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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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City Commissioner Nick Fish Appoints Chief Engineer Michael Stuhr Director of the Portland Water Bureau

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

City Commissioner Nick Fish announced today his appointment of Michael Stuhr as the new Director of the Portland Water Bureau (PWB).

Michael Stuhr"I am delighted that Mike Stuhr accepted my offer to lead the Portland Water Bureau," said Commissioner Fish. "He has extensive experience with Portland’s unique water system and has an outstanding track record as the bureau’s Chief Engineer. I believe Mike is the right leader to continue the bureau’s proud tradition of delivering high-quality, reliable, and safe drinking water to nearly 1 million Oregonians, from forest to faucet."

Stuhr previously served for ten years as the Water Bureau’s Chief Engineer. In that role he successfully delivered major capital projects on time and on budget, including the new Interstate Operations and Maintenance Center and the Dam 2 Towers project in the Bull Run Watershed. He also served as Co-Chair of the Water and Waste Water Task Group for the Oregon Resilience Plan, a 50-year seismic resilience plan to guide policy and investments statewide.

Stuhr’s appointment follows a national recruitment to fill the position. Commissioner Fish and his team worked with bureau employees, partner organizations, and community members to develop the recruitment materials, review applications and interview candidates.

Stuhr holds a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point, an M.B.A. from the University of California at Davis, and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Stanford University.

"I am honored to be chosen by Commissioner Fish to serve as Director of the Portland Water Bureau," said Stuhr. "I look forward to working with Commissioner Fish and the City Council on our shared priorities: stabilizing rates, providing strong oversight on major capital projects, improving our customers’ experience, and ensuring that we have a resilient and safe water system for generations to come."

Stuhr’s annual salary will be $180,000. He will assume his duties August 31, 2015.

Celebrate Portland’s Hidden Waterway at the Columbia Slough Regatta

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

On Sunday, August 2 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., you are invited take part in the Columbia Slough Regatta.

Participants will meet at 1880 NE Elrod Drive in Portland to enjoy a leisurely group paddle on the safe, calm water of the Columbia Slough.

This family event is held annually and sponsored by the Columbia Slough Watershed CouncilPortland Water Bureau, and many others. The channels and wetlands of the Columbia Slough watershed provide important habitat for bald eagles, turtles, fish, and otters, as well as enthusiastic kayakers and canoeists. The Portland Water Bureau’s Columbia South Shore Well Field is also situated entirely within the slough watershed. 

Photo by: East Portland News

Individuals and families are welcome to bring their own boat or borrow one from the Columbia Slough Watershed Council.

Other activities include community information, paddling safety information, face painting, food for purchase, and free t-shirts. A $8 suggested donation helps to support the Council’s education, restoration, and recreation programs within the watershed. Register now for the event!

If you are interested in volunteering at the Regatta, contact Columbia Slough Watershed Council Volunteer Coordinator Hanna Davis by e-mail.

Doug Wise
Groundwater Protection Program

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