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Portland Water Bureau

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1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

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September 30, 2016: Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project Monthly Update

The Portland Water Bureau and contractor Hoffman Construction Company have started a long-term capital improvement project to update the Washington Park reservoir site at 2403 SW Jefferson Street. The project complies with federal and state mandates, seismically strengthens key water infrastructure on Portland’s west side, and helps ensure a healthy, resilient, and secure water system.

A new 12.4-million gallon, seismically reinforced below ground reservoir will be constructed in the same footprint of existing Reservoir 3 (upper) with a reflecting pool/water feature on top. The new reservoir will preserve the historic drinking water function provided by the original reservoirs and be engineered to withstand ongoing landslide encroachment and potentially catastrophic effects of a major earthquake. When complete and online, the new reservoir will supply water to Portland’s west side and serve more than 360,000 people, including all downtown businesses and residents, 20 schools, five hospital complexes, more than 60 parks, and the Oregon Zoo.

Existing Reservoir 4 (lower) will be disconnected from the public drinking water system and a lowland wildlife habitat area, bio-swale, and reflecting pool will be constructed in the basin.

Construction started Sept. 12, 2016 and will proceed through 2020. A pause is scheduled to occur from 2020 to 2022 to allow soils to settle. From 2022 to 2024, construction of interpretive features, including the two reflecting pools and surface features, will conclude the project.

From September 12, 2016 until March 2018, major earthwork will occur along with the construction of shoring walls and the new underground reservoir. Work during this stage will cause temporary impacts to traffic, parking, and TriMet bus service.  
Access a map of park impacts online.

Road Closures

  • SW Sacajawea Boulevard is closed to all vehicle and bike traffic and pedestrian use from the intersection of SW Sacajawea Boulevard/SW Rose Park Road/SW Wright Road to SW Park Place.
  • SW Sherwood Boulevard is closed to all vehicle and bike traffic and pedestrian use from SW Sacajawea Boulevard to the Soccer Field.
  • SW Sherwood Boulevard is closed to all vehicle traffic from the Soccer Field to SW Kingston Avenue.
  • SW Sherwood Boulevard sidewalk is open for pedestrian use and bike traffic from SW Kingston Avenue to the Soccer Field.

Tour Buses, Free Park Shuttle

  • Tour buses and the free park shuttle are allowed access onto SW Sherwood Boulevard at SW Kingston Drive for turnaround at the Soccer Field.
  • No unauthorized vehicles will be permitted on SW Sherwood Blvd.

Traffic Flow Reversal

  • The flow of traffic is reversed on SW Lewis Clark Way.
  • One-way traffic travels SW Lewis Clark Way and exits the park on SW Park Pl.

Multi-Use Shared Path

  • A designated path separate from vehicles is now available on SW Lewis Clark Way.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists can use the path to travel both in and out of the park on SW Lewis Clark Way.
  • Cyclists are required to walk and not ride bicycles on the path. 


  • All parking spaces are closed on SW Lewis Clark Way, SW Sacajawea Blvd., and SW Sherwood Blvd.


  • Madison Ct. Trail: Pedestrians and cyclists can enter and exit the Madison Ct. Trail on SW Madison St. and SW Sacajawea Blvd. The trail will be closed intermittently; watch for detour signage.
  • Mac Trail: Open, not affected by project work. Continued access via SW Sherwood Blvd. and SW Sacajawea Blvd.

TriMet Bus Service

  • TriMet Bus Line 63 - Washington Park/ Arlington Heights is detoured.
  • The following stops are closed: 6177, 4346, and 4343
  • Check for updates.

Park Entrances

  • W Burnside Rd. to SW Tichner Dr.
  • SW Canyon Rd. to SW Knights Blvd.
  • SW Fairview Blvd. to SW Knights Blvd.

Park Exits

  • SW Fairview Blvd. to SW Knights Blvd. 
  • SW Knights Blvd. to SW Canyon Rd.
  • SW Lewis Clark Way to SW Park Pl.
  • SW Tichner Dr. to W Burnside Rd.  

The traffic plan spanning now until March 2018 has been approved by the Portland Bureau of Transportation. The Water Bureau will be conducting evaluations and adjusting traffic flow as conditions require. The Water Bureau is working with Portland Parks & Recreation, Explore Washington Park, neighborhood associations, and the community to gather on-the-ground feedback and determine if changes are necessary. Please provide your traffic and signage feedback by phone, e-mail, or on the dedicated webpage.

General Site Work         

  • Construction trailers for project team members to work, meet, and manage the project have been delivered and installed. 
  • The Portland Bureau of Transportation approved traffic control plan spanning Sept. 12, 2016 to March 2018 was successfully implemented. The plan includes road closures, parking changes, a traffic flow reversal, and a multi-use shared path for pedestrians and cyclists along with more than 130 signs, reader boards, and flaggers to maintain a safe, uniform flow of traffic in Washington Park.
  • Vegetation and trees are in the process of being removed from around the project site. Of the approximately 210 trees to be removed, 19 percent (40 trees) are non-native/invasive. Roughly 47 percent (80 trees) of the healthy, non-invasive trees removed will be used in river restoration projects in the Sandy River Basin. These projects will help create pool habitat, increase cover, and improve spawning beds for migrating, spawning, and rearing fish populations. Several trees were also delivered to the Oregon Zoo for use in primate exhibits. After construction is completed, the Water Bureau has committed to plant 20 percent more trees and shrubs than required.

Reservoir 3 & 4 Work      

  • The wrought iron fencing surrounding Existing Reservoir 3 and 4 has been removed. Portions will be rehabilitated off‐site and incorporated into the redeveloped surface water feature. Prior to removal, the fence was photographed, documented, tagged, inventoried, and specially packaged for protection so that it could be taken off site for restoration, some for repurposing, and all for protection during construction.
  • The construction fencing surrounding the site has been installed.
  • The Weir Building, constructed in 1949 to screen water, has been removed. Its removal will provide the necessary space to build shoring that will in turn support the underground reservoir construction.
  • Large equipment is mobilizing on site for the installation of two shoring walls, one temporary and one permanent, to allow excavation for the new seismically reinforced underground reservoir fortress.

Photos of project work are accessible on the project's Flickr album.

Please contact us with questions, concerns, or to sign up to receive monthly project updates.