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The City of Portland, Oregon

Audit Services

Audits City bureaus and programs for efficiency, effectiveness and equity

Phone: 503-823-4005

1221 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 310, Portland, OR 97204

Public Utilities

Browse our audit reports about public utilities. This includes environmental services, wastewater, sewer, water, and hydroelectric power.

Utility Payment Assistance: Program improvements would enable City to assist more customers

The Water Bureau has not used customer data to design their payment assistance program. Without data, it is unable to identify disparities, tailor assistance to meet customer needs, focus outreach or measure the impact of assistance. Payment assistance is not available to residents of multifamily housing since most residents of multifamily pay for their water, sewer and stormwater as part of their rent rather than directly to the Water Bureau. We recommend the Water Bureau strengthen payment assistance by collecting and using customer data and improving outreach and training.

Highlights  |  Report  |  October 2017


B.E.S. Columbia Building: Scope additions and ineffective design oversight led to substantially higher project costs

In 2014, the Bureau of Environmental Services completed a new office building at the City’s wastewater treatment plant for $11.5 million. The building cost ratepayers three times the original amount budgeted. This audit reviews why the costs increased and recommends improvements to prevent future capital project cost overruns of this magnitude.

Report  |  October 2014  


Organic Waste: Program improvements would enable City to assist more customers

The Solid Waste Program has increased recycling, but further efforts are required to reach its goal of reducing overall waste generation. Waste sent to landfills has been reduced in the residential sector. However, the commercial sector generates the vast majority of organic waste, and much of it ends up in landfills. We recommend BPS increase the food waste participation rate for the commercial sector, including multifamily housing units, and identify incentives to divert organic waste from landfills.

Report  |  April 2014   


Further audits about public safety 

Residential Solid Waste: Customer rates accurate, but monitoring should continue (Report 429) - 6/20/12

SUMMARY: Portland Water Bureau asset management audit (Report 405) - 6/7/12

Portland Water Bureau: Further advances in asset management would benefit ratepayers (Report 405) - 6/7/12

Spending utility ratepayer money: Not always linked to services, decision process inconsistent (Report 398) - 3/30/11