Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

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

More Contact Info

Geotechnical Survey Work in Washington Park

By Lindsay Wochnick 3 Comments

Geotechnical survey work inside reservoir
Geotechnical survey work inside reservoir

Over the summer months, a contractor for the Portland Water Bureau will be conducting geotechnical survey work in Washington Park. This work is part of the project to make improvements and changes to the two water reservoirs, including installing a 15-million gallon buried reservoir with a reflecting pool on top, generally in the footprint of the existing upper Reservoir #3.

The geotechnical work will involve a crew using equipment to bore deep 12-inch diameter holes in the ground to install landslide monitoring devices that measure ground movement and groundwater depths. Due to the landslide potential around the reservoir sites – dating back to a major slide during the original construction in 1894 – the Water Bureau must explore what steps will be necessary to stabilize the hillside.

Reservoir 4 after major slide in 1894

The survey work will also obtain sub-surface information necessary for the design of the new facilities. Each boring hole monitoring and sampling will take up to 3 days to complete and then be backfilled. Park users are encouraged to avoid these work areas. 

The work is scheduled as follows:

  • Monday, June 17: Road Closure - SW Sherwood Blvd, from SW Kingston Ave. to SW Sacajawea Blvd. The street will be restricted to local access only, from 7:00 AM to 12 Noon. The closure is necessary to bring in a crane to lower equipment into the reservoir.
  • Monday, June 17 through Friday, June 21: With Reservoir #3 drained in advance, a crew will perform borings inside the open reservoir.
  • One day during the week of June 24: Road Closure - SW Sherwood Blvd, from SW Kingston Ave. to SW Sacajawea Blvd. The street will be restricted to local access only, for about three hours.
  • July to August 2013: Crews will perform geotechnical boring throughout Washington Park, including the parking lots near the Japanese Gardens and tennis courts, a service road, and sites around the perimeters of the two open reservoirs.

If you have any questions, please contact Tim Hall, Public Information, at 503-823-6926. Thank you for your cooperation.

Tim Hall
Community Information & Involvement

Join the Portland Water Bureau's Online Community!
Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook. See us on Flickr


Add a Comment



June 15, 2013 at 5:09 PM

I am highly opposed to covering any of the Portland water reservoirs. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Water bills are already monumental for the average family, no matter how we try to conserve. It's unwise to make huge fear-based decisions like this that will impact the majority in Portland. It's obvious the majority DO NOT WANT the reservoirs covered. Their presence adds not only beauty but coolness as people walk around them for their daily exercise. Their beauty is not only soothing to the eyes but also to the mind. Putting them underground and/or covering them will greatly decrease our quality of life in many ways, seen & unseen. Please reconsider this costly & dreadful decision! Thank you.


Russ Gilbertson

June 15, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Dear sir;
I disagree with covering the reservoirs at Mt.Tabor.
We give the terrorist the idea when we cover them.
The next thing we will post guards on every telephone pole and transformer. When will it stop. You are rising the bills higher and higher now at it is, The utility has to hold the line.These costs are fear base. How many years were there before anything like this has happened, around 1911. Please stand up to Washington and say no, but no thanks for your force ideas.
Your truly
Russ Gilbertson



June 21, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Folks: Read the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 & its 1986 & 1996 amendments, & the 8/11/2003 & 1/5/2006 Federal Registers which contain the proposed & final LT2ESWTR. By the way, construction of new open distribution reservoirs for large public water systems (>10,000 population) was outlawed February 16, 1999 under the IESWTR of 1998. For small public water systems (<10,000 population) they were outlawed March 15, 2002. It is now the law of the land. Congress amended the SDWA in 1996 to deal with the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium after the April 1993 Milwaukee, WI Cryptosporidium outbreak due to their south drinking water treatment plant failing. Read the LeChevallier Bull Run watershed Cryptosporidium report which was cited in the LT2ESWTR. Yes, viable & infectious Cryptosporidium parvum was detected in Bull Run surface source water. PWB will build a treatment plant in the watershed at the head works if and when Cryptosporoidium is detected again. No changes will be made to LT2ESWTR before 12/31/2016, & it won't be changed with regards to covering/burying open distribution reservoirs or treatment of watershed surface source water for Cryptosporidium.

If you had read one of the last Back Fence columns in The Oregonian a few years ago, you would know that a local dog had been sickened with cryptosporidiosis. How did 2 dogs become sickened with giardiasis in Gabriel Park's off-leash dog area (where dogs defecate) recently? There was water in the off-leash dog area. Our drinking water comes from only 2 sources: Bull Run watershed surface source water & the ground water from the Columbia South Shore Well Field. We do not get our drinking water from the Columbia River nor the Willamette River. There are no plans to tap these two rivers as sources of drinking water for Portland.

As far as covering/burying the reservoirs, that issue goes back to November 28, 1969. Water Bureau documents are in the Portland Archives & Records Center. Do your own research!

Please review our Code of Conduct rules before posting a comment to this site.
Report Abuse (Please include the specific topic and comment for the fastest response/resolution.)

Post a Comment
E-mail (visible to admins only)
 Remember Info Yes   No
Spam Prevention In the Pacific Northwest, what state is Portland in?