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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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Taggart Sewer Outfall Repair


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The City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services is continuing our work to repair and replace critical sewer and stormwater infrastructure. Environmental Services will continue to provide information and updates on construction schedules and activities during the COVID-19 emergency. 

Updated July 30, 2020

Construction continues on the 114-year-old Taggart Outfall—a large, brick sewer tunnel located deep underground. This critical sewer line serves Southeast Portland. Repairs will increase the sewer’s resiliency, extend its service life for up to another 100 years, and help prevent sewage releases.


The remaining work zones in the project are located at maintenance access holes in the public right-of-way and a sewer access shaft in private property. See map below.

Project Map

General Schedule

Installing fiberglass-reinforced pipe linerConstruction will go through several phases and is anticipated to be completed in the late fall of 2020. For an anticipated schedule of the phases, see the Project Overview.

Activities for the next several weeks will include the following:  

  • Ongoing installation of tunnel liner plates inside the sewer tunnel.
  • Ongoing installation of fiberglass-reinforced pipe liners inside the sewer tunnel.
  • Pumping of grout to fill the space between the new pipe liners and the old brick sewer.

Noise Concerns

Environmental Services and its contractor continue to work with the Portland Noise Office to respond to, investigate, and take action to resolve noise concerns being reported in Southeast Portland. The City of Portland takes these matters seriously. 

Residents have identified two above-ground tunnel fans as potential sources of the noise that continues to disrupt their sleep and cause varying degrees of irritation. The tunnel fans provide ventilation for crews working in the sewer tunnel deep underground. The fans must operate whenever crews are in the sewer tunnel.

Noise Mitigation Measures

Upon receiving the first report of a noise concern associated with the tunnel fans, the Taggart Outfall project team took immediate action and constructed plywood sound barriers around each fan. Crews have since installed additional measures to reduce the noise generated by the fans. They have installed sound dampening panels inside and outside the plywood barriers, and fully enclosed the sound barriers, including at the top.

Noise Permit

The Portland Noise Office granted Environmental Services a noise variance to work all hours and all days (24/7) in the industrial areas of the project west of TriMet light rail tracks. The Noise Office has determined that the Taggart Outfall project is not in violation of its permit. That said, however, they continue to investigate the noise concerns being reported.

After conducting extensive field investigations, installing several mitigation measures, and taking various measurements at the fans and at various distances from the fans, the project team and the Noise Office have concluded that there are likely other sources of the most disturbing noise concerns being reported in Southeast Portland. The volume, frequency, timing, and distance of some of the noises being reported do not appear to relate to the sewer repair project. These other, perhaps industrial, sources have yet to be identified. The Noise Office is continuing to investigate.

Report Noise Concerns

You can help us address these noise concerns. If you have a noise concern related to a construction project or other potential source of a noise nuisance, please report it directly to the Noise Office:

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 TriMet 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 12-hour shifts Monday through Saturday, and Sunday if needed, to complete the project during the dry-weather season. 

Construction Methods

Locomotive and cart in sewer tunnelThe 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 30 to 75 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, noise mitigation measures, and what to expect during construction, see the Project Overview.

Tunnel Fans

The Taggart Outfall project is not a typical sewer construction project. There is very little aboveground construction activity and no digging in streets. Crews are conducting repair work from inside the sewer tunnel deep underground. Current work zones are far from residential properties.

The tunnel fans operating at the above locations are necessary to provide ventilation to crews working in the confined space of the sewer tunnel deep underground. The fans must operate all hours and all days when crews are inside the tunnel. And crews can only work inside the sewer tunnel on dry-weather days, when there is no flow of rain or stormwater into the tunnel.

How To Stay Informed

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