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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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Environmental Services News

2020 News Releases

News Media Contact:
Diane Dulken (503)823-5328 c:(503)457-7636  diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov

For breaking news and other announcements, please see our Twitter feed: @BESPortland.

To receive press releases via email, contact diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov.


Table of Contents

(Printable Version)

News Release: N Mississippi sewer project moved to fall in response to community requests

June 24, 2020 - In response to Phase I reopening and community input, Environmental Services is postponing a sewer repair project on N Mississippi Avenue until fall 2020.

Environmental Services earlier had scheduled the work to begin this month considering the light traffic and reduced business activity during the Governor’s COVID-19 Stay at Home order. A similar project on Hawthorne Boulevard that is nearing completion was shortened from four months to two months as crews worked extended hours during the COVID-19 slowdown. 

However, with Multnomah County now in Phase I reopening, Environmental Services has heard and is responding to requests from the Mississippi Avenue community to wait until after the summer to complete this work. 

The stretch of Mississippi Avenue between Shaver and Fremont streets where sewer repairs are needed is a popular restaurant destination. Rescheduling the project will allow the street to remain open to all users, and allow restaurants to work with PBOT in arranging expanded street seating through its Safe Streets/Healthy Business initiative.  

A specific start date for fall construction has not yet been determined. Construction hours and duration of construction will also be determined later and will be subject to any COVID-19 restrictions from the county or the state.

The N Mississippi Avenue sewer repair project will replace and upsize over 1,000 linear feet of sewer pipe. The sewer main is over 100 years old and deteriorating due to age and is also too small for the area. The replacement and addition of new larger pipe will increase sewer capacity, reduce basement sewer backups and street flooding during heavy rainstorms, and help protect public health and the environment. 

Project updates can be found at  www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/nmississippi.

 

The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services - your sewer and stormwater utility - provides Portland residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.  Follow on Twitter - @BESPortland. On the web: portland.gov/bes/news 

 Media contact: Diane Dulken (503)457-7636; Aaron Abrams (June 25-29) 503-823-1138

 


News Release: City of Portland Part of Nationwide Class Settlement with PCB-maker Monsanto

(June 24, 2020) - Today, the City of Portland joins with 12 other governmental entities to announce a proposed nationwide class action settlement with Monsanto Company, Pharmacia, LLC, and Solutia, Inc., for $550 million. The settlement would resolve national PCB water contamination claims for a proposed class of over 2,500 governmental entities, including the City of Portland.

Legal motions to approve the proposed settlement class are being filed today in federal court in the Central District of California, in a case before Judge Fernando M. Olguin. 

In addition to the $550 million in settlement funds, Monsanto is agreeing to pay attorneys’ fees separately.

Over a dozen lawsuits have been filed by governmental entities since March 2015 seeking cost recovery for stormwater and environmental contamination caused by chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which Monsanto manufactured between the 1930s and 1977. Monsanto was the sole manufacturer of those chemicals.

The City initially filed suit in 2016 seeking cost recovery for environmental damages resulting from PCB use in Portland. This proposed settlement would resolve that lawsuit. PCBs are  persistent and toxic contaminants that are expensive to clean up. The City had evidence that Monsanto became aware of how toxic and dangerous PCBs were during the time it manufactured its PCB containing products, and that the company concealed that information. 

“Monsanto was aware it was manufacturing harmful toxic chemicals and it continued to do so for many years,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “Today, we are holding Monsanto accountable for its reckless actions that caused harm to our community. The impacts to PCBs on our community are not quantifiable, but this settlement is one way to address decades worth of harm.”

The City intends to focus settlement funds towards Black, Indigenous, and communities of color that have been disproportionately burdened by both the contamination and the need for environmental cleanup. The City will continue to engage with community groups to inform this work.

The City will know the exact portion of the $550 million settlement money it stands to receive after the proposed class action is approved by the Court. This process may take several months.

 The proposed class action must be approved by Judge Olguin prior to providing payments to the governmental entity class members. If approved, the settlement will provide all class members with a monetary benefit and will additionally provide funds for any governmental entities that have incurred or will incur significant expenses to protect and remediate America’s waterways. 

The City of Portland joins the named class plaintiffs leading the nationwide resolution, which include the Port of Portland, City of Spokane, City of Tacoma, the City of Berkeley, the City of Oakland, the City of San Jose, County of Los Angeles, City of Long Beach, City of San Diego, City of Chula Vista, City of Baltimore, and County of Baltimore. The cases were collectively litigated for over five years and were mediated and resolved through JAMS Mediator Judge (Ret.) Jay Gandhi. 

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Media contacts:

Diane Dulken, Environmental Services 503-457-7636diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov

Karen Moynahan, City of Portland attorney’s office  503-823-4538  Karen.moynahan@portlandoregon.gov

 


Traffic Advisory: N Mississippi Avenue urgent sewer repairs to begin June 17, expect travel impacts; businesses open

(June 16, 2020) – Construction begins this week on an urgent sewer repair project on N Mississippi Avenue, affecting travel between N Shaver and Fremont streets during weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and some Saturdays.

Environmental Services – the City of Portland’s sewer and stormwater utility – is replacing and expanding the size of a 100-year-old sewer main that is deteriorating and is too small for the area. The project will increase sewer capacity, which will reduce street flooding and sewer backups to area basements, and help protect public health, property, and the environment. 

To minimize the impact to businesses and the community, Environmental Services is making the repairs now, while traffic is lower during the COVID-19 “Stay at Home” order that continues for Multnomah County. Crews will work expanded hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. to shorten the overall construction schedule. Construction is expected to be complete within eight weeks. 

The traveling public is advised to expect some travel delays and street closures. To perform this work as quickly and safely as possible, the two-block stretch of Mississippi Avenue between Shaver and Fremont may be completely closed at times to vehicle traffic during work hours. Environmental Services will minimize the amount of time full street closures are needed.

The traveling public is advised to follow all traffic control signage. Sidewalks will remain open for pedestrian, wheelchair, and bicycle use. 

Environmental Services encourages the public to support local businesses during this time. Many N. Mississippi Avenue stores and restaurants will be open and accessible for pickup and delivery of food and drink. Some pickup areas may be on the adjacent side streets of N. Fremont, Beech, Failing and Shaver.

For project updates, visit: www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/NMississippi

 

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The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services - your sewer and stormwater utility - provides Portland residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.  Follow on Twitter - @BESPortland. On the web: portland.gov/bes/news 

 

  

 

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News Release: City of Portland Utilities Pledge $1 Million for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

This news release was issued by our partner, the Portland Water Bureau, to announce a new program to help small businesses. Go directly to the program page here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/smallbiz. Read the news release below for more info about thIs new program, and other financial assistance programs for residents: 

(June 3, 2020) - Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Amanda Fritz are taking additional steps to help City of Portland sewer, stormwater, and water small business customers with their utility bills during the ongoing public health and economic crisis with the Small Business Program for Utility Relief (SPUR). The Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services have pledged $1 million in financial support for small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Credits for City of Portland utility bills are expected to assist between approximately 200 and 300 small businesses and will range between $1,000 and $10,000. The City of Portland utility bureaus are partnering with Prosper Portland, the city’s economic development agency, to develop criteria for providing relief to impacted businesses.

“Today’s actions build upon our continued efforts to help each other weather the COVID storm,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “Portland is a small business town. Our small businesses are employers, neighbors, and mainstays of our neighborhoods. By helping small businesses, especially Black, indigenous, people of color, and women-owned businesses, we are contributing to the City’s resilience and recovery.”

More information is available at the Water Bureau’s website, portlandoregon.gov/water/smallbiz. Business owners can sign up now to get an announcement when the application opens. Applications will be open for two weeks beginning July 8, and will be evaluated using a racial equity and vulnerability lens. Applications will not be evaluated on a first come-first served basis.

“Small businesses give Portland its unique character and add to its vibrant economic fabric. This funding is designed to help our most vulnerable businesses weather the storm of the pandemic. We know that a racial wealth gap and barriers to capital exist,” Commissioner Amanda Fritz said. “We are designing a program that prioritizes assistance on utility bills for businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, and all People of Color (BIPOC) and women.”

“Many local businesses are facing significant hardships,” said Prosper Portland Executive Director Kimberly Branam. “We look forward to collaborating with the Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environment Services to create a program that provides equitable access to crucial utility payment assistance for small businesses in this challenging time.”

In addition to this support for small businesses, the bureaus have expanded the financial assistance program for residential customers. Portland City Council recently approved an expansion of the Water Leak Repair Assistance Program, which more than doubles funding to help income-qualified homeowners make necessary water leak repairs to their homes.

“We continue to look for ways to reduce barriers and get financial assistance to those in need,” Water Bureau Director of Customer Service Kathy Koch said. “We have temporarily relaxed eligibility requirements for our bill discount program, including the proof-of-income documentation requirement. We are seeing more people signing up for these programs and we are ready to help.”

The City of Portland utility bureaus continue to offer all customers no-interest flexible payment schedules. In response to the crisis, the utility bureaus have temporarily suspended late fees, collections and water shut-offs on accounts with past-due balances. Financial assistance may not cover an entire bill, so bureaus recommend that customers continue to make payments that are manageable to them to avoid a potentially larger balance in the future.

The financial assistance programs serve thousands of Portlanders and offer a menu of options for reducing or waiving portions of the utility bills. These include:

Services for residential customers:

Services for all customers:

  • Monthly statements offer the option of paying each month to avoid a quarterly bill that includes three months of sewer/stormwater/water charges.
  • Clean River Rewards provide savings for those who manage stormwater on their property.
  • Water Efficiency offers free water-saving devices and rebates for toilet and irrigation upgrades.

To learn more about how the City can help, or to view the detailed information about these programs, please start here. If you still have questions, email  PWBCustomerService@portlandoregon.gov or contact City Customer Service staff at 503-823-7770. Limited staffing may result in longer response time.

ABOUT THE PORTLAND WATER BUREAU 

The Portland Water Bureau serves water to almost a million people in the Portland area. Portland’s water system includes two great water sources, 53 tanks and reservoirs, and 2,200 miles of pipes. With 600 employees working on everything from water treatment to customer service, the Water Bureau is committed to serving excellent water every minute of every day. Find us on Twitter @PortlandWater and visit us at portlandoregon.gov/water.

