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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.

Customer Service: 503-823-7770


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Administrative Review Committee

Meeting to be held via conference call

Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.


The Administrative Review Committee reviews ratepayer requests for account adjustments, proposed account actions, and other disputes concerning water, sewer, and/or stormwater accounts. The purpose of the Committee is to review account issues that ratepayers have been unable to resolve with the bureaus’ Customer Services group. The Committee weighs policies, rates and special circumstances when reviewing an account. The Committee may accept the customer’s request, offer with an alternate remedy, or deny the appeal. Administrative Review Committee decisions are bureau decisions.

The Administrative Review Committee is made up of:

  • One representative from the Portland Water Bureau, confirmed by the Commissioner-in-Charge.
  • One representative from the Bureau of Environmental Services, confirmed by the Commissioner-in-Charge.
  • One member of the Portland Utility Board.

For more information

City of Portland Water, Sewer, and/or Stormwater Billing Appeal Policy (ADM-14.02)

Questions? Want the conference call meeting number or notes from prior meetings? Contact Alex Reagan at (503) 865-2755 or via email

The City of Portland ensures meaningful access to City programs, services, and activities to comply with Civil Rights Title VI and ADA Title II laws and reasonably provides: translation, interpretation, modifications, accommodations, alternative formats, auxiliary aids and services. To request these services, contact 503-823-7432, City TTY 503-823-6868, Relay Service: 711.

Can You Imagine Downtown Without Water?

The Willamette River Crossing Project will strengthen Portland’s water system and keep water flowing to the west side – even after an earthquake.

If a major earthquake struck Portland today, the city core wouldn’t have reliable water for six months or more. That’s because the water mains (pipes) crossing the Willamette River are more than 50 years old and they are in liquefiable soil – soil that has a lot of water and will shift and move like liquid during an earthquake. Those pipes probably wouldn’t survive a big quake. That means no water to drink and flush toilets, no water flowing to fight fires and no water to help people in critical facilities like hospitals. It also means billions of dollars of economic damage to the whole state of Oregon

What is liquefaction? 

Liquefaction happens when vibration in soil, like when an earthquake makes the ground shake, causes the soil particles to lose contact with one another. As a result, the soil behaves like a liquid. Watch a video to learn about liquefaction here

The River Crossing Project is part of our commitment to preparedness. Installing an earthquake-resilient water pipe deep under the Willamette River will help deliver water to the west side and downtown after an earthquake. This water pipe is the next step in strengthening our system and keeping water flowing. 

Construction areas for the Willamette River Crossing project   

We’ve thoroughly studied potential locations for the new crossing. The study pointed to the areas outlined in orange. The west connection for the new pipeline will be near RiverPlace and SW Naito Parkway. The east connection point will be near SE 10th Avenue and Harrison Street. 

We're Digging Deep: Here's Why 

Well combine horizontal directional drilling and microtunneling to bury pipe deep in bedrock under the Willamette River. Crews won’t work in the river which will reduce impacts to shipping, recreation, and fish habitat. Crews will also store 1,600 feet of pipe in a tunnel deep underneath the busy commercial zone on the east side before feeding it under the river. This means less impact on businesses, traffic  and the public. 

Whats Happening Now 

Geotechnical investigation: 

We need to know exactly what’s underground before we go “full bore”—so first we’re collecting data from a geotechnical probe, or Geoprobe. This will allow us to map the types of soil and rock along the proposed crossing route.  
A Geoprobe machine looks like a tractor with a large ladder. What looks like a ladder is actually a rig that probes soil. Instead of drilling, the Geoprobe hydraulically pushes tools and sensors up to 200 feet below the surface.  
The Geoprobe will provide samples along the drill path for geotechnical engineers to analyze. It can also record data from underground tests: 
  • Conductivity: how electricity passes through the soil.  
  • Pressure: soil characteristics, such as grain size and strength. 

The samples and test data will help us map what’s underground, to chart the best way so that we can proceed beneath the river.  

