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Washington Park Reservoir Project: Type III Historic Review Application Update

By Lindsay Wochnick

On August 10, 2015, a public hearing was held before the Historic Landmarks Commission to review the Portland Water Bureau’s Type III Historic Review application for the Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project.

During testimony, a member of the public requested that the record be left open for submission of new evidence.

The Type III application describes the proposed project’s historic preservation and rehabilitation actions and construction of a covered reservoir, reflecting pools, lowland habitat area/bioswale, and walkways. These features will offer the public enhanced access to the new surface water features and classically-designed gatehouses, dams, and related structures.

After a discussion, the Commission decided the following: 

August 10 – 24, 2015 The record will remain open for submission of new evidence from August 10, 2015 to 4:30 p.m., August 24, 2015.
August 24 – 31, 2015 Response to new evidence will be accepted from August 24, 2015 to 4:30 p.m., August 31, 2015.
August 31 – September 8, 2015 The Water Bureau can submit a rebuttal to the new evidence and response from August 31, 2015 to 4:30 p.m., September 8, 2015. The end date was extended one-day from September 7 due to the Labor Day holiday.
September 14, 2015 The Commission will reconvene to take action on the item. No public testimony will be taken.

Submit, Review New Evidence
New evidence on the Type III Historic Resource Review application can be e-mailed to, faxed to 503-823-5630, or mailed to:

Hillary Adam
Land Use Services, Bureau of Development Services
RE: LU 15-169671 HR
1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 4500
Portland, OR 97201

A courtesy copy of the application and subsequent updates submitted to BDS are posted on the Water Bureau’s project webpage at To view or obtain copies of the official document, you must get it from BDS. 

To review and submit response to new evidence, visit

Land Use Review chart updatesLand Use Review Application Background
The Washington Park Reservoir Project includes three Land Use Reviews (LUR) detailed in the chart to the right:

1. Type IV Demolition Review application

2. Type III Historic Review application    

3. Type III Conditional Use/ Environmental/Tree Reviews application

Before work permits are issued or construction begins, all applications must be approved.

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

For more information on the Type III and IV LUR processes, visit the BDS website.

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 west of it 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 at 503-823-3028 or by e-mail. 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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