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Proposed Washington Park Reservoir Project Initial Land Use Review Application: City Council Hearing Scheduled for April 23, Public Comments Accepted

By Lindsay Wochnick

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, BDS deemed the Type IV LUR application complete and issued a Request for Response, officially opening the public comment period and setting the dates for the Historic Landmarks Commission meeting (March 30) and the City Council Hearing (April 23).

Historic Landmarks Commission Meeting
On March 30, a public meeting was held before the Historic Landmarks Commission to review the Water Bureau’s proposed Washington Park Reservoir Project Type IV Land Use Review (LUR) application.

During the public meeting, BDS presented the Staff Report and Recommendation, the Water Bureau discussed the project, and members of the public offered testimony. The Commission voted 3 to 1 in support of the initial LUR application and will forward their recommendation to the City Council.

City Council Hearing
A City Council hearing will be held on Thursday, April 23 at 2 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers at 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, Oregon. During the hearing, members of the public will be invited to offer testimony.

Public Comments
Public comments on the initial LUR application can be e-mailed to Hillary.Adam@portlandoregon.gov and Karla.Moore-Love@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 reference Land Use Review number LU 14-249689 in any communications. Access a courtesy copy of the initial LUR application on the Water Bureau’s project webpage at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/wpreservoirs/LUR1

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.

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, 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.

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