Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.

GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Kelly Butte Reservoir Project

  • Kelly Butte Reservoir Project

    In 1969, the Portland Water Bureau built a 10-million-gallon above ground steel tank atop Kelly Butte. Following construction, the Water Bureau replanted the site with trees and shrubs.

  • Preparing for the Future

    In September 2012, City Council voted to move forward with replacing the old tank with a new 25-million-gallon reinforced underground reservoir. The project will assist the bureau in meeting the EPA’s deadline for protecting finished drinking water.

  • Tank Removal & Site Excavation

    By the end of 2012, the steel storage tank was completely demolished and removed. Fencing and erosion control were installed and crews worked to excavate the tank site.

  • Reservoir Rises from the Ground

    By December 2013, momentous progress had been made in the multifaceted process of building the 25-million-gallon underground reservoir, access roads & an intricate network of underground piping, multiple vaults & valve structures.

  • Building for Today, Planning for Tomorrow

    By July 2014, crews completed pouring the reservoir’s 400-foot by 300-foot floor and roof, as well as 252 supporting columns, and its five walls (four sides, one divider wall). Testing of the new reservoir is scheduled to begin later this summer.

  • 25-Million Gallon Reinforced Underground Reservoir

    Crews have strategically poured the reservoir’s floor, walls, and supporting columns. 252 columns support the roof and 266 20-foot by 20-foot squares compose the reservoir’s floor. (June 2014 photo)

  • Water Meter Vault

    Crews have finished constructing a 23-foot wide by 40-foot long water connection vault under the westbound lane of SE Powell Boulevard. The vault houses large, complex piping and device assemblies. (June 2014 Photo)

  • Overflow Basin

    Currently under construction is an overflow basin on Kelly Butte’s hillside. To help provide stability, large soil nails were drilled and grouted into the slope.

  • Valve Structures

    Several valve structures have been constructed onsite and will be responsible for providing the controlled release of water flow to and from the reservoir. (June 2014 photo)

  • The Future of Kelly Butte

    The Kelly Butte Reservoir will not only serve east Portland, but will also be a stopover for water supplied to the Washington Park reservoir and southwest Portland area water storage tanks.

 

PROJECT UPDATES

July 28, 2014

Project updates:

July 2014 aerial photo of worksite
July 2014 aerial view of work site

  • Reservoir: Crews have completed pouring the reservoir’s 400-foot by 300-foot floor and roof, as well as 252 supporting columns, and its five walls (four sides, one divider wall). Work to install appurtenances inside the reservoir (washdown piping, stairs, railings) are underway. Electrical and instrumentation systems will be installed and operating to create a functioning facility. Testing of the new reservoir is scheduled to begin later this summer.
  • Valve Structures: During July, crews will install electrical systems and conduits, as well as the HVAC systems in the north and south valve structures. The structures are designed to protect equipment that precisely control water flow to and from the reservoir.
  • Pipe Connection: In February, crews began construction of a large concrete vault under the westbound lane in the 9700 block of SE Powell Boulevard. By late June, the vault was constructed, waterproofed, and backfilled. In early July, SE Powell Boulevard was resurfaced, striped, and paved.
  • Overflow Detention Basin & Stormwater Overflow Pond: Currently under construction is a new detention overflow basin and storm water pond.     

July 18, 2014

In just under two years, Portland Water Bureau and Hoffman Construction Company crews have made momentous progress in building the new 25-million-gallon underground reservoir, access roads, overflow basin, and an intricate network of underground piping, multiple vaults and valve structures atop Kelly Butte in southeast Portland.

The entire project is slated for completion in summer 2015. Take a look back at all the progress!

 

July 7, 2014

One Lane of Westbound Traffic on SE Powell Blvd. Closed July 10-11 for Street Restriping
The Portland Water Bureau will be closing one lane of westbound traffic on SE Powell Boulevard, between SE 97th and SE 100th avenues, beginning 9:00 pm on Thursday, July 10 and lasting until the early morning of Friday, July 11. The closure will allow crews to restripe the westbound lanes. The closure was previously scheduled for July 7-8 but was postponed.

Safety First

  • For the overnight project, flaggers will direct both lanes of traffic safely around the work site.
  • Motorists and bicyclists are advised to use caution on SE Powell Boulevard in this area.
  • Motorists and bicyclists should watch for construction workers, be ready for sudden stops and obey all traffic controls and flaggers.
  • To avoid traffic delays, use alternate routes. 

