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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

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Project Updates

This page was created for this project website to share more information and offer ongoing updates for both the Land Use Review processes and construction schedules. Project updates and schedules will be posted on a regular basis so that the public will know where to expect temporary construction impacts while visiting the park.

October 2016 Update 

The contractor for the Portland Water Bureau, JW Fowler, continues to make progress on the piping activities in Work Area 5, which is below Reservoir 1. Work will soon move to Work Area 7, which is the area between the staircases between Reservoirs 5 and 6. The area has been fenced for quite some time and will be in place until the vault work is complete, anticipated before the end of 2016.

September Update

JW Fowler, the contractor for the Portland Water Bureau on the project, will continue to confine construction work to the area below Reservoir 1 through September. The staircase will remain closed to pedestrians. 

Portland Parks and Recreation has determined that one of the large fir trees on the road below Reservoir 1 has died, and will be removed sometime in late September. It was examined by the PP&R forester who determined the tree died from either weather related stress or disease. The forester will continue to examine the site to make an exact determination.

July Update

JW Fowler will continue to perform pipe work in Work Area 5, just below Reservoir 1 and above SE Lincoln Drive. Once that work is complete, possibly by the end of the July, crews will go back to Work Area 6 (the dirt service road below Reservoir 5) to perform final vault work. The service road will be closed to bike and pedestrian traffic during that time.

June 23 Update

As part the Mt. Tabor Adjustments Project, JW Fowler will be excavating in the middle of the intersection of SE Harrison Street and SE 74th Avenue. This work will close SE Harrison Street from SE  72th to SE 76th avenues to through traffic during construction hours. This work will begin in approximately two weeks and last about a week. Work hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. A Traffic Control Plan has been approved and there will be signs and detours posted.  

June 6 Update

The Portland Water Bureau is draining the 56-inch conduit that delivers water to Portland in order to conduct operations and maintenance work. A portion of the water is draining into a service ditch at SE Mountain View Drive and SE Harrison Street. The bureau also needs to drain the 30-inch water main in the area. The water will be discharged into a service drain at SE 74th Avenue and SE Harrison Street. Both draining projects will be completed in the next month and have been permitted by the Bureau of Environmental Services.

June Update

The portion of SE Lincoln Drive that was under construction has been rebuilt and is open to all traffic, and will continue to be open as long as it is safe. Please note that additional 24/7 closures of SE Lincoln Drive are expected to occur later in the summer.

For the next few months, work will generally be contained to Work Area 5, which is in between Reservoir 1 and the intersection of SE Lincoln Drive and SE Harrison Street. A construction entrance has been built that crosses the staircase, so that staircase is closed to park users for the next few months.

May 9 Update

SE Lincoln Drive was paved on Thursday May 5, and opened to traffic on the afternoon of Friday May 6.  The Dog Park access is being restored, the fencing is being re-installed and  the new, permanent gate configuration will be installed soon.

May Update-SE Lincoln Drive and park entrance to open this month

The Portland Water Bureau’s contractor, JW Fowler, has completed the installation of the 48-inch diameter pipe in SE Lincoln Drive, the Dog Park, and the entrance to the park on SE Lincoln Street. The portion of SE Lincoln Drive that was under construction is being rebuilt with new subsurface gravel and asphalt. The impacted portion of the Dog Park will be restored and a new gate installed.

For the next few months, work will be contained to Work Area 5, which is in between Reservoir 1 and the intersection of SE Lincoln Drive and SE Harrison Street. A construction entrance will be built that crosses the staircase, so that staircase will be closed to park users for most of the summer.

Please note that park users will be impacted by intermittent closures of SE Lincoln Drive until the project is complete in March 2017.

April Update-Pipe work on SE Lincoln Drive to conclude

JW Fowler, the Portland Water Bureau’s contactor for the project, will continue its work laying the 48” pipe from the top of SE Lincoln Drive down to the SE Lincoln Street park entrance. Once the work is complete at the entrance and the upper portion of the road has been rebuilt,  SE Lincoln Drive open to through traffic in late April/early May. The south dog park entrance gate will be rebuilt in its original location and will be a double entrance gate. The dog park remains open during this work. Pipe work in SE Lincoln Street between the entrance and SE 60th will resume in fall 2016.

The vault work in Work Area 7, between Reservoirs 5 and 6, will continue through April and into May. Fencing will be moved to accommodate the work and protect park users. Please exercise caution when walking in this area. 

Portland Parks and Recreation would like to remind dog owners that the grass area on the long block between SE Lincoln and SE Harrison streets is not an off-leash dog area. The off-leash dog area in the park is and will remain open.

