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February 12, 2015: Washington Park Reservoir Project Initial Land Use Review Application Complete; Public Comment Period Open & Hearing Scheduled

In order to comply with federal and state mandates, and ensure a healthy, resilient, and secure water system, the Portland Water Bureau is moving forward with a project to update the Washington Park reservoir site.

In December 2014, the Water Bureau submitted the first of two Land Use Review (LUR) applications (Type IV) to the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services (BDS) for the proposed Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project.

The initial Type IV LUR application proposes the removal of the Weir Building (screen house), portions of lower Reservoir 4’s basin, and upper Reservoir 3’s basin in Washington Park. The gatehouses, dams, and other historic features will be protected and restored.

On February 9, 2015, BDS deemed the initial Type IV LUR application complete and issued a “Request for Response.” The Request for Response officially opens the public comment period and includes dates of upcoming public hearings.

Key DatesPublic Comment Period Open
The public is now invited to review and submit comments on the Water Bureau’s initial Type IV LUR application. A copy of the land use application submitted to BDS will be posted on the Water Bureau’s project webpage at  Note that BDS maintains the official application record, which tracks updates and revisions over time.

Comments received by Monday, March 9, will be part of the official record and included in the staff report presented during the upcoming Historic Landmarks Commission public hearing. Comments can be e‑mailed to, faxed to 503-823-5630, or mailed to the below address. Please reference Land Use Review number LU 14-249689 in any communications.

Hillary Adam
Land Use Services, Bureau of Development Services
RE: LU 14-249689
1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 4500
Portland, OR 97201

Public comments after March 9 can be mailed to the Historic Landmarks Commission at 1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 4500, Portland, OR 97201 or faxed to 503-823-5630.

Testify at Public Hearings
A Historic Landmarks Commission public hearing will be held on Monday, March 23 at 1:30 p.m. on the second floor of 1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Conference Room 2500A.

During the hearing, the Commission will listen to public testimony and review the initial Type IV LUR application and staff report that includes mailed, faxed, or e-mailed public comments. After the hearing, the Commission will forward a letter with recommendations to the Portland City Council.

The City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Thursday, April 23 to make the final decision on the initial LUR application.

The Water Bureau will post signage along the perimeter of Washington Park that includes the official notification of the two scheduled public hearings.

Next Steps
In spring 2015, the Water Bureau will submit a second LUR application package that includes two Type III applications. The LUR package will propose the construction of a new covered reservoir, reflecting pools, lowland habitat area/bioswale, walkways, and historic preservation and rehabilitation actions.

The second LUR application process will also include comments periods and public hearings to ensure public notification and the opportunity to comment before a final land use decision is rendered. 

Before work permits are issued or construction begins, all LUR applications must be approved. This includes the initial Type IV LUR application and the Type III LUR application package.

The LUR applications are a result of a robust public involvement process that included multiple public open houses and nine Community Sounding Board (CSB) meetings that guided design for the required visible features of the Washington Park project.

Project Details
The Water Bureau’s Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project proposes to build a new below-ground reservoir in the same general footprint as the existing upper Reservoir 3, with a reflecting pool on top. The lower Reservoir 4 basin and the slope to the west are needed to provide landslide abatement; the slope will be restored to its pre-reservoir condition. Reservoir 4 will be disconnected from the public drinking water system and a lowland habitat area/bioswale and a reflecting pool are also proposed in the Reservoir 4 basin. Work will primarily be within the Historic District.

The project addresses major reservoir issues, including recurrent landslide damage, compliance with federal law, seismic vulnerability, and deterioration of the 120 year-old structures.

Additional Information & Contacts
For detailed project information, visit the project webpage or contact Water Bureau Public Information staff by e-mail or at 503-823-3028. Visit the Bureau of Development Services’ website or call 503-823-7300 for more information on the land use review application process.