Restoring SE Powell Boulevard 
In June, crews finished the construction of a 23-foot wide by 40-foot long concrete vault under the westbound lane of SE Powell Boulevard, directly in front of the Central Church of the Nazarene. The vault houses complex piping connected to the city's new 25-million gallon underground reservoir atop Kelly Butte. The westbound lane that was previously excavated to make room for the vault has been restored; the final step in the process will be to restripe the lanes.


June 27, 2014

One Lane of Westbound Traffic on SE Powell Blvd. Closed July 1 - 3 for Concrete-Island Construction

The Portland Water Bureau will be closing one lane of westbound traffic on SE Powell Boulevard between SE 97th and SE 100th avenues starting Tuesday, July 1 to Thursday, July 3. The closure will be daily from 9:0 0 am to 4:00 pm in order to construct a concrete-island between the east and west bound lanes. 

For the three-day project, flaggers will direct both lanes of traffic safely around the work site. The Water Bureau warns motorists and bicyclists to use caution on SE Powell Boulevard in this area. Motorists and bicyclists should watch for construction workers, be ready for sudden stops and obey all traffic controls and flaggers. To avoid traffic delays, motorists should use alternate routes.

In June, crews finished the construction of a 23-foot wide by 40-foot long concrete vault under the westbound lane of SE Powell Boulevard, directly in front of the Central Church of the Nazarene. The vault houses complex piping connected to the city's new 25-million gallon underground reservoir atop Kelly Butte. To accommodate space for the vault construction work zone, the previous concrete island was removed. Crews will construct a new island which will again limit left-turn access into the church on SE Powell Boulevard.

June 17, 2014

Vault Construction on SE Powell Blvd Completed; Street Repaving Set to Begin Night of June 19

The Portland Water Bureau has completed the water vault construction work on SE Powell Boulevard between the I-205 freeway and SE 100th Avenue. 

Street repaving work will start at 9:00 pm on Thursday, June 19.  One lane of westbound traffic on SE Powell Boulevard, between SE 97th and SE 100th Avenues, will be closed.  Flaggers will direct both lanes of traffic safely around the paving work.  The work is estimated to be completed by 5:00 am on Friday, June 20.

The Portland Water Bureau warns motorists and bicyclists to use caution on SE Powell Boulevard. Motorists and bicyclists should watch for construction workers, be ready for sudden stops, and obey all traffic controls and flaggers. To avoid traffic delays, use alternate routes.

In late February 2014, crews began the process to construct the large concrete vault under the westbound lane of SE Powell Boulevard, directly in front of the Central Church of the Nazarene. The 23-foot wide by 40-foot long vault now houses complex piping connected to the city’s new 25-million gallon underground reservoir atop Kelly Butte.

June 4, 2014

Improvements Scheduled on SE 101st Avenue as Part of the Kelly Butte Reservoir Project

Beginning soon this month, a contractor working for the Portland Water Bureau on the Kelly Butte Reservoir project will make improvements at the southern end of SE 101st Avenue to the north of Kelly Butte. 

The improvements will include the installation of a seven-foot wide sidewalk on the west side of the street between the SE 101st Avenue pump station and the cul-de-sac at the end of the road. Sidewalk construction is slated to begin around the end of June and will take about one week to complete.  

As part of the sidewalk construction, three trees and shrubs along the right-of-way will need to be removed. Tree and shrub removal is scheduled to take one to two days. In addition, a security camera will be installed at the entrance to the Portland Water Bureau’s maintenance entry.

The new Kelly Butte Reservoir coupled with the second 50-million gallon underground reservoir under construction at Powell Butte Nature Park will allow Portland to comply with the federal mandate Long-Term 2 Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2) and reduce the seismic vulnerability of east side water storage. Once reservoir construction is complete at Kelly Butte, more than 1,667 trees and 7,254 shrubs will be planted on the butte. 

April 24, 2014

Update - Water Vault Construction under SE Powell Boulevard 

Water vault construction underway

The water vault excavation project on SE Powell Boulevard between SE 97th Avenue and SE 100th Avenue is making steady progress and is on schedule for completion in summer 2014.

In February 2014, crews overseen by Hoffman Construction Company began the process to construct a large concrete vault under the westbound lane in the 9700 block of SE Powell Boulevard, directly in front of the Central Church of the Nazarene. The 23-foot wide by 40-foot long vault will house complex piping that will connect to the city’s new 25-million gallon underground reservoir atop Kelly Butte. 