February Update – Work hours extended for near future

The Mt. Tabor Adjustments Project contractor will be extending work hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays until the first week of April.

While our project team recognizes that this schedule may be inconvenient for residents and park users now, it will allow the contractor to get the required work completed by the first week of April. This helps us meet our goal of getting as much work done as possible in this cool season so that there are fewer impacts to park users during the nice spring and summer days.

Once again, the bureau appreciates park user's patience as we get this work done as quickly as possible with the amended schedule.

What to Expect in February 2016:

  • The vault work in Work Area 7 will continue. This area is located between Reservoir #5 and #6 staircases and is Work Area 7 on the attached map. The work area is large as there are extensive tree protections (fencing) in place. Every effort will be made keep trails, pathways and the staircases open during construction. Worker and park user safety is our first priority so some pedestrian use may be restricted for short durations. This work is expected to go into March.
  • The pipe work at the bottom of Reservoir #1 stairs on SE Lincoln Drive, Work Area 4, will continue. There may be a partial stair closure on an intermittent basis. 
  • Installation of the 48-inch diameter pipe will begin later in February. The pipe alignment will begin just west of the Work Area 4 on SE Lincoln Drive (Work Area 3 on the attached map).The pipe will run west down SE Lincoln Street until it veers off into and across the Dog Park, then down the gravel path to the south entrance of the park. SE Lincoln Drive will be closed to traffic during construction. Please watch for signs directing pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists around the work sites. This work will be completed the first few weeks of April.

What to Expect in December 2015

  • Work inside Reservoir #1 will start soon. The work will have minimal impacts to park users since work will take place inside the reservoir itself.
  • The piping work in Work Area 8 and Reservoir  #6 is complete.  Sometime this month, the bureau will drain water from Reservoir #5 to Reservoir #6.
  • Piping work on Reservoir #5 work will start after it is drained. As this reservoir does not have a ramp on which vehicles can enter it, all equipment must be lifted by a crane and placed in the reservoir to conduct the work. The crane and flatbed will be parked on the road outside the fencing in front of Reservoir #5. Pedestrians and bikes will be able to move past the site although access may be stopped for short intervals while the crane is moving equipment. Flaggers will move people and bikes past the site when this occurs.
  • The vault work in Work Area 7 will begin. This area is located between Reservoir #5 and #6 staircases.
  • The pipe disconnection at the bottom of Reservoir #1 stairs on SE Lincoln Drive will take place. There may be a partial stair closure on an intermittent basis. 
  • The vault work in Work Area 6, located on the service road between Reservoir #5 and SE Lincoln Drive, will continue. As excavation is required, this road will be closed during construction.

Update for November 9, 2015- Potholing to take place this month in Mt. Tabor Park

The contractor for the Portland Water Bureau, JW Fowler Co., will be conducting exploratory excavation in several work areas between for the rest of the month. The purpose of these short-termed excavations (potholing) is to identify the exact locations and depths of pipes connected to reservoirs and vaults. The pipes also need to be measured so that replacement pipe and fittings can be fabricated. Once measurements are taken, the holes will be back-filled and re-graded with topsoil or repaved with asphalt as appropriate.  Following are the locations and schedules for each work area.

Work Area 1: SE Lincoln Street: approximately halfway between the south park entrance and SE 60th Street. Potholing is scheduled for this Thursday and possibly Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Traffic controls will be in place while the contractor digs an 8 foot by 10 foot hole to expose a pipe buried under the street.

Work Areas 5 and 4: Several locations, both in the vegetated area and on SE Lincoln Drive below Reservoir 1. Traffic controls will be in place while the contractor works on SE Lincoln Drive. Traffic impacts will be minimized with lane impacts and delays expected. The Portland Water Bureau access road at the top of the hill from SE Lincoln Drive will be closed to through traffic. Walkers will need to go around the work area. Potholing will take 1-2 days in each location.

Work Area 2: Potholing will take place for 2-3 days beginning November 30 at the SE Lincoln Street entrance to the park. The excavation will occur in the middle of the driveway so that entrance will be closed while the work is being completed. Signs will be posted alerting park users about the closure well ahead of time.

