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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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Improving Water Reliability in the SW Hills of Portland

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Two important capital improvement projects are being conducted in the Southwest Hills of Portland this summer to strengthen the reliability of the water supply in the Bertha Service Area (BSA). While fairly straightforward, these projects present challenges due to the impacts on the neighborhoods and traffic in the area. The contractors and the Water Bureau’s Maintenance & Construction crews are also challenged working on narrow, aging streets.

Bertha Service Area Improvement Project
The BSA Improvement project interconnects two pressure zone systems that increase the reliability of the systems and provide a secondary, back-up service for the pressure zones. This project will also replace existing 4-inch galvanized main with a new 8-inch main.  For project updates and the construction schedule, visit


SW Carolina Pump Mains-Phase 2
Just down the hill, Phase 2 of the SW Carolina Pump Mains Project is also underway. The objective for both Phases 1 and 2 is to interconnect the Fulton Pump Station to the Burlingame Tank system, and the Carolina Pump Station to the Westwood Tank System. This increases the reliability of the Burlingame Service Area.


Contractors are installing 3,400 feet of new 24-inch diameter transmission line, which will tie into the existing 24-inch Carolina Pump Main. In addition, a magnetic meter and vault and intertie vault will be installed. For additional information on the project, including traffic alerts and detours, visit the project webpage at

Terry Black
Public Information

Earn as You Learn as a Water Bureau Apprentice

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Utility Worker II Apprentices  
Utility Worker II Apprentices

The Portland Water Bureau is unique among City bureaus as well as many other water providers in utilizing an apprenticeship program -- sanctioned by the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) -- for the purpose of developing future Utility Worker IIs and Water Operations Mechanics. Under the supervision of journey-level Utility Workers and Water Operations Mechanics, apprentices develop the skills and experience needed to insure the proper maintenance of the water system while protecting the public’s health. 

Utility Worker Apprentices complete 4,000 hours (approximately two years) and Water Operations Mechanic Apprentices complete 6,000 hours of on the job and classroom training before graduating the programs. Unlike many apprenticeship programs which release apprentices to find jobs elsewhere, Water Bureau apprentices who complete their apprenticeship are eligible for appointment to the journey level position in their respective classes.

Automotive Equipment Operator Kevin trainings an Apprentice on how to safely run the concrete saw.  
Automotive Equipment Operator Kevin trainings an Apprentice on how to safely run the concrete saw.

Presently, two new classes of employees have begun their apprenticeship with the Water Bureau.  On April 10, eight employees were promoted to Water Operations Mechanic Apprentice from their previous classes that included Utility Worker II, Utility Locator, and Utility Worker Apprentice.  On June 5, the Water Bureau welcomed 12 new employees into the bureau to begin their work as Utility Worker Apprentices.  These employees bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the bureau.  Our well-trained apprentices are already contributing greatly to maintenance work by including installing new mains, fixing main breaks, renewing and repairing services and hydrants, installing and maintaining valves, and replacing obsolete meters.

Utility Worker II Apprentices digging in unison.  
Utility Worker II Apprentices digging in unison.

Because it takes years to train our workforce, it is important to look years into the future to make sure we are able to maintain the capacity necessary to meet the work demands of the system. 

“The addition of new apprentices is always an exciting time,” says Water Bureau Program Coordinator Carol Stahlke. “They add a burst of energy to our workforce and give our experienced employees the opportunity to share their important knowledge.”

Water main work will close northbound lane of SW Terwilliger Blvd. north of SW Capitol Hwy. overnight this weekend

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Contractors for the Portland Water Bureau will work overnight on Friday and Saturday, September 12 and 13, on SW Terwilliger Boulevard, approximately 200 feet north of the intersection of SW Capitol Highway. 

Work in the road will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, September 12 and end at 7 a.m. on Saturday, September 13. Work will resume Saturday at 8 p.m. and end early Sunday September 14 morning. The northbound lane will be closed for approximately 200 feet and flaggers will direct traffic around the construction zone.

Information on the project can be found here.

Contact Terry Black, Public Outreach at 503-823-1168 with questions.

NE Sandy Water Main Repaired, Street Repair Begins

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The water main break on Northeast Sandy Boulevard between NE 131st and 138th  avenues has been repaired. Water service has been restored.

Oregon Department of Transportation contractors have begun work on the street repair. Sandy Boulevard will remain closed for the next several days, from NE 122nd to NE 138th avenues, for the repair. Alternate routes are Airport Way and Halsey.

Yesterday, September 10, a 16-inch water pipe ruptured, causing water to flow into the immediate area. Water Bureau crews shut down the water main and made the repair overnight.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY 09/10/14: Northeast Sandy Boulevard closed between Northeast 131st and 138th Avenues due to water main break

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A water main break on Northeast Sandy Boulevard between Northeast 131st and 138th  avenues has closed down both east and westbound lanes. Traffic is being detoured around the site. Traffic is advised to avoid the area.  

Early this afternoon a 16-inch water pipe ruptured, causing water to flow into the immediate area. Water Bureau crews are onsite shutting down the water and making repairs. It is unknown at this time how many customers may be out of water but some multifamily units are affected.

Customers in the area may be experiencing dirty water and/or low pressure at their home. The discoloration does not pose a health risk. However, avoid using tap water or running the washing machine or dishwasher until the repair is complete. If customers experienced dirty water, once the repair is complete, turn on each cold water faucets and allow them to run for several minutes or until the water is clear. Updates will be posted here.