About the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services  

The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services - your sewer and stormwater utility - provides Portland residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.  Follow on Twitter - @BESPortland. On the web: portlandoregon.gov/bes/news.

About PROSPER PORTLAND  

Prosper Portland creates economic growth and opportunity for Portland. Our vision is to make Portland one of the most globally competitive, healthy, and equitable cities in the world by investing in job creation, encouraging broad economic prosperity, and fostering great places throughout the city. We aspire to be a workplace of choice with passionate staff excelling in an open and empowering environment and sharing a commitment to our collective success. Follow us on Twitter @prosperportland or visit us at prosperportland.us.


Environmental Services encourages people to get a weed workout (not that kind)

“Invasive plants are a serious problem; removing them doesn’t have to be”

(‪May 19, 2020‬) - To help Portlanders get outside while staying home, the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services is encouraging people to maintain a weed workout (not that kind).‬‬ ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Starting now, Environmental Services recommends people get out in their yards and identify and remove invasive plants: Bend, pull, dig, stretch. We can help with our Weed Workout video and additional tips:

You will accomplish several things at once: Stay home, get fresh air, get exercise, and keep your yard beautiful. You also will help prevent ivy, clematis, certain geraniums and other invasive plants from spreading far and wide and damaging the natural areas and rivers we love and rely on.

Don’t have a yard? See if you can safely help a neighbor. We’re all in this together and we’re all connected.

Why this is important: Some of the fastest growing plants in your yard are weeds -and some of those weeds are aggressive enough that they quickly spread and take over. These invasive plants, which originated elsewhere and tend to overrun our native flora,are a leading cause of damage to ecosystems and wildlife habitat as well as the City’s stormwater infrastructure.

“Invasive plants are a serious problem, removing them doesn’t have to be,” said Michael Jordan, Environmental Services’ Director. “Stay home, be outside, pull those weeds, and have fun knowing you are doing a great deal of good for your neighbors and for our environment.”

Here are some plants and tips to get you started:

Follow along on our video or skip ahead for more tips and resources.

  • Look first. Spring is bird nesting season. If you’re lucky enough to spot a nest, either on the ground or up in a mess of ivy in a tree, please leave it and the weeds alone until those baby birds grow up and fly away.
  • Close up photo of the pink flower of an Herb Robert geraniumStart easy with shiny geranium and herb Robert geranium. These two invasive geraniums are easy to pull from the roots. With red stems and pink flowers, they look pretty BUT they quickly take over your yard and overrun other plants. Herb Robert geranium is also called stinky Bob because… it smells bad. You don’t want it in your yard. So pull these weeds now, and then come back through the season to pull new plants before they flower and go to seed.
  • Pick up the pace by pulling ivy.  You know ivy - it’s all over Forest Park where the City is methodically removing this European transplant and restoring native plants. Let’s keep that progress going - your yard is also wildlife habitat. Prevent that ivy from climbing trees and forming mats on the ground. Clip, pull, repeat. You’re doing great.
  • Get a full-season workout with climbing Clematis Vitalba (Also called old man’s beard or traveler’s joy). This vine starts small, green, and innocent. But it has the power to climb tall trees and hedges, grow tough and woody stems, and wrap itself around anything it can. Once you meet it, you won’t forget it. So start pulling, and then keep monitoring. It will be back. But so will you. If you can’t pull it from a tree, consider cutting the stems in two near the base.
  • Keep it going! The key to fitness is to repeat your workout. Over time you will see a difference - fewer weeds, healthier gardens and natural areas, and hopefully, you’ll feel great too. Give yourself a round of applause, then get back in the garden and bend, pull, dig, repeat.

Are there more weeds? Yes.

Environmental Services and our partners have additional resources for you so you can add variety to your workout and keep it going:

Finally, with more space now that the weeds are gone, you may be ready to plant native plants and even become a certified backyard habitat.

So stay home, get fit, and enjoy the benefits of your weed workout. Want to send us pictures of your own weed workout (not that kind)? Tag us on Twitter @BESPortland #weedworkout 

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The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. Follow @BESPortland and www.portlandoregon.gov/bes.

 Contact: Diane Dulken (503)457-7636 diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov


Sewage Advisory: Crews discover, stop discharge to Woods Creek, tributary of Fanno Creek in SW Portland

Sanitary Sewage Release Advisory

(this is not a combined sewer overflow [CSO] advisory)

(May 20, 2020) - City crews on Friday afternoon discovered sewage from a private pipe on the 5700 block of SW Multnomah Boulevard discharging to Woods Creek, a tributary of Fanno Creek.

Crews reported to the scene around 3 p.m. Friday and stopped the release around 9 p.m. They installed a pumping system to direct the flow from the private pipe into the city’s sewer system.

Warning signs have been posted in the area. As a precaution, the public is advised to avoid contact with Woods Creek and nearby Fanno Creek for at least 48 hours because of the possibility of increased bacteria in the water. 

The City is continuing to investigate this incident, which is similar to one that occurred in 2017 (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/646172)

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.

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Media contact: Diane Dulken 503-823-6724 - phone only, no email.

Note: My email is down due to technical issues, please phone or text.  For Monday, May 11, Aaron Abrams is PIO on duty. He may be reached then at aaron.abrams@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-1138


News Release: Environmental Services continues critical services during COVID-19 emergency; focuses on public health and environment

New signage coming to project sites: Critical work in progress, precautions in place 

(April 20, 2020)  – During the COVID-19 emergency that affects us all, Environmental Services is taking extra measures to protect the public and construction crews as we continue to collect and treat wastewater from every household in Portland and work to upgrade the city’s aging sewer and stormwater infrastructure. 

More than one-third of Portland’s 2,500 miles of sewer pipes are over 80 years old. Environmental Services has about a dozen projects currently underway to replace or repair aging infrastructure. These construction projects reduce the possibility of sewage releases into homes, streets, rivers, and streams. You can find a list of construction projects at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/constructionConstruction sign with covid-19 precautions - maintain 6 feet distance

Many of these sewer repair projects also include adding green infrastructure — such as green street planters and rain gardens. These natural solutions help collect and filter stormwater to reduce the burden on the sewer and stormwater system and protect our rivers and streams. 

Crews on all sites have been directed and supported to follow CDC guidelines for protecting themselves and the public. Protocols are in place for social distancing, hygiene, and safety. City inspectors are on site to monitor work and ensure that these protocols are followed.

To further protect the public and crews, Environmental Services will post signs asking the public to maintain a healthy distance from staff who are conducting field inspections and maintaining pipes, pump stations, and other infrastructure. 

Emergency repairs 

While construction projects are geared to preventing sewage releases, emergency breaks do occur. City crews work 24/7 to respond to reports of sewage releases such as the broken pipe that led to sewage reaching Fanno Creek earlier this month

 

What you can do

  • Report sewage backups, sewage releases to a public space, or a storm drain problem 24/7 by calling 503-823-1700. 
  • If you see us in your neighborhood, keep your distance – Protect yourself and our crews by staying at home. If you’re outside, keep at least a 6-foot distance, wear a mask, and follow health official guidelines as they develop. Stay inside if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Start your Weed Workout – What’s that? If you have a garden or yard, you can #StayHomeSaveLives and get outside. Do you know that some of the fastest growing plants are weeds? Some of those can be invasive and escape from your yard to take root in natural areas. You can help your yard, our watersheds, and your wellbeing by getting a weed workout. Bend, pull, dig, and stretch. Our Green Street Steward Weed Identification Guide shows the best way to rid your garden of common weeds.
  • Prevent sewage backups and clogs in your home. Only flush toilet paper. Never flush wipes – not even ones marked “flushable.” Pour unused cooking oil and other grease into cans, let cool (it will turn from a liquid into a solid), and place in the trash. For more tips, go to www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/FatFreePipes
  • Stay Home, Save Lives – As you stay home to save lives from COVID-19, our construction crews have benefited from reduced traffic around work sites. We thank you for responding to the public health emergency by continuing to adhere to Governor Kate Brown’s mandatory Order 2012.

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The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. Find out more about BES:  www.portlandoregon.gov/bes. Find out more about the City of Portland’s COVID-19 response at www.portlandoregon.gov

 

 


Sewage Advisory: Broken pipe leads to release to Fanno Creek in Southwest Portland

Sanitary Sewage Release Advisory

(this is not a combined sewer overflow [CSO] advisory) 

(April 9, 2020) – Environmental Services crews working at a Southwest Portland pump station discovered a sewage release from a broken pipe this morning. They estimate that about 3,000 gallons seeped from the underground break, a portion of which traveled overland to nearby Fanno Creek. Crews discovered the break around 10:25 a.m. and stopped the flow within 30 minutes.

The location of the release is 3459 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway where Environmental Services operates one of 99 pump stations that help push sewage through pipes to the City’s main wastewater treatment plant in North Portland. 

As a precaution, the public is advised to avoid contact with Fanno Creek downstream of the area for 48 hours because of the possibility of increased bacteria in the water. 

City crews continue to provide critical services during the COVID-19 crisis. If you experience or see a sewer overflow, call the City of Portland’s 24/7 hotline: 503-823-1700.  

Environmental Services also has ongoing construction projects to repair and replace aging sewer and stormwater infrastructure to protect public health, property and the environment. To see current projects, visit  www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/construction. 

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The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. @BESPortland www.portlandoregon.gov/bes  

 


Advisory: Sewer line clogged by grease leads to overflow upstream of Stephens Creek Nature Park

Correction: The location of the sewage release is the 6700 block of SW Capitol Hill ROAD.  

(April 3, 2020) - A grease-clogged sewer line led to an overflow on the 6700 block of SW Capitol Highway last night, just upstream from the Stephens Creek Nature Park.

As a precaution, the public is advised to avoid contact with Stephens Creek, especially in the area of the nature park, through April 5, due to the possibility of increased bacteria in the water. People are also advised to obey sewer release warning signs posted on that one block stretch of SW Capitol Highway. 

An estimated 600 gallons of sewage overflowed onto SW Capitol Highway from a maintenance access hole, and to a storm drain that leads to the creek. City crews arrived on-scene around 7 p.m. and cleared the blockage at about 11 p.m. 

Most sewage overflows are preventable. Pipes that become blocked with grease, tree roots, wet wipes, and other debris are the most common cause of sewage overflows.  