Update for November 2, 2015- What to Expect  in November

What to expect in November 2015:

  • The Portland Water Bureau’s contractor for the project, James W. Fowler Co. (JWF) will  continue with exploratory excavation (“potholing”) in each of the Work Areas in November. There will be a short disruption of traffic flow in some of the areas, primarily along SE Lincoln Street and SE Lincoln Drive.
  • JWF will continue pipe work in Work Areas 9 and 11 , which involves the capping of outlet pipes and placing screens on inlet pipes in both cells of Reservoir 6 and in Reservoir 1. All the work will take place in the reservoirs and in the gatehouses.
  • JWF will set up its construction storage moduler and staging area at the south entrance to the park, adjacent to SE Lincoln Street.
  • Portland Water Bureau Construction and Maintenance crews will finish work in Work Area 8, which is at the bottom of the stairs between Reservoir 6 and SE 60th Avenue.
  • Work inside the underground vault located on the service road between Reservoir 5 and the dog park will likely begin.
  • Excavation will likely occur on and around the vaults in Work  Area 7, which is located between the bottom of the steps from Reservoir 5 to the top of the steps leading down to Reservoir 6.

Please reference this brochure for Work Area locations and construction details.

Update for September 18, 2015-What to expect in October

What to Expect in October, 2015

  • The Portland Water Bureau’s contractor for the project, James W. Fowler Co. (JWF) will begin exploratory excavation (“potholing”) in each of the Work Areas in October. Please see attached brochure describing all of the work areas. This work will allow the contractor to generate information on the size and depth of pipes, valves and other underground items related to the water system, so he can order materials.
  • JWF will also begin work in Work Areas 9 and 11 , which involves the capping of outlet pipes and placing screens on inlet pipes in both cells of Reservoir 6 and in Reservoir 1. All the work will take place in the reservoirs and in the gatehouses. Once that work is complete, and the maintenance work has been completed, the reservoirs will be filled at 85% of historic levels.
  • Portland Water Bureau Construction and Maintenance crews will begin work in Work Area 8, which is at the bottom of the stairs between Reservoir 6 and SE 60th Avenue. The work will take approximately four weeks to complete. The area will be fenced off during construction.

Update for August 24, 2015

The Portland Water Bureau will be draining both cells of Reservoir 6 beginning today. Once the reservoir is completely drained,  Water Bureau crews will remove vegetation, power wash and repair the basin (caulking). This is being done in anticipation of the disconnection work by Portland Water Bureau crews once permits have been received. The work will take approximately 3-4 weeks, and is being performed in order to take advantage of warm weather as caulking is best applied and cured in warm, dry weather.  The disconnection work should be done around the same time or just after the reservoir has been cleaned and repaired. The reservoir will also need to be empty when the contractor caps the outlets and screens the inlets and reservoir drains later this fall. Please note that the Portland Water Bureau will make every effort to protect the historic facilities.

The contract work in Reservoir 6 may occur this fall. We will coordinate work between the PWB crews and contractor to minimize the time the reservoir is empty and how quickly we can get it refilled. The best case scenario for this dry time of year is the contractor getting started as soon as possible. However, this work cannot start until we have a signed contract and the contractor has obtained the materials for the work. Once the disconnection work is complete, the reservoir can be filled.

Update for August 20, 2015

The Portland City Council approved the Land Use application on Wednesday August 19. This is a step forward in an extensive process that will provide the Water Bureau with the legal authority to decommission the open reservoirs at Mt. Tabor, thereby meeting modern public health and safety practices and standards, complying with federal and state drinking water regulations, making the water system more reliable, resilient and secure.

Update for July 17, 2015

The Portland City Council voted on Wednesday to approve a resolution memorializing an agreement between the Portland Water Bureau and the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association. It gave  tentative approval on the Water Bureau’s Conditional Use Permit and directed the City Attorney’s Office and Bureau of Development Services to develop the final findings which will be adopted at the August 19th, 2015 Council Hearing. Once adopted the Bureau will proceed with construction of the Mt. Tabor Reservoir Disconnection Project. More information and a schedule for construction activities will be posted here in the future.

Download the resolution here.

Update for July 13, 2015

The Portland City Council will hear two items at this Wednesday's meeting regarding the Mt. Tabor project.

762    TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM – Establish a cooperative   agreement with the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood   Association to ensure that   clean water will be maintained in the Mt. Tabor Park   Reservoirs   at the historic levels that produce the Park’s iconic views, and   to   prioritize and implement the maintenance, repair and preservation of the     Reservoirs and authorize funding for work identified in the 2009 Mount   Tabor Reservoirs Historic Structures   Report (Resolution introduced by   Commissioners Fish and Fritz)  1 ½ hours requested for items 762 and 763
763    Appeal of Portland Water Bureau and Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association   against Historic Landmarks Commission’s decision to approve with conditions a   proposal to disconnect the Mt. Tabor Reservoirs from the public drinking   water system at Mt. Tabor Park located at 6325 SE Division St    (Previous Agenda 702; LU 14-218444 HR EN)

Update for June 3, 2015

The City Council heard public testimony at a land use hearing on the Mt. Tabor Reservoirs Project on May 28, 2015. Written public testimony may be submitted until June 11, 2015. Submit testimony to Hillary.Adam@portlandoregon.gov and CCTestimony@portlandoregon.gov, faxed to 503-823-5630, or mailed to:

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

Please direct questions about the Land Use process to Ross Caron, Public Information Officer for the Bureau of Development Services at 503-823-4268.

