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Protecting Vital Water Connections through Underground Vaults

By Lindsay Wochnick

Work to connect the new 50-million gallon reservoir at Powell Butte toPortland’s drinking water distribution system is underway, and is expected to last through November 2014 at various locations inSoutheast Portland. 

The installation of seven underground vaults is a necessary and crucial step in connecting the new  Powell Butte reservoir to the city’s water system.

To install underground vaults, contractor crews will first excavate a large hole for the vault, which will either be constructed onsite or built elsewhere and put in place. After vault construction or installation is finished – complete with a manhole cover – water connections are made and any electrical work is then performed. The final step is to cover the new vault with gravel and pave over it with asphalt.

Vault on SE 42nd Avenue at SE Division Street Vault on SE 147th Avenue at SE Powell Boulevard

Currently, four vaults have already been installed under two eastside streets:

  • Two side-by-side vaults on SE 147th Avenue at SE Division Street
  • One vault at SE 159th Avenue at SE Harrison Street
  • One vault at SE 42nd Avenue at SE Division Street

Three vaults are scheduled to be installed within the next six months:

  • One vault at SE 67th Avenue and SE Division Street     
  • One vault at SE 68th Avenue and SE Division Street
  • One vault at SE 162nd Street and SE Division Street

While we’ve worked with nearby residents and businesses to minimize construction impacts and ensure safe worksites and clearly marked detour routes, some noise, truck traffic, and street access impacts will be unavoidable. 

Your patience is appreciated as we work to upgrade and improve our community’s century-old water system, which first produced drinking water for Portlanders in 1895.

We work hard to be good neighbors when we do construction projects. For more project information, and to share your feedback, please call us at 503-823-6926.

Tim Hall
Public Information 


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