Environmental Services advises the public to follow these tips to prevent clogs in homes and businesses, and to prevent sewage releases: 

  • Never pour grease down drains: Collect grease, oil, and fat in a can and then into the garbage. Grease that is liquid when poured down drains will become solid once in pipes.
  • Only flush human waste and toilet paper (wet wipes are NOT flushable); 
  • Don’t put anything down storm drains, which are intended for rainfall only. Many of the City’s storm drains feed directly into creeks.

If you experience or see a sewer overflow, call the City of Portland’s 24/7 hotline: 503-823-1700.  

 The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. @BESPortland. Www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/news.

Media contact: Diane Dulken diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov(503)457-7636


Hope and solidarity: A message from BES Director Mike Jordan

(June 1, 2020) - Recent events been incredibly tragic and painful, including but not limited to the murder of George Floyd. These violent incidents yet again highlight the tragedy of racism that continues to infuse our United States culture. Heartfelt compassion goes out to George Floyd’s family and friends, and to the black communities in Portland and throughout our nation that have endured generations and centuries of trauma and grief. This history is sadly current.

The killing of George Floyd, and outpouring of protests, are taking place on top of the grim milestone of our country surpassing 100,000 COVID deaths, with African Americans disproportionately impacted. After many difficult weeks living with the COVID-19 pandemic, I know that many of you in our community are feeling tired, sad, anxious, angry, frustrated, or afraid. You may be experiencing a lot of different feelings at once – I certainly am. If you need help, please know that Multnomah County operates a free 24/ mental health helpline: 503-988-4888, and offers additional assistance: https://multco.us/mhas/mental-health-crisis-intervention You can report acts of hate to Portland United Against Hate at www.ReportHatePDXcom

Please read The City of Portland Equity Director, Dr. Markisha Smith’s Facebook post. I appreciated hearing her honestly and perspective. In this hour, our black community is hurting. We as a community must come together constructively. Please reach out to each other, check on your friends, neighbors, and colleagues to see how they are doing – especially our black and African American neighbors.

As Mayor Ted Wheeler said:  “We have to do better. We have to be willing to stand alongside our black community and not just call out racism when we see it, but meaningfully take a stand against it. We have to be willing to interrogate our own biases and the ways in which we have been complicit in the structuring of a society that makes black death routine.”

I commit today to not being silent. To having conversations about racism with my friends and family. To questioning when and how I am complicit in systemic racism. To do the uncomfortable work of exploring when and how I am racist. To checking in with our employees of color and listening to their feelings and experiences and learning from them. And I encourage all of us to look honestly at our own biases and do our own work to help right inequities and dismantle racist systems that continue to harm people of color. 

We are one community. We are proud of our diversity. Let’s look out for each other. - Mike Jordan, BES Director 


News Release: Bridge construction to close SW Boones Ferry Road at Tryon Creek; Detour begins March 30; COVID-19 precautions in place

Bridge construction to close SW Boones Ferry Road at Tryon Creek: Detour begins March 30; COVID-19 precautions in place

 The $8.8 million bridge project will restore connections for people, fish, wildlife

Visuals: Boones Ferry restoration video; detour map; project photos (links below)

(March 25, 2020) –  The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services on March 30 will begin the major construction phase of a habitat restoration and bridge-building project on SW Boones Ferry Road where it crosses Tryon Creek. 

Crews will build a new bridge over the creek to restore healthy water flows, reduce flooding risk, and improve passage for native fish. A creekside trail will complete a missing link to the existing area trail network, creating a safer crossing and connections for people and wildlife. Crews also will cover a sewer pipe that crosses the creek to protect it from damage.Photo montage

Single lane closures have been in effect this month. Beginning March 30, a full road closure will be in effect on SW Boones Ferry Road between SW Arnold Street and SW Comus Court. The closure and a detour will be in effect for up to seven months to allow crews to remove the roadbed and build the 125-foot steel girder bridge. 

A recommended detour directs Boones Ferry Road travelers to use SW Stephenson Street and SW 35th  Avenue to reach SW Terwilliger Boulevard. The public is asked to travel cautiously, expect some delays, observe directions of reader boards and flaggers, and use alternate routes when possible. TriMet Bus Line 38 have alternate detour routes.

Given the COVID-19 crisis that affects us all, Environmental Services is taking extra measures to protect the public, contract crews, and employees. Workers have been directed and supported to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing and hand washing. Environmental Services also has consulted with area agencies to ensure emergency responders are aware of the detour and that response times will not be hindered. As the public has largely been following  COVID-19 guidelines, Environmental Services and the Portland Bureau of Transportation have seen a noticeable drop in traffic at work zones throughout the city.

“We are committed to continuing important construction projects that protect public health and our environment,” said Environmental Services Director Mike Jordan, “During this unprecedented crisis, we are working to take care of ourselves and each other while providing the critical services  our community needs.”

The $8.8 million SW Boones Ferry Bridge and Restoration Project involves many partners. It is being managed  and funded primarily by Environmental Services. Metro is providing a $650,000 grant through its Nature in the Neighborhood program.

Other project partners are: Portland Parks and Recreation, Portland Bureau of Transportation, Portland Water Bureau, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, and community groups including Tryon Creek Watershed Council, SW Trails PDX, Friends of Tryon Creek State Park,  SWNI Transportation Committee,  Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association and adjacent and nearby property owners.

Video and project updates: see www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/boonesferry 

More photos: Flickr.  

Additional links:

Feb. 12, 2020 news release

Feb. 20, 2020 traffic advisory

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The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. www.portlandoregon.gov/bes and @BESPortland. 

Media contact: Diane Dulken (503)457-7636 diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov


Sewage advisory: Sewer line clogged by tree roots leads to overflow on 1200 block of NE Davis Street

Sanitary Sewage Release Advisory

(this is not a combined sewer overflow [CSO] advisory) 

(March 25, 2020) – City crews are clearing tree roots from a sewer line and making emergency repairs on the 1200 block of NE Davis Street after a mix of rain and sewage overflowed to the street yesterday afternoon. 

Crews estimate that about 600 gallons of rain mixed with sewage backed up to a nearby business’s floor drain and to a pipe outside that business. The mixture flowed about a block to a storm drain that leads to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.  

The public is advised to obey warning signs that have been posted on the street. No creeks or waterways were affected.

City crews continue to provide essential services during the COVID-19 crisis. If you experience or see a sewer overflow, call the City of Portland’s 24/7 hotline: 503-823-1700.  

Most sewage overflows are preventable. Pipes that become blocked with grease, tree roots, “flushable” wipes, and other debris are the most common cause of sewage overflows.   

While this release was caused by tree roots, Environmental Services advises the public to follow these tips to prevent clogs in homes and businesses, and to prevent sewage releases: 

  • Only flush human waste and toilet paper (wet wipes are NOT flushable); 
  • Collect grease and fat in cans, then put in the trash not down sink drain.

For other tips, see What Not To Flush: www.portlandoregon.gov/BES/WhatNotToFlush.

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. @BESPortland www.portlandoregon.gov/bes  

Media contact: Diane Dulken diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov(503)457-7636


Media Advisory: Wipes clog pipes - during COVID19 crisis and everyday, prevent sewage overflows by flushing only the 3Ps: toilet paper, pee, and poo

March 18, 2020 - The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services reminds the public that during the Coronavirus crisis and every day: Only flush the 3P’s - toilet paper, pee, and poo.

Any other material - such as cleaning wipes, “flushable” wipes, and paper towels - can cause clogs and sewer overflows that further impact public health and our environment.

That’s because toilet paper breaks down quickly in water. Other material remains intact. In fact, wipes are a leading cause of sewage overflows and costly clogs to City pipes and pump stations. Another leading cause is fats, oils, and grease poured down sink drains. 

As more people stay home and correctly follow public health official guidelines, Environmental Services offers this advice to prevent the most common causes of sewage backups and overflows:

  • Prevent wipes from clogging pipes. Only flush the 3 Ps: pee, poo and toilet paper. Other material belongs in the trash, not toilet.
  • Prevent fats, oils, and grease from clogging sink drains, and sewer pipes. Pour unused cooking oil and other grease into cans, let cool (it will turn from a liquid into a solid), and place in the trash.

For more tips: www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/WhatNotToFlush 

If you experience a clogged pipe in your home, call a plumber. If you experience or see a sewer overflow, call the City of Portland’s 24/7 hotline: 503-823-1700.  


The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services - your sewer and stormwater utility - provides Portland residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.  Follow on Twitter - @BESPortland. On the web: www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/news. 

Contact Info:
Diane Dulken (503)457-7636 diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov

News Release: Service disconnections suspended during COVID emergency declaration

The Portland Water Bureau issued the following news release today on behalf of our joint water/sewer/stormwater customers: 

(March 12, 2020) - The Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services want to ensure that everyone has access to the utilities they need to stay healthy and take care of themselves and their families. With this emergency declaration, and until further notice, City of Portland Customer Service (Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services) will not disconnect water service for non-payment of sewer/stormwater/water bills.

It’s important for customers to know they will continue to be responsible for sewer/stormwater/water charges due now and accrued during this time. Customers should continue to pay their utility bill.

“We know that Portland is working through an affordability crisis in addition to a public health crisis,” said Portland Water Bureau Director Mike Stuhr. “We want you to know that we are here to help.”

Customer Service offers flexible payment arrangements, discounts for low-income homeowners and renters and rent assistance for water users in multi-family properties and other options. Be proactive if you’re facing financial hardship: Call Customer Service at 503-823-7770 to work out a plan.


News Release: City of Portland and State of Oregon partnership spurs positive results for Portland Harbor

Joint fund with US EPA endorsement advances projects for safer, cleaner river

(March 9, 2020) - The City of Portland today announced the success of its 2019 joint partnership with the State of Oregon aimed at assisting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to meet its goal of accelerating the Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup. To date, nearly 20 parties have signed agreements with EPA to finalize cleanup designs for 140 contaminated acres, according to the EPA. These cleanup designs serve as the blueprints for the subsequent cleanup construction.

The EPA today credited the funds made available from the City-State partnership with “bolstering EPA’s negotiation efforts.” A total of $11.2 million has been claimed from the City-State fund, resulting in 57 percent of the 10-mile Superfund site now working under legally binding agreements with EPA on remedial design, the next major phase of cleaning up the contaminated riverbed. Much of the work under these agreement kicks off this month. 