Excavation to accommodate the vault was completed in mid-March 2014. Crews have completed the floor, placed the large piping, and poured the lower walls of the structure. Crews will continue forming, reinforcing, and pouring the upper concrete walls, roof, and stairway, under favorable weather conditions, during the next month. Once the structure is completed and the concrete has properly cured, the vault will be waterproofed and backfilled. Resurfacing of SE Powell Boulevard is on schedule to be performed in June 2014.

March 28, 2014

Kelly Butte Reservoir Takes Shape  

Kelly Butte Reservoir worksite January 2014

Over the past 18 months, crews have made tremendous progress on construction of the new 25-million-gallon underground reservoir, access roads, overflow basin, and an intricate network of underground piping, multiple vaults and valve structures a top Kelly Butte in Southeast Portland. 

This new reservoir replaces a 10-million above-ground reservoir which was built in the 19X0s. The old reservoir was not large enough to meet Portland’s growing water needs, was not seismically sound, and had regular maintenance issues. The new 25-million gallon reservoir, which will be out of sight under a grassy field surrounded by oak trees upon completion, will be built to current seismic code and will provide adequate water to meet Portland’s needs for generations to come.

Concrete pour in column east cell

Crews are now working to strategically pour the reservoir’s floor, walls, and supporting columns. Several valve structures (valves are pipe connection locations) recently constructed on-site will control the water flow to and from the reservoir.

In tandem, crews are installing a 23-foot wide by 40-foot long valve in a vault under the westbound lane in the 9700 block of SE Powell Boulevard. The new valve is a critical step in connecting the new reservoir to the existing water supply conduit. The prefabricated concrete vault will house large, complex piping and device assemblies. 

March 20, 2014

Crews Complete the Underground Water Vault Excavation on SE Powell Boulevard -- Crews overseen by Hoffman Construction Company have completed the excavation of a 30-foot wide by 60-foot long space under the westbound lane in the 9700 block of SE Powell Boulevard. Over the next couple months, a 23-foot wide by 40-foot long water vault will be constructed in the excavation’s footprint. 

During excavation, engineered shoring was installed to provide safety for workers entering the trench.

During the week of March 24th, crews will build the base pad of the new vault. Rebar will then be placed horizontally inside the base to support and add additional strength to the concrete floor. Crews will next pour the concrete floor, under favorable weather conditions.

The water vault will house complex piping that will connect to the city’s new 25-million gallon underground reservoir atop Kelly Butte.

March 6, 2014

Underground Water Vault Excavation on SE Powell Boulevard Underway -- The water vault excavation project on SE Powell Boulevard between SE 97th Avenue and SE 100th Avenue is underway and proceeding on schedule. 

Excavation a 30-foot wide by 60-foot long space. 
Excavation underway

Crews, managed by the Primary Contractor Hoffman Construction Company, are in process of excavating a 30-foot wide by 60-foot long space under the westbound lane in the 9700 block of SE Powell Boulevard. Shoring is being installed to provide safety for workers entering the trench.

Installing shoring system 
Installing shoring system

Over the next couple months, a 23-foot wide by 40-foot long water vault will be constructed in the excavation’s footprint. Once excavation is complete, crews will construct the slab on grade for the vault, install the new connection piping and then finish constructing the vault.

Aerial photo of Kelly Butte Reservoir - January 2014  
Aerial photo of worksite, January 2014 

Construction of the vault is anticipated to be completed in June 2014, under normal weather conditions. The water vault will house complex piping that will connect to the city’s new 25-million gallon underground reservoir atop Kelly Butte. The reservoir, scheduled for completion in 2015, is 60 percent complete. 

January 25, 2014

During the late night and early morning hours on Tuesday, February 25th and Wednesday, February 26, 2014, Portland Water Bureau crews will be closing one lane of westbound traffic on SE Powell Boulevard between SE 97th Avenue and SE 100th Avenue to prepare a work zone for an upcoming water vault excavation project.

Motorists traveling east and westbound on SE Powell Boulevard will be directed by flaggers past the work zone.

After the preparation work is complete, a contractor for the Portland Water Bureau will start a four-month long project to construct a large concrete vault under the westbound lane in the 9700 block of SE Powell Boulevard, directly in front of the Central Church of the Nazarene. The 30 foot wide by 60 foot long vault will house complex piping that will connect to the city’s new 25-million gallon underground reservoir atop Kelly Butte.

This work was previously scheduled to begin in early February, but was delayed due to inclement weather.  