Both appellants (Portland Water Bureau and Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association) will have the opportunity to rebut anything submitted as public testimony and City Council will begin deliberations on Thursday June 25, 2015 at 2:00 pm in City Council Chambers. Go to Thursday's agenda to view the item, and both appellant and applicant responses here.

Update for May 2015

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 disconnect the Mt. Tabor reservoirs from the distribution system.

City Council Hearing
The City Council hearing for Land Use Application LU 14-218444 HR EN Mt. Tabor Reservoirs Disconnection will be held on May 28, 2015 at 2 pm in City Council Chambers. See the Bureau of Development Services calendar on the Auditor’s Office website.  At this time, City Council members will hear public testimony and possibly vote to tentatively approve or deny the application.

Hearing Process
The City Council will serve as a quasi-judicial review body, in accordance with Zoning Code under Chapter 33.730 - Quasi-Judicial Procedures. At the hearing, the City Council may adopt the review body's decision report, modify it, or reject it based on information presented at the hearing and in the record; or the Council may make a tentative action and direct that proposed findings and a decision be prepared.

Public Comments
The public is invited to comment. Comments for consideration by City Council at the upcoming appeal hearing can be e-mailed to Hillary.Adam@portlandoregon.gov and CCTestimony@portlandoregon.gov faxed to 503-823-5630, or mailed to:

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

Comments will also be taken as testimony at the hearing on May 28, 2015.

Brief History of this Land Use Review
The City of Portland's Land Use Review process, administered by the Bureau of Development Service (BDS), is designed to provide the public with appropriate notification, information, and opportunities to comment before final land use decisions are rendered.

The Portland Water Bureau applied for this land use review last fall, and completed the application on October 24, 2014. BDS then reviewed and determined the Land Use Review application was complete and scheduled the first of several hearings. 

Historic Landmarks Commission Meeting
On December 1, 2014, the first of four Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC) hearings took place. The HLC approved the Portland Water Bureau’s Land Use Review III Application with conditions on Monday, February 9, 2015.

The Portland Water Bureau appealed the decision on February 26, 2015. The Mt. Tabor Neighborhood appealed the decision on February 27, 2015.

Project Details
In order to satisfy an unfunded federal water quality mandate, the City of Portland is required to disconnect Portland’s open air reservoirs, including three at Mt. Tabor Park. This work is scheduled to begin in early 2015. Reservoir 7, which is enclosed at Mt. Tabor Park, will stay in service.

Several types of disconnection work are necessary. Some short lengths of buried pipe will be removed, and some new pipe will be installed below ground. Other work will take place inside vaults, both above and below ground, and other structures. None of this work will damage or make non-reversible alterations to the open reservoirs or other historic structures.

Next Steps
If the City Council makes a tentative decision on May 28, they will adopt the final decision and findings two to four weeks later.

Additional Information & Contacts
Visit the Bureau of Development Services’ website or call 503-823-7300 for more information on the land use review application process.

Notice and Appeal Forms 

Landmarks Decision 2/9/2015 Finding and Decision 

Mt.Tabor Neighborhood Association Comments 

Water Bureau Response Memos 

Land Use Application September 2014 

Land Use Application Maps 

Update for April 2015

The City Council hearing for Land Use Application LU 14-218444 HR EN Mt Tabor Reservoirs Disconnection will be held on May 28, 2015 at 2 pm in City Council Chambers. See the Bureau of Development Services calendar here.

Update for March 2015

The Portland Water Bureau appealed the decision on February 26, 2015. The Mt. Tabor Neighborhood appealed the decision on February 27, 2015. The appeal process is underway and the public comment period will be announced soon. The date for the appeal hearing has been set for May 28, 2015 at 2 p.m.

Update for February 2015

The Portland Water Bureau’s Land Use Review III Application was approved with conditions by the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission on Monday, February 9, 2015. Once the written decision has been submitted, the decision, in whole or part, can be appealed by either the Water Bureau or the public. The appeal window is 14 days from the written decision posting. The final decision is posted here.

Update for December 2014

Commissioners Fish and Fritz decide to postpone discussion and decision of what happens to the reservoirs after the disconnection until after the land use process is complete. For more information contact Commissioner Fritz at amanda@portlandoregon.gov.

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