Mayor Ted Wheeler applauds the progress by saying “This is a unique and bold approach by public agencies and it’s resulting in the most significant progress we have seen since the site was listed 20 years ago.”

The City-State trust was created last year after the federal agency pushed to have responsible parties move forward on remedial design agreements by the end of December 2019.  In response to that challenge, the City of Portland and State of Oregon each dedicated up to $12 million to a trust that offered $80,000 per acre to parties that signed agreements with EPA to complete cleanup designs. The trust pooled public resources and capped the public’s funding for remedial design.

This innovative approach improved efficiency and effectiveness of public dollars, ensuring that funds would be used on actual cleanup design work instead of unlimited administrative costs associated with negotiating and participating at multiple locations. For each dollar spent from the trust, EPA agreed to provide the City and State with a dollar for dollar credit against their respective cleanup responsibilities. Parties that took advantage of the funding offer remain responsible for all design costs above the $80,000 per acre.

Cleanup design agreements are now in-place for the entire western side of the Superfund site, and for large areas of the eastern bank.  The Superfund Site stretches over 10-miles of the Lower Willamette River, roughly from the Broadway Bridge downstream to Sauvie Island.

The City is hopeful that the momentum created with this effort will assist the remaining uncommitted areas to move forward towards a cleaner and safer river. For more information, visit epa.gov/superfund/portland-harbor. 

 

Contact: Annie Von Burg 503-516-4970


Traffic Advisory: Sewer project to close lanes on NE Broadway between NE 24th and 25th avenues starting March 3

(March 2, 2020) – The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services advises the traveling public to expect lane closures on NE Broadway Street between NE 24th and NE 25th avenues beginning March 3 and continuing through the end of March. 

The lane closures will occur on both eastbound and westbound lanes while workers extend the sewer system in that area. At least two lanes of the four-lane road will be open at all timesLane closures may occur any time during work hours, which are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Saturdays as needed.

The closures will allow Environmental Services contract crews to extend the public sewer system on NE Broadway between 24th and 25th. This work is part of the City’s ongoing effort to provide property owners a way to directly and independently connect to the public sewer system. The project also will help protect public health, property, and the environment by increasing the capacity of the public sewer system.

The public is advised to travel cautiously, expect some delays, observe directions of reader boards and flaggers, and use alternate routes when possible.

More information on the project may be found at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/NortheastExtensions.

  ###

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.


Traffic Advisory: SW Boones Ferry Road lane closures start Feb. 24 for Tryon Creek bridge and restoration project; full road closure starts March 30

(February 20, 2020) – The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services advises the traveling public to expect intermittent lane closures on SW Boones Ferry Road near SW Arnold Street beginning Feb. 24 and continuing through March. SW Boones Ferry Road will be completely closed in both directions beginning March 30 for up to seven months.

The closures will allow Environmental Services contract crews to build a new bridge on SW Boones Ferry Road where it crosses Tryon Creek to create better connections for fish, people and wildlife. The new bridge will allow the creek to flow freely, replacing an aging culvert that blocks healthy water flow and native fish. Crews  also will build a pedestrian and wildlife trail under the bridge that connects to the area’s existing popular trail network.

Lane closures will occur intermittently through March 30 while workers prepare the construction site. One lane will remain open at all times. Lane closures may occur any time during work hours, which are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Saturdays as needed.

The public is advised to travel cautiously, expect some delays, observe directions of reader boards and flaggers, and use alternate routes when possible.

For the full closure, a recommended detour directs SW Boones Ferry Road travelers to use SW Stephenson Street and SW 35th to reach SW Terwilliger Boulevard. The full closure will be in effect all hours, all days, to all travelers, including non-motorized use.

See the project video and find more information at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/boonesferry. Photos may be found at Flickr.

  ###

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.

 

Media contact: Diane Dulken diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov (503)457-7636


Sewage advisory: City crews clean up sewage release on NW Cornell Road this morning

Sanitary Sewage Release Advisory - (this is not a combined sewer overflow [CSO] advisory)

(February 15, 2020) – A clog in a sewer line led to a sewage release on the 2800 block of NW Cornell around 10 a.m. today. City crews stopped the release at about 11:30 a.m. and are cleaning the street this afternoon. 

Crews cleared the blockage and estimate that about 6,000 gallons flowed along NW Cornell Road for about 1,000 feet to a storm drain. That drain leads to the City’s wastewater treatment plant.

No creeks or other water body were affected.  The public is advised to obey warning signs that have been posted around the release. 

The cause of the blockage is unknown. Most sewage overflows are preventable. Pipes that become blocked with grease, tree roots, wet wipes and other debris are the most common cause of sewage overflows.  

Environmental Services advises the public to follow these tips to prevent clogs in homes and businesses, and to prevent sewage releases: Only flush human waste and toilet paper (wet wipes are NOT flushable); collect grease and fat in cans and put them into the garbage not down drains; and to not put anything down storm drains, which are intended for rainfall only. 

This sewage release is not related to the City of Portland's combined sewer overflow control system, commonly called the Big Pipe Project. That system protects the Willamette River and Columbia Slough from stormwater and sewage overflows during heavy rains.  

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.

Media contact: Diane Dulken diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov. (503)457-7636


News Release: Boones Ferry restoration and bridge project to benefit fish, wildlife, people; full road closure starts in late March for up to seven months

(February 12, 2020) – The City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services is beginning a restoration and bridge-building project on Tryon Creek at SW Boones Ferry Road to restore healthy water flows to the creek and improve connections for fish, wildlife, and people.

Environmental Services advises the traveling public that construction of the project’s main feature – a 125-foot-long steel girder bridge -  will involve lane closures later this month on SW Boones Ferry Road near SW Arnold Street, and a full road closure starting in late March for up to seven months.

During lane closures, flaggers will be on site; people are asked to travel cautiously, expect some delays, observe directions of reader boards and flaggers, and use alternate routes when possible.

For the full closure, travelers are advised to use a recommended detour that directs Boones Ferry Road travelers to use SW Stephenson Street and SW 35th to reach SW Terwilliger Boulevard. The closure will be in effect all hours, all days, to all travelers, including non-motorized use. Local access will be provided.

To build the bridge, crews will remove a section of the road as well as an aging culvert underneath the roadbed. That culvert has been a longtime obstacle that blocks native fish and prevents healthy water flow, leading to erosion and storm surges along the creek.  

Crews will also build a pedestrian and wildlife trail under the bridge and along the creek that connects with the area’s existing popular trail network.

“The culvert was a barrier, the bridge will be a connector,” said Environmental Services Director Mike Jordan, “Instead of squeezing the creek into a dark corrugated pipe, the bridge will allow one of the Portland’s healthiest streams to flow freely, unlocking upstream and downstream habitat for fish.  For people and wildlife, the trail alongside the creek will create a safe pathway that connects to Southwest Portland’s extensive trail network. We thank the community for its partnership in helping us design a project that benefits both people and wildlife.”culvert to be replaced

“Community groups have been long time advocates for this project, and we are particularly delighted by the steel girder bridge solution. Walking under the bridge will be much safer than walking over SW Boones Ferry Road,” said Hans Steuch, a volunteer with SW Trails and a member of the Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association.

Tryon Creek is considered one of Portland’s healthiest streams, and is home to native cutthroat trout, Pacific lamprey, and other native fish. The larger watershed is home to beaver, deer and other wildlife. The Boones Ferry Road culvert is one of two major fish passage barriers on the mainstem of Tryon Creek. The other is a culvert near the mouth of the creek at Highway 43 where it connects with the Willamette River. Planning is underway for that Highway 43 culvert to be removed, which would open Tryon Creek’s prime habitat for endangered Willamette River salmon and steelhead.

In addition to bridge and trail construction, the restoration project will install large wood and rock in key areas of the creek to reduce erosion and improve water quality and fish habitat. Crews under contract to Environmental Services will remove about 100 trees in the bridge construction zone, with many being reused to create wildlife habitat on the site; crews will also plant 6,050 shrubs, more than 3,000 plants, and more than 600 tree seedlings

The SW Boones Ferry Bridge and Restoration Project cost is $8.8 million, with the majority being funded by Environmental Services. Metro is providing a $650,000 grant through its Nature in the Neighborhood program.

Other project partners are: Portland Parks and Recreation, Portland Bureau of Transportation, Portland Water Bureau, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, and community groups including Tryon Creek Watershed Council, SW Trails PDX, Friends of Tryon Creek State Park,  SWNI Transportation Committee,  Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association and adjacent and nearby property owners.

Updates will be provided, including the exact date of the full closure. Schedules may change due to a variety of factors, including weather, conditions underground, and other unforeseen events.

 More photos may be found at Flickr.  See the project video and find more information at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/boonesferry.

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 The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. www.portlandoregon.gov/bes and @BESPortland.

Media contact: Diane Dulken (503)457-7636 diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov


Sewage Advisory: Sewage release to tributary of Fanno Creek in SW Portland

(This is not a Combined Sewer Overflow [CSO] Advisory) 

(January 24, 2020) - Sewage was discharged from a residence in SW Portland, reaching a storm drain leading to an unnamed tributary of Fanno Creek. The release occurred on SW 26th Place near SW Mitchell Court.

The release was discovered at about 4:25 p.m. on January 24 and is ongoing. City crews are working to stop the release and investigate the cause. The amount of sewage released is unconfirmed. 

As a precaution, the public is advised to avoid contact with the creek in that area, between SW 26th and where the tributary meets Fanno Creek at SW Dosch Road and Beaverton Hillsdale Highway for 48 hours because of the possibility of increased bacteria in the water.

This sewage release is not related to the City of Portland's combined sewer overflow control system, which works during rainy weather to prevent overflows of stormwater and sewage to the Willamette River and Columbia Slough.

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. 


Remembering Commissioner Nick Fish - a celebration of his life is Feb. 16

“I have always believed that government can be society’s greatest force for good, and that together we can do amazing things.” – Commissioner Nick Fish

(Updated Feb. 12. 2020) - Environmental Services staff will join with the late-Commissioner Nick Fish’s family and the community in a celebration of his life on Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. at Portland State University’s Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom, 1825 SW Broadway. The event is open to the public, but seating is limited, says PSU. The memorial will be livestreamed at the student union and at https://www.nickfishforportland.com/.

