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Portland Water Bureau

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UPDATED -- NEWS RELEASE 04/16/14: Portland Reservoir Off-Line After Man Cited for Urinating in Water Supply

By Lindsay Wochnick

April 17, 2014
1:30 p.m

CORRECTION: The three men were excluded from Mt. Tabor Park for trespassing and one man for public urination. 

April 16, 2014
5:00 p.m.


Video surveillance courtesy of the Portland Water Bureau.
Access video directly on YouTube.

Downloadable file: Official News Release 

The Portland Water Bureau provides the highest quality water, customer service and stewardship of our critical natural resource.

Just after 1 a.m. Wednesday, April 16, 2014, Portland Water Bureau security staff observed on camera three men at Mt. Tabor Reservoir Number 5 in Southeast Portland. A 19-year old man was filmed urinating through the iron fence into the reservoir. Minutes later, the two other men, ages 18 and 19, attempted to scale the fence, with one successfully entering the reservoir.

These actions forced the Water Bureau to immediately take the 50-million gallon Mt. Tabor Reservoir 5 off-line and test for possible contamination.

A Portland Police Bureau officer and Portland Water Bureau ranger quickly responded. The three men were excluded from Mt. Tabor Park for trespassing and one man for public urination. Police will review the surveillance video to determine whether the men will be charged with a crime.

David Shaff, Portland Water Bureau Administrator, reported that about 38-million gallons of drinking water will be discarded and replaced with fresh water from the Bull Run water supply.

Water quality test samples from the reservoir were taken early this morning, with test results due back by Thursday, April 17.

Shaff acknowledged the public health risk is slight, but says that the bureau will not serve purposely tainted drinking water to the public.

"Our customers have an expectation that their water is not deliberately contaminated. We have the ability to meet that expectation while minimizing public health concerns," said Shaff. "We will continue to provide our customers with safe, clean and cold Bull Run water."

Video surveillance and reports written by the Portland Police Bureau and the Portland Water Bureau will be submitted to the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office for possible criminal charges.

In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that all finished drinking water be stored in covered reservoirs. The City of Portland is in the process of complying with this federal mandate and Reservoir 5 on Mt. Tabor is slated to be permanently disconnected by December 31, 2015.

Please check back here as more information becomes available.

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