A geotechnical probe

What to Expect: Traffic and Noise 

  • Temporary/intermittent lane closures on SW Naito Parkway: Temporary lane closures will be in effect on the right lane of northbound Naito Parkway as crews move equipment on and off the site. Closures will take place 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday - Saturday.  
  • S Harbor Drive (Southbound): Temporary lane closures will be in effect on the southbound Harbor Drive and streets that approach Harbor Drive as crews move equipment on and off the site. Closures will take place 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday - Saturday.  
  • Equipment noise will be approximately 90 decibels. (A power lawn mower is approximately 100 decibels.) Over a period of six weeks in July and August, geotechnical investigation and drilling will generate noise, Monday to Saturday, both days and nights. The loudest tasks will be completed before 10 p.m. 

Please allow extra time for travel and respect work zone safety cones, detours, and flaggers.Learn more about the WRX project at 

MEDIA ADVISORY 7/23/2020 We’re Digging Deep: Willamette River Crossing Geotechical Probe Begins this Week

NOTE: Re-distributing press release from this morning’s media availability with video/audio for production purposes.

How will the Portland Water Bureau install pipe deep below the Willamette River? Learn more about the next phase of the Willamette River Crossing project and how it supports the City of Portland’s seismic resilience goals during this media availability:  


10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Friday, July 24. Video footage and audio clips from work site are available by request.

Willamette River Crossing Project Manager Tim Collins will discuss:

  • How this project helps the city be better prepared for an earthquake
  • The fascinating and complex construction and engineering techniques used for this project, including horizontal directional drilling and microtunneling
  • Upcoming traffic and noise impacts

Background: The pipes that carry water from the east to west side of the Willamette River are more than 50 years old and will likely not survive a major earthquake. To help us keep water flowing to the west side, the Portland Water Bureau is planning to install an earthquake-resilient pipe deep under the river, a project we call the Willamette River Crossing.

The project is in the design and exploration phase. We’re investing a little before we go “full bore.” We will use a geotechnical probe to help map the types of soil or rock beneath the river.


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.


MEDIA ADVISORY 07/21/2020: City Council to Vote on Sending Ballot Measure to Voters in November Election

On Wednesday, July 22, the Portland City Council will consider a resolution referring a City Charter amendment to Portland voters for the Nov. 3, 2020 ballot, to authorize incidental public use of Water Bureau properties outside the Bull Run Watershed when approved by the City Council. The resolution is sponsored by Commissioner Amanda Fritz, the Commissioner-in-Charge of the Portland Water Bureau. She led the successful passage of two Charter Amendments concerning the Water Bureau in 2019, both of which were overwhelmingly approved by voters. The measure will not impact City lands in the Bull Run Watershed Closure Area.

“The Water Bureau provides excellent water every minute of every day to Portlanders. Through this ballot measure, we would add another community benefit by allowing limited public use of some properties outside the Bull Run Watershed Closure Area,” said Commissioner Fritz. “This could include community gardens, picnic benches on grassy areas near water tanks, or other public uses to connect neighbors with their water utility. Passage of this ballot measure would complete Commissioner Nick Fish’s and my work to clarify appropriate uses of Water Bureau property and funds in the Charter, which I want to finish before I leave office at the end of this year.”

A 2014 advisory ruling in Multnomah County Court decided that the City Charter does not clearly provide authority to the City Council to designate these lands for public use using ratepayer money for maintenance. The proposed Charter amendment would enable the City Council to designate Water Bureau properties for incidental public uses using the Water Fund.  Currently, General Fund money is needed to allow the public to use these public lands for greenspaces, food cultivation, or picnic areas.

If passed, the proposed amendment would clarify Council authority to permit or prohibit incidental uses by the general public of City lands controlled by the Water Bureau, provided the lands are outside of the Bull Run Watershed Closure Area. Incidental public uses may include green spaces, community gardens or other functions that do not conflict with the primary drinking water purpose of these lands, and the City Council would have to approve the specific uses allowed. The public’s incidental use may result in associated costs to the Water Fund, including costs to comply with accessibility standards required by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act when public access is allowed.  


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.

Brief Customer Service payment outage scheduled

Customer Alert: Please note that system maintenance is scheduled on the evening of Tuesday July 21st, between 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. During this time frame, customers may be unable to access our view/pay bill website or our 24-hour automated payment line. We apologize for the inconvenience.