Commissioner Nick Fish, who oversaw the Bureau of Environmental Services as well as Portland Parks & Recreation, died of stomach cancer Jan. 2, 2020, just two days after sending this message to the community.  Environmental Services mourns his passing and is grateful for his leadership and spirit of service.

"We hope that this first public celebration will begin to release our grief toward healing as well as inspire service to the community in Nick’s memory, and we look forward to other gatherings," said Nick Fish's widow, Patricia Schechter. 

   ***

Here we share a special message and remembrance from Environmental Services Director Michael Jordan:

Commissioner Nick Fish called his 11 years of service on the Portland City Council, “the great honor of my life.” He was loved and respected in City Hall and throughout Portland for his many years of service to the community. He was passionately committed to protecting and improving the environment, helping people experiencing houselessness, and working to bring more affordable housing to Portland, among many other initiatives and accomplishments. Commissioner Fish passed on in early January after battling abdominal cancer since 2017. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Fish DJC Award

Commissioner Fish after being named "Public Official of the Year" in 2019 by the Daily Journal of Commerce

Nick was always proud to lead Environmental Services, and he admired and strongly supported our work. He was particularly passionate about the RNG (Renewable Natural Gas) initiative at the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant and popularized the informal name “Poop to Power” project after his son coined that term. He was an advocate for our work helping salmon return to and thrive in Portland’s waterways, including the Crystal Springs and Oaks Bottom restoration projects. He also advocated for the Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup project and worked closely with BES staff to accelerate the EPA-led cleanup of river sediments.

  Nick Fish at Oaks Bottom

Commissioner Fish at a press conference marking the completion of construction at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

In addition to his work with BES, during his City Council career Nick oversaw the Water Bureau, Portland Parks and Recreation, and Portland Fire Bureau. His advocacy for affordable housing led to the creation of the Portland Housing Bureau in 2009. He supported the City’s work to fight climate change and was an advocate for increasing equity and inclusion in City government and the community. He championed Project SEARCH, which places young people with disabilities in the workplace, including at BES. He cherished his role as the City liaison to Elders in Action and supported their work to empower and engage older adults. His accomplishments are truly inspirational, and he was a role model for many of us. You can read more about his extensive record of accomplishments here.

Nick was a kind, caring, and compassionate friend and will be remembered as a tireless, fierce advocate for all Portlanders. We can carry on his legacy and honor him by continuing our work to protect and restore Portland’s watersheds, working to promote equity and inclusion at BES and in our community, and by supporting each other during difficult times. I am grateful and honored to have had the opportunity to work with Commissioner Fish and will always remember him with love and respect.

Picture: bes hood to coast team honors nick fish

 BES' Hood to Coast team honors Commissioner Nick Fish at the start of his cancer battle

 


Advisory: Oil sheen reaches Columbia Slough from illegal dumping

(December 30, 2019) - The City of Portland is working to contain and clean up an oil sheen on the Columbia Slough that originated from containers that were dumped on the roadway above the slough at NE Glass Plant Road near Alderwood Road.Columbia slough

 

City contractors have placed booms in the water to contain and absorb the fluid.  Environmental Services advises people recreating on the slough to avoid the immediate area around the NE Glass Plant Road bridge. Crews will keep the booms in place for several days.

 

The source of the oil sheen are two containers that were dumped on the roadway and discovered around midnight Sunday. Each container holds a maximum of 275 gallons and were found to contain a mixture of oil and gas. Only a fraction of the amount each container could hold is believed to have reached the slough. Portland Fire & Rescue and Portland Bureau of Transportation managed the initial response in the early morning hours of Sunday and cleaned up the residue on the roadway. Environmental Services will continue to monitor the slough.

 

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Environmental Services’ spill response hotline at 503-823-7180. Callers’ information will be kept confidential upon request.

 

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.

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Sewage Advisory: Broken pipe leads to sewage release to Willamette River near Morrison Bridge

Updated: The advisory has been updated to reflect the location of the leaking pipe, which is at SE Second Avenue and Alder Street. 

(This is not a Combined Sewer Overflow [CSO] Advisory) 

(November 5, 2019) - A leaking sewer pipe led to sewage discharging to the Willamette River from an outfall on the Eastside Esplanade just north of the Morrison Bridge, the Bureau of Environmental Services reported today.

City crews discovered the leak at SE Second Avenue and Alder Street around 10:30 a.m. and stopped the sewage release around 2:30 p.m. They will continue to investigate the cause and make repairs. Crews estimated the release at 3,000 gallons. 

As a precaution, the public is advised to avoid contact with the Willamette River downstream of the area for 48 hours because of the possibility of increased bacteria in the water. 

This sewage release is not related to the City of Portland's combined sewer overflow control system, which works during rainy weather to prevent overflows of stormwater and sewage to the Willamette River and Columbia Slough.

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. 


Sewage Advisory: Crews stop sewage release on railroad embankment near NE 21st Avenue bridge over I-84

Sanitary Sewage Release Advisory (this is NOT a Combined Sewer Overflow [CSO] Advisory)

(October 19, 2019) – City crews responding to a report of an odor discovered a sewage leak on an embankment near the NE 21st Avenue bridge that spans I-84. The report was made last night and crews stopped the leak today.

The area is fenced off and not readily accessible to the public.  There is a houseless camp nearby and warning signs were placed on the embankment at the location of the release and downhill to the railroad tracks that parallel Interstate 84.  While crews stopped the release, further repairs will be needed. The cause is a suspected broken pipe.

The City of Portland treats an average of 70 million gallons of wastewater each day. Over one-third of Portland’s more than 2,500 miles of sewer pipes are over 80 years old. This sewage overflow is not related to the City of Portland's combined sewer overflow control system.  

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The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.


News release: Portland Recognized as Finalist for Salmon Restoration Work by the 2019 C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards

Update (Oct. 11, 2019) - Environmental Services congratulates the winning cities. We are inspired by the climate leadership of cities around the world.  It takes all of us to create #TheFutureWeWant. To see all 100 leading projects, visit www.cities100report.org

Crystal Springs Creek restoration makes list of leading global climate action projects; Community invited to Salmon Celebration Oct. 6

(October 2, 2019) – Commissioner Nick Fish will announce today at City Council that Portland’s Crystal Springs Watershed Restoration project has been named a global finalist for the 2019 C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards, which recognizes cities worldwide that are demonstrating climate action leadership. 

The Crystal Springs Watershed Restoration project in SE Portland improved the creek’s water quality and removed culverts so salmon and other fish can travel up the Willamette River tributary. As a result of the project, Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish declared Crystal Springs the city’s first salmon sanctuary in 2017. Led by the Bureau of Environmental Services, the project brought together community groups, government agencies, and indigenous communities to protect salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act. Photo: crystal springs

“Portland is proud to be a city where nature is celebrated and enjoyed,” said Commissioner Fish, who leads the Bureau of Environmental Services and Portland Parks & Recreation. “We are replicating our success at Crystal Springs Creek throughout the city. We are humbled to receive this international recognition; it will fuel our continued work.”

The international announcement today comes as Portland City Council proclaims October 6 as “Salmon in Our City Day” and invites the community to the 6th annual Salmon Celebration. This year’s event will be held on October 6 at Johnson Creek Park, where Crystal Springs Creek enters Johnson Creek.

“As we restore our rivers, creeks, and natural systems and honor salmon as part of our natural and indigenous heritage, we restore opportunities for our future and better prepare our city for climate change,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler.

Council will also receive a presentation on the City’s progress in meeting its Salmon-Safe re-certification. Portland-based non-profit Salmon-Safe independently certifies land management practices and their possible effects on water quality and salmon habitat. Portland Parks & Recreation has been certified Salmon-Safe since 2004. In 2016, the City of Portland became the first city in the world to achieve certification.

Following the Crystal Springs Watershed Restoration project, the Bureau of Environmental Services, Portland Parks & Recreation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a restoration project at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. The project included replacing an old culvert with a “salmon subway” that allows fish to access the Refuge for the first time in over 100 years. City Council just approved another culvert replacement project in the Tryon Creek watershed.

“I’m proud that both of my bureaus are leaders for salmon, for our environment, and for combating climate change,” said Commissioner Fish.

Background

Mayor Wheeler is scheduled to be in Copenhagen on October 10 for the C40 World Mayors Summit where the winner will be announced. Urban leaders from across the globe will share bold strategies and actions to meet the climate goals set by the Paris Agreement. C40 Cities is a network of the world’s megacities committed to climate solutions. It is funded in part by the Bloomberg Philanthropies, the organization established by former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg that administers the Cities100 report and awards.

This is the second time C40 Cities has recognized Portland’s climate leadership. Previously, Portland was recognized for its innovative Climate Action Plan as one of the first cities in the world to act at the local level.

For more information, including a virtual tour of Crystal Springs and a video of wild coho spawning in the newly restored Crystal Springs habitat, see www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/crystalspring

The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. www.portlandoregon.gov/bes  @BESPortland

Media contact: Diane Dulken (503)457-7636


Advisory: Sewage release from pump station at NE Alderwood Road reaches Columbia Slough

Sanitary Sewage Release Advisory (this is NOT a Combined Sewer Overflow [CSO] Advisory)

(September 24, 2019) – A pressurized sewer pipe at a NE Portland pump station ruptured this afternoon, leading to sewage overflowing to the nearby Columbia Slough.

City crews discovered the break around noon today from the pump station at 8599 NE Alderwood Road and stopped the flow around 3:30 p.m. They estimate around 10,500 gallons overflowed to a storm drain at the pump station. The storm drain leads to the slough. The public is advised to avoid contact with the slough around Alderwood Road for at least 48 hours due to increased bacteria in the water. The public is asked to adhere to the warning signs posted in the area.

https://goo.gl/maps/PPfLDtvXgc1vkStw8

Crews are working on repairs to the pipe. The cause is under investigation.

This sewage overflow is not related to the City of Portland's combined sewer overflow control system, which prevents overflows of stormwater and sewage to the Willamette River and Columbia Slough during rainy periods.

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. www.portlandoregon.gov/bes and @BESPortland.

