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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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Water Bureau’s First Woman Chief Engineer

By Jaymee Cuti Add a Comment

Photo by Sam Tenney, Daily Journal of CommerceWater Bureau Principal Engineer Teresa Elliott was appointed as the Portland Water Bureau’s Chief Engineer.

She holds the distinction of being the Water Bureau’s first woman in that role.

“I am honored to be the first woman in this role at the Water Bureau,” said Teresa. “I chose to dedicate my career to public service a long time ago and I lead by example. We have work ahead. This allows me to continue to guide and direct current projects and to continue the seismic resiliency work to make our water system safer and stronger for years to come.”

Click to read more about Teresa in the Daily Journal of Commerce.

Photo by Sam Tenney, Daily Journal of Commerce.

Be Water Wise: Water Pipe Insurance Policies not Affiliated with Portland Water Bureau

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Private home insurance companies are again conducting sales mailings offering water service line insurance in Portland.

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 insurance carrier. 

These private companies send letters to Portland residents offering a repair plan for the water service line extending from the resident’s house to the water distribution pipeline, which usually runs from the water meter in front of the house.

These letters state that the line extending from the house to the water meter is the homeowner’s responsibility. This means that if the pipeline experiences a crack or break, the resident is responsible for all associated costs.

While this is in fact true, some sales literature from such insurance companies has confused some residents, making them feel that they are required to have an insurance policy that is separate from their homeowner’s policy to cover any water utility line damage. This is not true.

Here are the facts that you need to know:

  • There are no laws that require you to insure the water line.
  • It is completely up to you to decide whether you want or need this type of coverage, and through which company you want to buy such a policy.
  • If you receive a phone call from a sales person employed by a private company and they introduce themselves as having a relationship with the “water department,” this is false information. The Water Bureau is a public utility, and does not contract/affiliate with any insurance providers.

Before signing an annual insurance plan that protects your water service line, the Water Bureau urges caution. Some plans may be legitimate offers, but make sure to examine the fine print.

If you are interested in water service line insurance, the Water Bureau encourages you to consider the following information:

  • Review your homeowner's policy and determine if water line coverage is already provided. If you do have water line coverage, make sure to contact your insurance company and ask how this coverage would work in conjunction with an annual insurance plan.
  • Determine if you have prior issues with your water line pipes or if there have been any issues in your neighborhood. This will help you in deciding the necessity of purchasing an annual insurance plan.
  • Compare several private insurance policies to make sure you find the policy the best suits your needs.
  • Read the fine print in the annual insurance plan carefully.
  • Check the company standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Business Review and see their rating and any past government actions or advertising concerns BBB has found.

If you are ever concerned about anything related to your water service, please call Water Bureau Customer Service at 503-823-7770.

Join Our Team: Emergency Program Coordinator & Customer Service 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 Jobs Available at the Water Bureau

Position   Emp. Type   Salary   Closing Date
 Emergency Program Coordinator Full Time $5,496.00 - $7,330.00 Monthly Mon. 09/28/15 4:30 PM Pacific Time
 Customer Service Supervisor Full Time $5,773.00 - $7,708.00 Monthly Mon. 09/21/15 4:30 PM Pacific Time 

Learn More about the Water Bureau 

For more information on jobs at the Water Bureau, contact the Water Administrative Manager at 503-823-1956 or by e-mail

TRAFFIC ADVISORY 09/11/15: Valve Repair at SE 147th Avenue & SE Powell Boulevard Scheduled September 14-18, 2015; Traffic Slowing Around Work Zone Expected

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

From Monday, September 14 to Friday, September 18, a contractor overseen by the Portland Water Bureau will access an underground vault through a manhole cover at SE 147th Avenue and SE Powell Boulevard to conduct a water system valve emergency repair.

Typically, work hours each day will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Due to the manhole cover’s location, traffic control and flaggers will be in place to help safely move motorists and bicyclists traveling west on SE Powell Boulevard around the work at the intersection of SE 147th Avenue and SE Powell Boulevard.

Motorists and bicyclists are encouraged to safely move around the cones, watch for signage, and stay alert and use caution as traffic may suddenly stop. Pedestrian access on the west side of SE Powell Boulevard will remain open.

As alternative routes of travel, utilize SE Division Street, SE Holgate Boulevard, and SE Foster Road.

The pipeline was installed in 2014 and protects the vital water connections of Powell Butte Reservoir 2 to the city’s water system.

Click here to access a Google Map of the work site.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Washington Park Reservoir Project: Historic Landmarks Commission Meeting Rescheduled for October 26

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 is moving forward with a project to update the Washington Park reservoir site. 


The public meeting before the Historic Landmarks Commission on the Type III Historic Review application for the Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project is rescheduled to 1:30 p.m., Monday, October 26, 2015, at 1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Portland, Oregon.

No public testimony will be taken during this meeting.

Public Meeting Rescheduled
On August 10, 2015, a public hearing was held before the Commission to review the Type III Historic Review application. The Commission listened to public testimony, evaluated the Water Bureau’s Type III Historic Resource Review Land Use application, and reviewed the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) staff report. 

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Commission held the record open for two weeks to receive new evidence, another week to receive responses from all interested parties, and a final week to receive the applicant’s (Water Bureau) rebuttal of evidence in the record. The public record closed September 8, 2015.

The Commission was scheduled to deliberate on the proposal and make a tentative decision at a public meeting on September 14, 2015. This meeting has been rescheduled to October 26, 2015.

The Type III application describes the proposed project’s construction of a covered reservoir, reflecting pools, lowland habitat area/bioswale, and walkways along with historic preservation and rehabilitation actions. These new features will offer the public enhanced access to the surface water features and classically-designed gatehouses, dams, and related structures.

A courtesy copy of the application submitted to Bureau of Development Services (BDS) is posted on the Water Bureau’s website at To view or obtain copies of the official document, contact BDS directly. 

Project Details
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.

The lower Reservoir 4 basin and the slope west of it 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.

The Washington Park Reservoir Project includes three Land Use Reviews (LUR): 

1. Type IV Demolition Review application: The application proposed the removal of the Weir Building (screen house), portions of lower Reservoir 4’s basin, and upper Reservoir 3’s basin in Washington Park.

2. Type III Historic Review application: The application describes the proposed project’s construction of a covered reservoir, reflecting pools, lowland habitat area/bioswale, and walkways along with historic preservation and rehabilitation actions.        

3. Type III Conditional Use/ Environmental/Tree Reviews application: The application addresses development impacts to the site, park, and surrounding neighborhoods, tree protection, natural-area restoration, and construction and traffic management for the Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project.

Before work permits are issued or construction begins, all applications must be approved. The applications are a result of a robust public involvement process that included multiple public open houses and nine Community Sounding Board meetings that guided design for the required visible features of the Washington Park project. For more information on the Type III and IV LUR processes, visit the BDS website.

Additional Information & Contacts
For detailed project information, visit the project webpage or contact Water Bureau Public Information staff at 503-823-3028 or by e-mail.  Visit the Bureau of Development Services’ website or call 503-823-7300 for more information on the land use review application process.