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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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Spring Yard Care

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment


Spring is here, and it’s time to get your outdoor spaces ready for summer!

Here are a few tips that will help you save water and enjoy your yard to the fullest.

The Lawn

We’ve had the perfect mix of sun and rain this spring to grow grass. But how often and how low should we mow? While the ideal mowing height depends on what kind of grass you have, a good rule of thumb is to always maintain 2/3 of the original height of the grass. Mowing frequently, (about once a week) and just cutting a little each time can encourage robust root development.  Better roots = less water and maintenance.  Another benefit from consistent mowing is that you don’t need to pick up the clippings!  In fact, these clippings serve as a great source of nutrients for the plants. 

The Garden

Good gardens start with great soil. Make sure you have a good mix of organic matter in your soil. In a raised bed, plan to incorporate 2-3 inches of organic material.  Supplementing your soil with compost or other organic material increases the amount of water your soil can hold and then release to your plants.  What do we mean by “organic matter?”  Some examples of organic matter include:  bark mulch, cured manure, grass or wheat straw, and compost. You can make your own compost or purchase compost mixtures at local garden stores.  Once your soil is ready, you can start planting!  Check out Portland Nursery’s Veggie Calendar to see what can be planted in April.

The Watering

Grass, shrubs, and vegetable gardens have different watering needs. Spring is a great time to research your watering options. Consider drip systems or soaker hoses for perennial and vegetable plantings.  If you have an automatic irrigation system check out our rebates for WaterSense® labeled controllers and multistream rotating nozzles.  Take the guesswork out of predicting the needs of your plants by signing up for the Weekly Watering Number, a service provided by our partners at the Regional Water Providers Consortium which gives you the amount of water (in inches) your lawn will need each week.  It takes into account local weather according to your zip code. Visit to see how much water your lawn needs today!   

Water Bureau Careers Showcased at Women in Trades Fair

By Jaymee Cuti Add a Comment

During the month of May we will feature the stories of some of the talented and dedicated women in trades at the Portland Water Bureau. 

Many of these women volunteer for the annual Women in Trades Career Fair, produced by Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. on May 14. This interactive fair encourages middle and high school girls and women to explore the possibility of a future career in the trades.

For more than 13 years, women from the Portland Water Bureau have been a key part of this unique event with the goal of promoting and supporting the advancement and employment of women in the trades.

“The Portland Water Bureau is a great place to work and build a career. I am proud that we have steady participation in the Women in Trades Career Fair, which strengthens our future workforce,” said Michael Stuhr, Water Bureau Administrator.

Thank you to the professional and talented women in the Water Bureau who have dedicated their career to the trades.

Get to Know the Portland Water Bureau Tradeswomen

Shawna Gawthorne

Shawna worked as a seasonal employee in 1997 for the Bureau of Maintenance. She has a commercial driver’s license and worked for Portland Parks as a seasonal worker in 1998. Then she became a Maintenance Worker on Mt. Tabor. She applied for the Utility Worker II position at the Water Bureau and was hired in 1999. She was a Utility Worker II for six years, working in the field and on a service truck. She was also upgraded to driving six- and 12-yard dump trucks, and operating backhoes. In 2003, Shawna applied to become a Construction Equipment Operator and currently holds that position. She joined the Water Bureau tapping team in 2007 and became an American Water Works Association (AWWA) National Champion in 2008 for the Portland Water Bureau.

Catherine Willison

Catherine applied to become a Utility Worker Apprentice in 2005 and is now a Utility Worker II. She has a commercial driver’s license with upgrades to drive six- and 12-yard dump trucks.

Syngen Coe

Syngen was hired at the Water Bureau in 2007 as an Apprentice Utility Worker. She was a Utility Worker II and is now an Automotive Equipment Operator, operating six- and 12-yard dump trucks. Syngen has a commercial driver’s license. She also volunteers for summer programs and activities at the Water Bureau.

Water Bureau Electricians at Work

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment


During the Groundwater Pump Station run last fall, Portland Water Bureau Electricians Dan, Amy, and Kirk worked together to successfully repair one of the motor winding leads in Main Unit Pump-Motor #4. They got the pump-motor back into operation by replacing the 5kV motor winding lead inside the motor.

During the Mt. Tabor Adjustments project, Water Bureau electricians and operating engineers worked together to remove and relocate the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) previously used for actuator backup power inside the 44” Meter House to its new home in the Electrical Room inside the new Interstate Maintenance Building. The UPS will now provide uninterruptible power for the Water Bureau’s Dispatch Center. Electrician Amy was key in completing this repurposing effort, installing the UPS, new distribution panel, and conduit and wire.


As part of the Lusted Treatment Facility Improvements project, Water Bureau Electrician Kirk installed underground conduit and wire to a generator and reconfigured the existing electrical system to accept the new relocated ATS. Water Treatment Operator II Kyle, Watershed Specialist II Fred, Construction Equipment Operator Marty, Watershed Specialist I Keith, and Carpenter Bruce provided the excavation and concrete pad for the new generator.

Mayor's Proposed Budget Supports Water Bureau Requests

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Last week, Mayor Charlie Hales released the Fiscal Year 2016-17 Proposed Budget.

Read the Proposed Budget 

The Proposed Budget backs the following Portland Water Bureau requests: 

  • Regulatory Monitoring: One-time, rate-funded resources for two positions and operating supplies to develop an in-house Cryptosporidium testing lab.
  • Community Information and Outreach: Ongoing rate-funded resources to add two positions to the bureau’s communications team.
  • Infrastructure Maintenance: Ongoing rate-funded resources to add 3.5 positions to support the maintenance, improvement, and protection of water system infrastructure.
  • Information Processing: Ongoing rate-funded resources to add two positions to address workload in the bureau’s Development Services office.
  • Tabor Preservation Project: One-time General Fund resources to fund a portion of the costs of maintaining, repairing, and preserving the Mt. Tabor reservoirs.
  • Solar Installation: A one-time General Fund resource to support solar installation the Groundwater Pump Station.

The proposed budget also outlines a bill increase for water services of approximately seven (7) percent for the typical single family household. This amounts to an increase of roughly $2.22 per month. Combined with the 3.25 percent rate increase for sewer and storm water services, the typical family would experience a 4.45 percent increase or $4.42 per month. 

Members of the public are invited to learn more about the FY 2016-17 proposed rates by attending the annual Utility Rate Review meetings:

Utility Rate Review
First Reading and Hearing

May 19, 2016
City Hall, Council Chambers
1221 SW 4th Avenue
Portland, OR 97204 
Utility Rate Review
Second Reading

May 25, 2016
City Hall, Council Chambers
1221 SW 4th Avenue
Portland, OR 97204 

Stay in the Know
The City Council will vote to adopt next fiscal year’s budget on June 9, 2016. Visit the Water Bureau’s budget webpage to access key documents and other materials.

Join Our Team: Assistant Program Specialist & Water Meter Technician II

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 Opportunities at the Water Bureau

Position Emp. Type Salary Closing Date/Time Join Our Team 
Assistant Program Specialist Full Time  $4,106.00 - $6,324.00 Monthly Mon. 05/23/16 4:30 PM Pacific Time Apply
Water Meter Technician II Full Time  $23.51 - $27.31 Hourly Mon. 05/09/16 4:30 PM Pacific Time Apply

 Learn More about the Water Bureau 

For more information regarding career opportunities at the Water Bureau, contact the Water Administrative Manager at 503-823-1956 or by e-mail