Media Contact: Diane Dulken 503-457-7636 diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov


Advisory: Heavy rains last night lead to a stormwater and sewage overflow in NW Portland

Sanitary Sewage Release Advisory

(this is not a combined sewer overflow [CSO] advisory)

(September 18, 2019) - Heavy rains last night overwhelmed a portion of the City’s sewer system at the 2700 block of NW Westover Road, leading to a mix of stormwater and sewage overflowing to the street from at least two manholes. In addition, the heavy rains led to a number of basement backups in nearby homes.

https://goo.gl/maps/vUsS2ouiX1CTmuCD6

The mix is estimated to be about 90 percent stormwater and 10 percent sewage. Crews responded around 9:30 p.m. and cleaned out the main sewer line as a precautionary measure in case of blockage but did not find any. The overflow stopped around 10:15 p.m.

The overflow to the street mixed with additional rain that fell overnight, further diluting and dispersing it. Warning signs were posted on the 2700 block of Westover only. Environmental Services does not advise any additional precautions.

The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services treats an average of 70 million gallons of wastewater each day and manages a system of 2,500 miles of pipes, 2,000 green street planters and additional grey and green infrastructure.  While not common, exceptionally heavy rains can exceed the capacity of combined stormwater and sewer pipes, leading to discharges. Sewer overflows are usually preventable and are caused most often when pipes become blocked with grease, tree roots and debris.

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.

 

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CSO Advisory: Heavy rains Saturday led to combined sewer overflow (CSO) at NW 110th Avenue and NW Front Avenue

(August 10, 2019) - Heavy rains led to a combined sewage overflow Saturday from a single outfall at NW 110th Avenue and NW Front Avenue to the Willamette River in Portland.

The overflow began at approximately 4:46 p.m. and ended around 5:09 p.m. on Saturday. A preliminary estimate of the overflow amount is 60,000 gallons.

Because of increased bacteria in the water, the public should avoid contact with the Willamette River in the vicinity of Linnton and Port of Portland Terminal 4 and downstream for the next 48 hours.

A combined sewer overflow (CSO) is about 80 percent stormwater and 20 percent sewage. CSOs are rare and can occur during periods of heavy rain or snowfall. This is the first overflow in 2019.

Since completing the Big Pipe project in 2011, a 20-year, $1.4 billion program to reduce overflows, the number of CSOs have dropped by 94 percent to the Willamette River and 99 percent to the Columbia Slough. 

The Big Pipe project constructed a series of improvements, from disconnecting downspouts on homes to allow rainwater to be absorbed naturally in the ground to the construction of big pipes on both sides of the river and along the slough to store and convey large quantities of flows to the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Before the project, CSOs occurred to the Willamette River from multiple outfalls an average of 50 times a year, with some instances lasting days. Today, overflows occur an average of four times per winter season, and once every three summers. 

Find out more information about CSO events, what they are and why they occur at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/398740.

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. Visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bes and follow us on Twitter for news @besportland.

Media contact: Taffy Spencer 503-823-8601 or taffy.spencer@portlandoregon.gov


Traffic Advisory: Sewer construction to close N Vancouver Avenue between NE Russell and NE Hancock streets Monday, July 15

The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services advises the public that a sewer repair project will close N Vancouver Avenue to daytime travel between NE Russell and NE Hancock streets Monday, July 15.

The closure will be in effect for construction from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. People traveling by motor vehicle will be detoured to NE Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard. People traveling by bicycle will be detoured to NE Rodney Avenue.

Local access will be maintained for residents and people visiting businesses along N Vancouver Avenue. All lanes will re-open to traffic during non-construction hours.

The closure and construction are part of the Eliot Sewer and Stormwater Project and will allow crews to repair and replace about two miles of deteriorating public sewer pipes that are 100 to 120 years old. The project also includes constructing green street planters in key locations to reduce the amount of stormwater entering the combined sewer system. These improvements will protect public health, property and the environment by reducing the possibility of sewage releases into streets, homes and businesses. Project information may be found at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/eliot.

The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.

Media Contact: Taffy Spencer, 503-823-8601, taffy.spencer@portlandoregon.gov


Advisory: Sewage release at Simmons Pump Station, possibly impacting Columbia Slough

Sanitary Sewage Release Advisory (this is NOT a Combined Sewer Overflow [CSO] Advisory)

(July 9, 2019) – Sewage was released at Environmental Services’ Simmons Pump Station at 15831 N Simmons Road. Sewage leaked slowly from a flexible pipe at the pump station over a period of one to two days. City crews have repaired the leaking pipe and are cleaning the impacted area. 

The sewage was released mainly onto the pump station property, but some sewage did flow offsite and enter a catch basin which eventually drains into the Columbia Slough immediately south of the N Lombard Street bridge. Warning signs advising the public to avoid the area were posted. 

The volume of the release is estimated at about 200 gallons. The release was discovered at 8:15 a.m. on July 9, 2019 and was stopped at 8:25 a.m. that morning. 

City crews are testing the area of the Columbia Slough that may be impacted for E. coli bacteria, which is the primary public health concern. The public should obey the warning signs posted in the area.

This sewage overflow is not related to the City of Portland's combined sewer overflow control system, which prevents overflows of stormwater and sewage to the Willamette River and Columbia Slough during rainy periods.

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. www.portlandoregon.gov/bes and @BESPortland.

Media Contact: Taffy Spencer, (503) 823-8601, taffy.spencer@portlandoregon.gov


Traffic Advisory: Sewer cleaning to close one lane on NW Front Avenue at NW Kittridge Avenue July 8 for four weeks

UPDATE (July 23, 2019) - this project has been extended through at least the end of July.

(July 3, 2019) - The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services advises the traveling public that a sewer cleaning project will reduce NW Front Avenue to one lane at NW Kittridge Avenue and extending part way to NW Doane Avenue for approximately three weeks beginning on July 8th.

Sewer maintenance crews will be at work 24 hours a day. The lane closures will be in effect all days and nights, including weekends.Closure at NW Front Avenue and Kittridge

One lane will be maintained at all times and flaggers will be on site to direct traffic.  The traveling public is required to follow signage and directions of flaggers when present.

 People traveling by motor vehicle or bicycle should expect delays during construction.  Share the road and travel with caution.

 The closure will allow sewer maintenance crews to clean large diameter sewer main pipes in this section of industrial Portland. By working 24 hours a day, Environmental Services aims to both limit impacts to traffic and complete needed maintenance work more quickly. 

 The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.

 

 


News Release: Oregon Oils, Inc. agrees to pay the City over $500,000 in fines and charges and to upgrade its pollution prevention systems

(July 2, 2019) - The City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services announces that Oregon Oils, Inc. will pay $538,500 to resolve discharge permit violations at its processing facility located at 2515 NW 29th Avenue in Portland.

Of that total, $238,500 are civil penalties and $300,000 are sewer-related charges. The penalties and fees are the largest amount recovered by Environmental Services’ environmental compliance program.

Oregon Oils neither admits nor denies the findings that were the basis of the City’s 2018 enforcement action.

Oregon Oils operates a Northwest Portland plant that collects and processes fats, oils, and grease from area restaurants. Oregon Oils and other processing facilities are required by federal law to pretreat their wastewater before discharging into the City system. Pretreatment prevents clogs to City pipes and resulting sewage overflows.  

As a condition of the agreement, the company will also upgrade its pretreatment equipment and improve the City’s access to monitor the company’s discharges.  Both of those steps will be required before the company can resume discharging wastewater into the City sewer system.

In a separate criminal investigation handled by the Oregon State Police, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Oregon Department of Justice, Oregon Oils pled guilty last month to two misdemeanor counts of Water Pollution in the Second Degree (ORS 468.943). The company was sentenced to 24 months’ probation and the standard condition to “obey all laws.” In addition, the sentencing included a special condition that Oregon Oils must comply with the terms of the City’s agreement, including the payment of all imposed fines and fees, as well as undertaking infrastructure improvements and procedural changes to better ensure future compliance.

Attachment: Voluntary Compliance Agreement - BES-Oregon Oils

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. For news updates, follow @BESPortland on Twitter and visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/news

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Media Contact: Diane Dulken, 503-457-7636, diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov


EXTENDED Traffic Advisory: Sewer construction to close SW Hamilton Terrace at SW Terwilliger Blvd through Aug. 5

UPDATE (July 23, 2019) - This project has been extended through the first week of August. Projected opening date is Aug. 6

(July 3, 2019) -  The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services advises the traveling public that a sewer repair project will close a section of SW Hamilton Terrace that feeds into SW Terwilliger Blvd for two to three weeks beginning Monday, July 8.

 The closure will be in effect 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekday and affects SW Hamilton Terrace between SW Terwilliger Boulevard and SW Bancroft Street.Map of SW Hamilton Terrace closure

 Drivers seeking to access SW Terwilliger Boulevard are asked to use alternate routes. A sidewalk will be open for people walking and bicycling.

 The work is part of the SW Hamilton Terrace Sewer Repair Project. Environmental Services is repairing 200 linear feet of sewer pipe and a manhole that is deteriorating due to age. The repair will extend the life of the sewer and protect public health, water quality and the environment. www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/HamiltonTerrace.

 The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.

 Media Contact: Taffy Spencer (503)823-8601  taffy.spencer@portlandoregon.gov

 


News Release: Environmental Services reminds the public that it is illegal and unsafe to enter the City’s sewer and stormwater system

(June 18, 2019) - The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services issues the following statement in response to a video of people emerging from a NW Front Avenue manhole:Photo of entry with protective gear

The City of Portland Environmental Services maintains a system of 2,500 miles of pipes and other infrastructure in order to protect public health and our environment by keeping sewage and stormwater away from people. It is extremely rare for anyone to intentionally expose themselves to the hazards of untreated sewage or stormwater as well as the dangers of being underground in a pipe that has limited oxygen and limited means of escape or rescue. It is both illegal and highly unsafe to do so.

Environmental Services’ investigation of this incident has found that an unknown number of people have entered a pipe in Northwest Portland that mostly carries stormwater but can contain untreated sewage as well during periods of heavy rain. The pipe entryway is not visible to the public and is contained behind a screen and a fence. 

Environmental Services’ initial assessments have found that the pipe is in good working condition and there is minimal damage at the entryway to the pipe. Crews will repair that damage. In addition, the screen at the entryway is slated to be upgraded and enhanced barriers will be part of the design; the timeframe for that upgrade is next summer.  

