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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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TRAFFIC ADVISORY 07/28/15: Short Stretch of SW Terwilliger Boulevard Reduced to One Lane of Through Traffic on Thursday, July 30

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Approximately 200-feet of SW Terwilliger Boulevard to the north of SW Burlingame Terrace will be reduced to one lane of through traffic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, July 30.

Map of worksiteOfficial Traffic Advisory

Surveyors from the Portland Water Bureau will be replacing right-of-way monument markers in the traveled way. The markers control the location of real property and are extremely important for the determination of public and private land ownership.  Work will consist of driving the markers into the asphalt pavement. 

Flaggers will be stationed to direct traffic traveling north and southbound on SW Terwilliger Boulevard safely around the work zone. Vehicles may experience a short wait while opposing traffic passes. The George Himes Park paved trail following SW Terwilliger Boulevard and bicycle lanes will remain open for use.

Travelers are reminded to stay alert and use caution as traffic may suddenly stop. Alternate routes are encouraged for motorists to avoid traffic delays. 

The Portland Water Bureau’s Survey Team is responsible for providing topographical information, such as base maps for designers, and location survey information for Water Bureau-funded capital construction projects.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Benson Bubblers: Take a Sip

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Benson Bubbler located at SW 5th Avenue & SW Madison Street  
Benson Bubbler located at SW 5th Avenue & SW Madison Street

Perhaps the best known drinking fountains in the City of Roses are the legendary Benson Bubblers, the iconic four bronze bowls that provide fresh drinking water throughout downtown. The Benson Bubblers were named after businessman and philanthropist Simon Benson who donated $10,000 for the purchase and installation of 20 fountains in 1912. 

Today, there are 51 true four-bowl Benson Bubblers. Forty-eight are installed in downtown Portland while three reside on the Eastside. Three bubblers do exist outside of Portland; two in Portland’s sister cities of Sapporo, Japan, and Guadalajara, Mexico, and the third at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Washington State. 

Maintenance is a Must


Ground Maintenance staff are tasked with keeping each of the bubbling fountains cleaned, maintained, and running year round. Cleaning and preserving the different types of fountains takes varying techniques, tools, and parts and much institutional knowledge. The bubblers boost water quality in our distribution system as the water in the pipes stay refreshed.

Practicing Efficiency
The Portland Water Bureau is committed to using water wisely, and has made significant changes in the design and operation of the bubblers over the years to improve their water efficiency.

In 1995, the bureau narrowed the feed lines to the bubblers. This cut water use almost in half. In 2000, the Portland Water Bureau installed timers which shut the fountains off during low-usage periods, generally in the late night and early morning hours. In 2005, the Portland Water Bureau installed small, flow-restricting devices in the bubblers to further reduce the amount of water that each fountain uses. The devices do not affect the physical appearance of the fountains, but they do reduce the amount of water the fountains use by an additional 40 percent.

The bubblers now use less than a tenth of 1 percent of Portland’s daily water demand.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY 07/24/15: SW Market Street Closed between SW 11th & SW 12th Avenues on Sunday, July 26 for New Water Service Install

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

One block of SW Market Street between SW 11th and SW 12th avenues will be closed to traffic from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 26, 2015.

MapTraffic will be detoured to SW Columbia Street.  

The Portland Water Bureau will be installing a new water service for a building on the north side of SW Market Street. Work will consist of trenching across SW Market Street to connect the new service to an existing water main.

Motorists are reminded to stay alert and use caution as traffic may suddenly stop when traveling from Interstate 405 to the SW Market Street off ramp from US 26. Alternate routes are encouraged for motorists to avoid traffic delays.  

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Three Finalists Named to Lead Portland Water Bureau

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

After a nationwide search, Commissioner Nick Fish has decided on three internal candidates as finalists to succeed Portland Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff: Edward Campbell, Michael Stuhr, and Chris Wanner.

The candidates are senior Water Bureau employees with more than a decade of service each at the bureau.

Edward CambpellEdward Campbell is the resource protection and planning group director. Mr. Campbell is responsible for resource protection and planning, including coordination with federal, state and local partners on source protection efforts for both of the Bureau's drinking water sources, long-term planning and policy development work, compliance with environmental regulations, and leading the Bureau's regulatory compliance efforts for the LT2 Rule and the federal Endangered Species Act. He joined the Bureau in 2004 as an assistant to the Administrator and was selected to lead the Resource Protection and Planning Group in August 2005. Prior to coming to the Bureau, Mr. Campbell served as a senior policy advisor, sustainability coordinator and chief of staff to City Commissioner Dan Saltzman and before that as communications director for Multnomah County Chair Beverly Stein. Mr. Campbell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Southern California and a Master of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Virginia.

Michael StuhrMichael Stuhr currently serves as the Water Bureau chief engineer. Mr. Stuhr is responsible for overall management of engineering, its support functions, and administration of the CIP including planning, design, and construction as well as emergency management. Mr. Stuhr joined the Bureau in 2003 and was the Director of Maintenance and Construction during his first two years. Mr. Stuhr has over 30 years experience leading and managing a wide variety of engineering activities and more than 10 years as a senior executive with state, federal, and international experience managing multi-million dollar environmental, water resource, and facilities engineering programs. He is a registered professional Civil Engineer. Mr. Stuhr has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the United States Military Academy, a Master of Science degree in Geotechnical Engineering from Stanford University, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California, Davis.  

Chris WannerChris Wanner is the bureau’s director of operations. Mr. Wanner is responsible for management of operations and maintenance of surface and groundwater supplies, including treatment, transmission, storage, distribution, pump stations and tanks, system analysis, and the SCADA system. Since 1984, Mr. Wanner has held various Bureau positions. He has State of Oregon certifications at the highest levels for both Water Distribution (WD4) and Water Treatment (WT4) and is a veteran of the United States Army. He has Associate degrees in Computer Technologies and Electronic Engineering from Portland Community College and maintains a State of Oregon electrical license. Mr. Wanner has also been assigned to various capacities in the Bureau's ICS including Operations and Incident Commander. Mr. Wanner was appointed as Director of Operations in 2005.

The new director will be likely announced in early August.

Portland’s Water System, 100 Years Ago: The Dry Summer of 1915

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

1915 Clipping from the OregonianWith California, Washington, and several Oregon counties in drought, people on the West Coast have been talking a lot about how we use water.

Here in Portland, we're fortunate: we rely more on rain than on snow; we have a great groundwater source we can use to augment the Bull Run supply; and we have a conservation-minded citizenry.

In the dry summer of 1915, the talk of Portland was also all about how people used water. This editorial from The Oregonian reveals that 100 years ago, the average Portlander used 112 gallons per day. It's a tough number to compare to today's because we're not sure how they did the math, but these days, the average Portlander uses 52 gallons a day at home. (If you include commercial and industrial use, Portlanders use 92 gallons per capita per day.)

Lisa Vieno
Resource Protection & Planning Group