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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

MAILING ADDRESS: 1120 SW 5th Ave, Room 1000, Portland, OR 97204

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Taggart Sewer Outfall Repair

Updated February 26, 2020Button. Click to sign up for email updates

Environmental Services will resume construction this spring to repair the 114-year-old Taggart Outfall. This large, brick sewer tunnel is a critical sewer line serving Southeast Portland. It is located deep underground in a difficult location close to TriMet light rail tracks, Union Pacific Railroad tracks, and Highway 26/Powell Boulevard. This project will increase the sewer's resiliency to earthquake damage, extend is service life for another 100 years, and help prevent sewage releases to buildings and streets.


The remaining work zones in the project are located at maintenance access holes in the public right-of-way and a sewer access shaft on private property. The map below is in the process of being updated to show completed and remaining work and new access locations.

Taggart Outfall project map

General Schedule

Construction is anticipated to resume in April of 2020 and to be completed in the fall of 2020.

Completed Work 2019

During the fall of 2019, the city's contractor, James W. Fowler, Co., completed repairs to the small-diameter (8 to 24-inch wide) pipe sections in SE 16th Avenue and in SE Tibbetts Street.

Remaining Work 2020

Crews will mobilize again this spring to complete repairs to the large-diameter (64 to 118-inch wide) pipe sections between SE 16th Avenue and the Willamette River.

The following is the tentative schedule and description of remaining work activities:

  • Late April 2020
    Build a 35-foot deep sewer access shaft on private property at SE Powell Boulevard and SE 13th Place. This shaft will reduce the need for multiple access locations along the sewer tunnel.

  • May 2020
    Lay 2,725 feet of steel tracks inside the Outfall sewer tunnel. Using a crane, lower a battery-powered, human-operated locomotive and pipe lining cart into the sewer tunnel and onto the tracks. Crews will use the locomotive to install the fiberglass-reinforced pipe lining. Similar locomotives have been used in mining and tunneling industries since the 1860s.

  • June through August 2020
    Install the fiberglass-reinforced pipe lining inside the sewer tunnel. Using the battery-powered, human-operated locomotive, crews will push the fiberglass-reinforced pipe lining along the track and into position inside the tunnel. Crews will install one section of pipe lining at a time. The project will require 330 segments of 8-foot-long straight pipe, and 36 segments of joint pipe. After every 100 feet of pipe lining installation, crews will pump grout into the space between the lining and the old brick sewer. Crews will continue to slip line and install grout until all sections of the tunnel are completed.

  • August through September 2020
    Lower new steel liner plates into the sewer tunnel, assemble the steel liner plates in place inside the tunnel, and pump grout into the space between the liner plates and the old brick sewer.

  • September 2020
    Clean, inspect, and repair a maintenance access hole. Casting a new concrete liner inside the existing structure will avoid digging in the street. The liner will create a watertight, corrosion-resistant interior that reinforces the existing structure without having to replace it.

  • October 2020
    Close the sewer shaft, backfill the hole, and restore the asphalt surface. Complete post-inspection of the Outfall sewer tunnel repairs.

Work Hours

The Portland Noise Office granted Environmental Services a noise variance to work all days and all hours (24/7) in the industrial areas of the project west of the MAX light rail tracks. The noisiest work will be done during the daytime from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Crews will generally work two 10-hour shifts Monday through Saturday to complete the project during the dry-weather season.

Construction Methods

The primary construction methods to repair the Taggart Outfall will be Slip Lining and Tunnel Liner Plate. Crews will enter the sewer tunnel from maintenance access holes and a sewer access shaft and climb down 20 to 65 feet below the surface. Working from a locomotive on a steel track laid inside the tunnel, crews will essentially construct a new sewer inside the old brick sewer. They will construct some sections by inserting a fiberglass-reinforced pipe liner inside the tunnel. They will construct other sections by assembling new steel liner plates in place inside the tunnel. They will then fill the space between the new sewer and the old brick sewer with grout. These methods will avoid digging trenches in the roadway and reduce aboveground impacts to the traveling public and adjacent properties.

For safety, crews can only work inside the tunnel on dry days when there will be no water flowing into the tunnel. In the event of rainfall or a sudden surge of stormwater flowing into the tunnel, crews and equipment must be removed quickly from the sewer tunnel, and completion of repairs may be delayed.

For more information about the construction methods and noise mitigation measures, see the Project Overview.

What to Expect During Construction

While there will be some equipment and materials aboveground, most of the work will be conducted belowground inside the sewer tunnel. You can expect the following activities and impacts:

  • Temporary lane closures and on-street parking removal may be necessary to enable safe access to the sewer tunnel.
  • Equipment that generates noise will include vactor trucks, compressors, generators, ventilation fans, forklifts, and pile-driving equipment. Night work will require light tower trucks.
  • Vactor trucks will operate vacuum pumps necessary to clean the tunnel and remove materials during construction. They may operate hours at a time.
  • There may be periods of inactivity between construction phases due to a variety of factors including weather, subcontractor schedules, and availability of materials.
  • A city inspector will be on-site during work hours and may be able to assist you with an immediate need during construction.
  • Sewer, water, and other utilities will remain in service during construction.

For More Information

Environmental Services will work directly with the community throughout the course of the project. Community outreach staff will listen to your suggestions and respond to your concerns. We encourage you to:

  • Sign up for email updates about the project. Click the SIGN UP button and select Taggart Outfall Sewer Repair Project from the dropdown menu.
  • Visit this webpage using the shortcut
  • If you have a question about the project, call 503-823-7898 or email city outreach staff, stating that Taggart Outfall is your area of concern.
  • If you have a nighttime construction noise complaint, call 503-823-1338, stating that Taggart Outfall is your project of concern.

Sewer Emergencies

In the event of a sewer backup or basement flooding, call the Maintenance hotline immediately at 503-823-1700. It is staffed all hours and all days, 24/7.

Project Overview

Including the project description, map and schedule

Community Outreach

Check out current and previous communications about the project