Environmental Services also reminds the public of the penalties for illegally entering the system. Unauthorized entry is subject to up to $10,000 in civil penalties per day, per violation.  The City may also seek to recover its costs for responding to violations and for repairing the sewer system, if necessary.  In addition, an unauthorized entry may be subject to legal action for criminal trespass. 

But the biggest penalty is the risk to one’s own life and health.  Sewer and stormwater pipes have limited access for escape, can fill quickly even in periods of moderate rain and often have limited oxygen. 

“It is a good way to get yourself killed,” said Environmental Services chief engineer Bill Ryan. “What kills people is usually a lack of oxygen. Even highly trained staff do not enter pipes unless absolutely necessary.” 

Here is how Environmental Services prepares to enter a pipe:Photo of crewmember lowered down manhole in protective gear

  • Only crews certified to operate in confined spaces are allowed to enter pipes. 
  • Crews first send sensors down a pipe to see if the air is safe. Pipes often have low levels of oxygen and possibly other sewer gases. Even then, crews take additional precautions. 
  • A crew member is lowered down in a harness. If they experience trouble they are pulled up by crew members above ground.
  • Crew members are equipped with an air supply and wear protective clothing, helmets and safety gear. 

It is impossible to prevent someone determined to get into the sewer and stormwater system, but it is not an appealing, safe or legal place to be. “There is no way to completely foolproof the system,” Ryan said. “We can reiterate the dangers to the few people who find it appealing.” 

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Media contact: Diane Dulken (503)457-7636 diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov

 


Advisory: Sewage release from City manhole on SE Long Street near SE 128th Avenue

Sanitary Sewage Release Advisory (this is NOT a Combined Sewer Overflow [CSO] Advisory)


(June 17, 2019) - Sewage was released from a City manhole to the ground SE Long Street near SE 128th Avenue. 

The volume of the release is estimated at nearly 900 gallons. The release began around 11:15 a.m. and was stopped at 12:30 p.m. by City crews. City workers are conducting cleanup and posted advisory signs in the area. The cause of the release is under investigation. 

The public should obey the warning signs posted in the area to avoid exposure to bacteria from untreated sewage. 

This sewage release is not related to the City of Portland's combined sewer overflow control system, which prevents overflows of stormwater and sewage to the Willamette River and Columbia Slough during rainy periods.


The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes and @BESPortland.


 Media Contact: Diane Dulken, (503) 457-7636diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov


News Release: Ready for Willamette River swimming, boating, and playing? “Check the Rec” to see Environmental Services water quality test results

Banner - check river testing results all summer

(June 11, 2019) - With summer temperatures arriving early, the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services reminds the public of Environmental Services’ weekly Willamette River water quality testing program.   

Since the completion of the Big Pipe Project in 2011, seven years of Environmental Services’ summer sampling consistently shows bacteria levels well within state guidelines, meaning the river water is safe for direct contact through swimming and other recreation. Picture of willamette river - marina

Each week from late May through September, Environmental Services tests for E. coli bacteria and water temperature at five popular public recreation spots. Tests reflect E. coli from all sources – people, pets, and wildlife. Sampling is conducted on Wednesdays and results posted by Friday morning – in time for weekend activity. The public is invited to “Check the Rec” to view test results. 

So far this year, E. coli counts at all sites were under 40, well below the count of 406 that is the health standard for swimming set by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

By contrast, a sewage overflow would show E. coli counts of 5,000 or higher.

So far in 2019, there have been zero sewage overflows to the Willamette.

“The Big Pipe is making a big difference. As sewage overflows have dramatically declined, recreation has impressively increased. A clean river benefits us all - people and wildlife,” said Environmental Services Director Mike Jordan. “People can help keep our river clean by picking up litter, and especially pet waste, which is a preventable source of bacteria.”

Last year, 98 percent of test results showed low bacteria levels well within state health guidelines. 

Two results showed slightly elevated levels of E. coli. Additional sampling taken the same day showed low levels, indicating the higher readings were from a temporary source of pets, wildlife, or illicit human discharge.

Swim and Play Safely

A general rule of river safety: While the river is regularly free of sewage overflows and harmful levels of bacteria, there still can pockets of exposure from people, pets (please pick up after your dog) or wildlife. Be aware of your surroundings, and when playing in the river, avoid swallowing river water.

While bacteria levels are the biggest health concern for swimming and other direct recreation, the public also is advised to be alert for trash or any discoloration. Later in summer after long dry spells, a blue-green sheen can indicate toxic blue-green algae. Those instances are rare as well. The state issues algae advisories. Environmental Services issues advisories of sewage releases.  

Environmental Services and Portland Fire & Rescue offer these additional river tips:

  • Know the water and know your abilities to stay safe and enjoy the river.
  • Many factors affect safety on the river, including temperature, currents, and debris.
  • The river is cold. Cold water is good for migrating salmon and other fish, but water below 70 degrees can be uncomfortable and unsafe for people. 
  • Check the Rec for water temperatures as well as bacteria at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/ChecktheRec
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The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. For news updates, follow @BESPortland on Twitter and visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/news.

 

 


News Release: The State of Oregon and the City of Portland propose a new partnership for a safer, cleaner Willamette River

(Portland, OR - May 22) UPDATE: Portland City Council unanimously approved the new partnership and EPA agreement today in an ordinance introduced  by Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Nick Fish. Original news release below:

****

This news release is being issued by both Governor Kate Brown and the City of Portland:

Joint fund with US EPA endorsement will jump start Portland Harbor cleanup efforts

(Salem, OR - May 10, 2019) — The State of Oregon and the City of Portland have proposed a new partnership for a safer, cleaner Willamette River, ushering in the next phase of the Portland Harbor cleanup work. This phase includes finalization of cleanup designs, which serve as blueprints and workplans for site cleanup. 

In December, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the entire Portland Harbor Superfund site must meet certain milestones toward cleanup design by the end of 2019. The State and City have proposed a unique approach that efficiently leverages public investment to encourage private parties to jump-start design work. Harbor image

Under this proposal, the City and State will each contribute up to $12 million to a trust, for a total of up to $24 million, that will provide $80,000 per acre as their contribution to the design work. EPA will credit the State and City against their respective responsibilities for each dollar spent from the trust. The per-acre funds are accessible to parties who sign agreements with EPA to generate cleanup designs by the end of the year, and those parties remain responsible for all costs above and beyond the $80,000 per acre. 

By pooling and capping public resources, the State and City funds will be spent on actual cleanup design work as opposed to administrative costs associated with negotiating and participating at multiple locations, improving efficiency and effectiveness of public dollars. This is a creative and unique approach among Superfund sites and represents a significant step forward towards the cleanup of the harbor.

“Our waters and our lands are some of our most precious resources, and this project will help ensure that they will be enjoyed by generations to come,” said Governor Kate Brown. “It’s a great example of how working together brings forward cost-effective solutions.” 

“We are proud to partner with the State of Oregon on this exciting approach,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler, “and we appreciate EPA’s willingness to think outside the box with us. We look forward to continued progress toward a healthy, working river.” 

This proposal goes to the City Council on May 15, 2019. More information about the Portland Harbor Superfund can be found on the EPA website.

 

 Media Contacts:

Governor's Office, Kate Kondayen, 503-689-0248

City of Portland, Annie Von Burg, 503-823-7859


Sewage advisory: Crews respond to sewage release to Ash Creek in Southwest Portland

UPDATE: This advisory expires on Monday, April 29 at 6 a.m. (Crews stopped the release at 3:30 a.m. Friday.)

Sanitary Sewage Release Advisory

(this is not a combined sewer overflow [CSO] advisory)

(April 27, 2019) – City crews are repairing a broken pipe that has led to a sewage release to Ash Creek in Southwest Portland. The release originates near SW Barbur Boulevard and SW 55th Avenue, and flows through storm pipes to Ash Creek, a tributary of Fanno Creek.

The public is advised to avoid contact with Ash Creek downstream (west) of SW 64th Avenue, as well as Fanno Creek until further notice due to the possibility of increased bacteria in the water. 

Crews are containing the release while repairs are being made. The amount and duration of the sewage release are unknown. Crews will continue working through the weekend to address this incident.  

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The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.


News Release: Environmental Services grant helps turn North Portland brownfield site into affordable housing

(April 11, 2019) - The Bureau of Environmental Services is awarding a $200,000 grant this month to assist in the final environmental cleanup of the former Wagstaff Battery Company at 2124 N Williams Avenue. The grant is made possible through a Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund awarded to the City by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2011.  

A brownfield is a property where past use has led to contaminated soil or water. There are over 900 acres of brownfields throughout Portland. They include places like former industrial sites, gas stations, and dry cleaners. Their former use makes redevelopment expensive and challenging. 

The property will become a four-story, 61-unit affordable housing community. It is being developed by non-profit BRIDGE Housing with funding by the Portland Housing Bureau and Multnomah County. The building will include 10-units of Supportive Housing and will use the City’s right-of-return policy.

“This grant is an investment in our community, helping to create healthy neighborhoods, while providing deeply affordable housing in a historically underserved neighborhood. It’s a win-win-win. I’m proud to have the Bureau of Environmental Services support this project,” said Commissioner Nick Fish. 

The value of the small grant in this larger project is to help the non-profit developer remove contaminated soil and restore an old industrial site into a neighborhood asset – a hurdle that other properties don’t face.

To date, the Brownfield Program has helped address environmental concerns on more than 100 acres in Portland, acting as a catalyst for new businesses, housing, and community gardens.

The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. Learn more at: www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/brownfields.


UPDATED Traffic Advisory: Sewer repair at SW Naito and Salmon Street starts April 8; Better Naito bicycle and pedestrian traffic to detour to Waterfront Park

Update (April 12) - This project will extend into the following week. No work is scheduled over the weekend and all lanes will be open on the Better Naito bicycle/pedestrian corridor. Beginning Monday, April 15, work will resume and the detour will be in effect 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays possibly through Friday, April 22.map

--- original traffic advisory below ---

(April 2, 2019) – The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services advises the traveling public that a sewer repair project will close a section of Better Naito at SW Salmon Street for one week beginning Monday, April 8. 

The closure will be in effect 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekday. The project is slated to be complete on Friday, April 12. Work crews will not know the extent of damage until they excavate the area under the street and there is a possibility the time frame will be extended.

