog for further announcements.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

City of Portland and Multnomah County Draft 2015 Climate Action Plan, Available for Public Comment

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Solar array at the Groundwater Pumpstation on Portland Water Bureau landThe City of Portland and Multnomah County have released the 2015 draft Climate Action Plan with a goal to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050.

The plan outlines local strategies for reducing carbon emissions and preparing for climate impacts.

The Portland Water Bureau participated in developing the plan by identifying actions that will reduce the bureau’s contribution to climate change, such as improving the efficiency of water pumps and other energy-intensive operations. The bureau is also committed to increasing its understanding and management of climate risks to the Bull Run watershed and built infrastructure and assets.

Some of the most important Portland Water Bureau actions are mentioned on pages 113, 114, 115, and 116. Additional Water Bureau actions are listed throughout the plan.

Visit to find additional information and download a copy of the draft plan. Comments from the public will be accepted through April 10, 2015.

You can also attend a 2015 Climate Action Plan open house event at the following locations to find out more:

  • Thursday, March 19 at the Velo Cult Bike Shop (5:30 to 7:30PM, 1969 NE 42nd Ave.) 
  • Tuesday, March 24 at the June Key Delta Community Center (5:30 to 7:30 PM, 5940 North Albina St.) 

If you have questions about Portland Water Bureau actions listed in this plan, please contact Kavita Heyn, Climate Science & Sustainability Coordinator, at or 503-823-4724.

Photo: Solar array at the Groundwater Pumpstation on Portland Water Bureau land.