Motorists traveling on SE Powell Boulevard can expect the following:

  • During the vault construction, there will be no traffic lane closures on SE Powell Boulevard.
  • East and westbound traffic lanes on SE Powell Boulevard, between SE 97th Avenue and SE 100th Avenue, will be shifted around the work zone. 
  • The bicycle lane on that section of SE Powell Boulevard will be closed for safety reasons during the construction.
  • Northbound access to Interstate 205 freeway will be open.
  • The sidewalk along the south-side of SE Powell Boulevard will be open.
  • The sidewalk on the north-side of SE Powell Boulevard will be closed.
  • TriMet’s bus stops on SE Powell Boulevard near the work zone will be open. 

The Water Bureau encourages travelers to please use caution on SE Powell Boulevard. Be sure to watch for construction workers, be ready for sudden stops, and obey all traffic controls and flaggers. To avoid traffic delays, motorists and bicyclists should use alternate routes.

Construction of the vault is scheduled for completion this summer 2014, under normal weather conditions. 

The Kelly Butte Reservoir will serve Portland’s east-side water customers, and be a stopover to supply water to the Washington Park reservoir and southwest Portland area water storage tanks.


Previous project updates can be viewed here.

Project Background
On September 5, 2012, the Portland City Council voted to move forward with the Portland Water Bureau’s plan to replace the 10-million-gallon above ground steel tank atop Kelly Butte in southeast Portland with a 25-million-gallon underground reservoir. The project will allow Portland to comply with federal rules that will lead to the three Mount Tabor open reservoirs being disconnected from the city’s water system. Total project cost is estimated at $90 million.

Kelly Butte is a forested hill near the intersection of SE Powell Boulevard and Interstate 205 freeway. The 10-million-gallon water storage tank was placed on top of Kelly Butte in 1969. The Kelly Butte Storage Improvement Project will replace the steel tank with a new buried 25 million gallon reinforced concrete reservoir. The project is being constructed by the Portland Water Bureau to meet stricter rules required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that require the city to disconnect its five open reservoirs in Mount Tabor Park by 2015 and Washington Park by 2020.

The new reservoir will be in the same general location, but will have a larger footprint, approximately 400 x 300 feet in dimension. However, the larger replacement tank will be located underground. There will be a need for additional or upgraded piping to the new reservoir.

The contract for the construction project has been awarded to Hoffman Construction Company of Oregon.   

Project Schedule
Construction of the new underground reservoir began in October 2012 and will be completed by the end of 2014. The proposed schedule is as follows:

  • Fall 2012-Winter 2013: Road building and existing tank demolition; fencing and erosion controls installed.
  • Winter-Summer 2013: Excavation of tank site.
  • Summer-end of 2014: Underground tank concrete work.
  • Early 2015: Final landscaping and site restoration

Project Impacts
The Portland Water Bureau is committed to reducing construction impacts to residents and businesses as much as reasonably possible during construction. As the project is being built atop Kelly Butte, the impact to the community will be largely from increased heavy truck volume on SE Powell Boulevard, SE Division Street, 122nd and 112th Avenues, and the I-205 freeway. There will also be minor sidewalk construction work on 101st Avenue north of Kelly Butte. 

Work Hours
Construction activity will normally take place during weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  There will be no construction activities on Sundays due to the close proximity of the Central Church of the Nazarene. During the summer months, the contractor has the options to work longer hours, and Saturdays and nights, with City approval.

Traffic
There will be an obvious increase in truck traffic caused by construction vehicles entering and leaving the property.

For the Kelly Butte Reservoir Project, the only legal access to the construction site is off SE Powell Boulevard, a state highway. Large volume truck traffic through the neighborhood to the north would be inconvenient to the residents. Further, there would be the major expense of building up roadway access on the north side of the butte through an environmental zone. Truck access on SE Powell Boulevard will be right turn in / right turn out.

Noise
The neighboring church and businesses may experience construction noise from machinery and large trucks working on the project site. Others may notice increased traffic noise from trucks hauling dirt or other construction related loads away from and to the site.

How Will the Site Be Restored?
This section of Kelly Butte will likely look much different when the project is complete. To accommodate the underground structure, a large amount of soil will need to be removed and later backfilled on the site, making the final elevations different. Many invasive plant species, like Himalayan blackberry, will be removed, and many native plant species will be added. Many native trees and meadow grass will be planted once the tank work is completed.

Project in the News

Additional Information
For information about this project, contact Tim Hall, Public Information, at 503-823-6926 or 503-381-0056 (cell).

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as the Portland Water Bureau works to improve the city’s century old water system.