Environmental Services has determined that a sewer pipe under the road surface is severely deteriorated and at risk of failure. The repair will protect public health and the environment by reducing the possibility of a sewage release to the park and street.

The work zone is centered around a manhole on the west side of Salmon Springs in Waterfront Park. Crews will use the manhole to reach and repair the sewer pipe which extends from the manhole west along SW Salmon Street. The section needing repair is directly under Better Naito.

People traveling along the Better Naito bicycle and pedestrian lane will be detoured to Waterfront Park:

  • Northbound travelers will be routed to Waterfront Park at SW Main Street, then along the Waterfront Park trail, and back to Better Naito on SW Yamhill Street.
  • Southbound travelers will be routed to Waterfront Park on SW Yamhill Street, then along Waterfront Park, and back to Better Naito at SW Main Street.

People traveling by bicycle on SW Salmon Street will have the option of merging with northbound auto traffic for about a block before returning to Better Naito.

Environmental Services asks all travelers to be patient and use caution, and for people on bicycles to travel slowly and watch out for pedestrians on the Waterfront Park trail. 

The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.

Media Contact Diane Dulken, 503-457-7636, diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov

 


Sewage advisory: Clogged manhole on NE Greeley Avenue leads to sewage overflow

Sanitary Sewage Release Advisory

(this is not a combined sewer overflow [CSO] advisory)

(March 29, 2019) – A manhole that became clogged with debris led to a sewage overflow in the right-of-way on NE Greeley Avenue in an area called the Greeley Forest Garden. Image of site of sewage release

Crews cleared the blockage around 6 p.m and restored service to the area, estimating that about 1,500 gallons overflowed today from the manhole onto a bike path along NE Greeley Avenue and surrounding area. The sewage flowed to a storm drain that leads to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. 

Crews estimate the sewage was contained within a small area. No creeks or other water body were affected.  The public is advised to obey warning signs that have been posted around the release. 

The sewage release possibly has been occurring for several weeks but was reported today, according to a crew member who spoke with a resident of an adjacent transient camp.  

Sewage overflows are preventable. Pipes that become blocked with grease, tree roots, and debris are the most common cause of sewage overflows. Environmental Services advises the public not to flush anything other than waste and toilet paper, and to not put anything down storm drains, which are intended for rainfall only.  

This sewage overflow is not related to the City of Portland's combined sewer overflow control system which protects the Willamette River and Columbia Slough and manages excess stormwater and sewage during exceptionally heavy rains.  

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The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.


NOW OPEN - Traffic Advisory: Sewer construction to close pedestrian/bicycle bridge over Columbia Slough for three months starting March 25

(May 13, 2019) UPDATE - The bike path is now OPEN. Crews finished major repair work 39 days earlier than projected. Enjoy the trail.

(March 20, 2019) – The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services advises the public that a sewer repair project will close the Columbia Slough pedestrian/bicycle bridge north of the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant for three months beginning Monday, March 25.The closure will be in effect all hours and all days until June 23. Crews are repairing a 20-inch diameter pressurized pipe that runs underneath the bridge and carries sewage from Northeast Portland to the treatment plant. Repair of the aging pipe will protect public health and the environment.

An alternate route for pedestrians and people traveling by bicycle over the Columbia Slough is Interstate Avenue. The closure and construction are part of the Inverness 20-inch Force Main repair project.

 The Inverness Force Main is an 11-mile pressure sewer that splits into two sections about two miles east of the wastewater treatment plant. Both sections are suspended underneath the Columbia Slough Pedestrian Trail Bridge, which Environmental Services constructed.

A similar 90-day bridge closure two years ago allowed Environmental Services to repair the first section, a 30-inch diameter pipe. This closure will allow repair of the second section, a 20-inch diameter pipe. www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/inverness20.

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The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.

Media contact: Diane Dulken (503)457-7636 diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov

 


Traffic Advisory: Sewer construction to detour traffic from North Vancouver Avenue at NE Russell Street for three months starting February 25

(February 21, 2019) – The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services advises the public that a sewer repair project will close N Vancouver Avenue to daytime travel between NE Russell and NE Hancock streets for three months beginning Monday, February 25.

The closure will be in effect for construction from 9:15 a.m. through 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and during the same hours on Saturdays as needed. People traveling by motor vehicle will be detoured to NE Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard. People traveling by bicycle will be detoured to NE Rodney Avenue.

Local access will be maintained for residents and people visiting businesses along N Vancouver Avenue. All lanes will re-open to traffic during non-construction hours.

Environmental Services asks the traveling public to be patient, travel with extra caution, use the recommended detours and be alert for families and children walking and biking to Harriet Tubman Middle School on N Flint Avenue and connecting side streets.

Environmental Services is coordinating with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), Harriet Tubman Middle School and Portland Police Traffic Division to maintain safe traffic flow in the neighborhood. While the traffic closure begins after school starts, please help maintain safety near the school by using designated detour routes.

The closure and construction is part of the Eliot Sewer and Stormwater Project and will allow crews to repair and replace about two miles of deteriorating public sewer pipes that are 100 to 120 years old. The project also includes constructing green street planters in key locations to reduce the amount of stormwater entering the combined sewer system. These improvements will protect public health, property and the environment by reducing the possibility of sewage releases into streets, homes and businesses. Project information may be found at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/eliot.

The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.

Media contact: Diane Dulken (503)457-7636 diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov


Advisory: Sewage release to tributary of Tanner Creek at 3263 SW Cascade Terrace

Sanitary Sewage Release Advisory (this is NOT a Combined Sewer Overflow [CSO] Advisory)

(February 14, 2019) – Sewage was released from a City-owned pump station at 3263 SW Cascade Terrace. The sewage discharged into a stormwater catch basin for a tributary of Tanner Creek. 

The volume of the release is estimated at approximately 2,700 gallons. The release began around 5:45 a.m. City crews are onsite working to stop the release and conduct cleanup. An investigation of the cause of the release is ongoing. 

The public should obey the warning signs in the area and avoid contact with the tributary to Tanner Creek for 48 hours.

This sewage overflow is not related to the City of Portland's combined sewer overflow control system, which prevents overflows of stormwater and sewage to the Willamette River and Columbia Slough during rainy periods.

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. www.portlandoregon.gov/bes and @BESPortland.

Media Contact: Taffy Spencer (503) 823-8601, taffy.spencer@portlandoregon.gov


Advisory: Sewage release along NE Marine Drive bike path east of NE 33rd Dr

Sanitary Sewage Release Advisory

(this is not a combined sewer overflow [CSO] advisory)

(February 6, 2019) – City crews are responding this evening to a sewage release along the NE Marine Drive bicycle path east of NE 33rd Drive. 

Crews are working to clean up the overflow, some of which is soaking into a grassy area along the path. The Columbia River is not affected. The release was reported around 7:25 p.m. The overflow has stopped and the cause is under investigation. 

Environmental Services has posted warning signs at the location of the release. 

Over one-third of Portland’s more than 2,500 miles of sewer pipes are over 80 years old. Environmental Services has ongoing construction projects to replace and repair aging pipes throughout the city: www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/construction.  The sewage release today is not related to Portland’s combined sewer overflow control system that protects the Willamette River and Columbia Slough from overflows during heavy storms. 

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The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.

Media Contact Diane Dulken, 503-457-7636, diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov


CANCELLED Traffic Advisory: Traffic signals out at NE Glisan and 60th Avenue intersection through tonight; expect delays, use alternate routes

2:30 pm update: This advisory is cancelled. Work is complete and service is restored.  

 

(January 11, 2019) - The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services advises the traveling public to expect congestion around the intersection of NE Glisan Street and 60th Avenue through the evening commute due to a sewer construction project. The traffic signals at the intersection have been shut off and flaggers are managing traffic flow.

The public is advised to expect delays through this evening and to use alternate routes where possible.

Alternate routes are:

Eastbound and westbound travelers: Use NE Halsey or E Burnside streets.

Northbound or southbound travelers: Use NE 47th or 67th avenues.

The public is asked not to cut through residential streets. The nearby I-84 ramp signals are not affected but people entering or leaving the freeway may experience congestion on NE Glisan Street.

Travelers are asked to follow signage and the direction of flaggers, Please share the road and travel with caution.

The sewer repair work is the last major piece of the Mt. Tabor Sewer Repair Project. www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/tabor. This project is repairing and replacing public sewer pipes that are 60 to 104 years old in order to protect water quality, public health and our environment.

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The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.

Media Contact Diane Dulken, 503-823-5328, diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov


Advisory: Sewage overflows from manhole on SW 57th Street into creek at Dickinson Park & Woods

Sanitary Sewage Advisory

(this is not a combined sewer overflow [CSO] advisory)

(January 10, 2019) - A sewer line clogged with debris  overflowed late this morning from a manhole on the south border of Dickinson Park & Woods in Southwest Portland. The sewage reached an unnamed creek in the park.

As a precaution, people are advised to avoid contact with the creek for 72 hours because of the possibility of increased bacteria in the water. Warning signs are posted at the site.sewage image

City crews responded to the site at about 11:30 a.m. and found sewage overflowing from a manhole on the 10800 block of SW 57th Avenue. They stopped the release around 2:45 p.m, clearing the sewer line of debris and cleaning up the area.

Sewage overflows often are preventable. Pipes that become blocked with grease, tree roots, and debris are the most common cause of sewage overflows. While the contents of the debris that caused today’s release are unknown at this time, Environmental Services advises the public to protect public health, property and our environment by following these tips:

 * Keep grease out of drains -  Place grease in a container and then in the trash, not down kitchen drains.

* Use toilets for pee, poo and (toilet) paper - Avoid flushing rags or wipes or anything other than toilet paper and human waste.

* Only rain goes down (storm) drains - Outside the home, avoid pouring anything down storm drains, which are intended for rainfall only.  

Over one-third of Portland’s more than 2,500 miles of sewer pipes are over 80 years old. Environmental Services has ongoing construction projects to replace and repair aging pipes throughout the city: www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/construction.  The sewage release today is not related to Portland’s combined sewer overflow control system that protects the Willamette River and Columbia Slough from overflows during heavy storms.

Media contact: Diane Dulken, 503-457-7636,  diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov

 

 

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. www.portlandoregon.gov/bes and @BESPortland.