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REMINDER: Historic Landmarks Commission Meeting To Be Held Monday, March 30; Staff Report & Recommendation on Initial Land Use Review Application for Proposed Washington Park Reservoir Project Available for Review by Public

By Lindsay Wochnick

The Bureau of Development Services (BDS) has released the Staff Report and Recommendation report on the Portland Water Bureau’s initial Type IV Land Use Review (LUR) application for the proposed Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project. 

The report will be utilized during the upcoming Historic Landmarks Commission public meeting scheduled for Monday, March 30 at 1:30 p.m. on the second floor of 1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Conference Room 2500A.

Access a courtesy copy of the report on the Water Bureau’s project webpage

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

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

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

On February 9, BDS deemed the Water Bureau’s initial LUR application as complete and issued a “Request for Response.”  This action officially opened the public comment period and set the date for the Historic Landmarks Commission public meeting and the City Council hearing.

Provide Feedback
Public comments on the initial LUR application can be faxed to 503-823-5630 or mailed directly to:

Historic Landmarks Commission
RE: LU 14-249689
1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 4500
Portland, OR 97201

Access a courtesy copy of the LUR application on the Water Bureau’s project webpage.  

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 a comment period, public meeting, and hearing 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.

Additional Information & Contacts

  • For detailed project information, 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.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information


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