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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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Downtown-Old Town Sewer Repairs

Updated October 29, 2019

The Program

Nationwide, public sewer and stormwater utilities are grappling with aging infrastructure, and Portland is no exception. Over one-third of Portland's 2,500 miles of sewer pipes are more than 80 years old. Routine maintenance is not sufficient to keep pace with aging and seismically vulnerable infrastructure. Projects to replace or repair aging sewers are important for protecting water quality, public health, and the environment.

The Downtown-Old Town Sewer Repair Program, managed by the Bureau of Environmental Services, is a multi-year and multi-million dollar investment to assess the condition of and repair the aging public sewer system serving Portland's Downtown and Old Town neighborhoods. Sewer pipes in these neighborhoods were originally installed in the mid-1800s after Portland was founded in 1845.

Having provided 100 to 150 years of service, the pipes are showing signs of cracks, breaks, holes, offset connections, and root and grease obstructions. If these pipes were to collapse, causing basement flooding and sewage releases to buildings and streets, the consequences would be catastrophic for Portland's Downtown and Old Town neighborhoods, whose businesses are so important to our local and regional economy.

Environmental Services currently has several projects in various phases of planning, design, and construction to repair deteriorating 100 to 150-year-old public sewer pipes. The goals of these projects are to assess the condition of the public sewer system, identify and evaluate defects, prioritize the repairs needed, identify the appropriate repair methods, and construct the repairs and upgrades.

The sewer system repairs and upgrades will be designed and constructed by Environmental Services and a variety of contractors and will be supervised by Environmental Services engineers, inspectors, and safety officers. Community outreach professionals will work directly with the community throughout the course of the projects.

Current Sewer Repair Projects

The following are active sewer repair projects downtown. Visit the project webpages for more information:

SW Yamhill-Morrison Sewer Repair Project

  • Resumed construction on Phase Three in August 2019
  • Expected to complete construction in November 2019 

SW Washington Street: Park Ave to 10th Sewer Repair Project

  • Began construction in September 2019
  • Expected to complete construction in November 2019

SW Caruthers-Mill Sewer Repair Project

  • Began construction in March 2019
  • Expected to complete construction by June 2020

Downtown Urgent Sewer Repairs Project

  • Began design in October 2019
  • Expected to begin construction in June 2020

SW Main-Taylor Sewer Repair Project

  • Began design in September 2019
  • Expected to begin construction in June 2021

Completed Sewer Repair Projects

The following Downtown-Old Town sewer repair projects have been completed:

  • SW Yamhill-Morrison Sewer Repair Project Phase One (completed May 2017)
  • SW Alder-Oak-Taylor Sewer Repair Project (completed August 2018)
  • SW Yamhill-Morrison Sewer Repair Project Phase Two (completed November 2018)

In addition, Environmental Services has completed several small emergency sewer repairs and provides ongoing sewer maintenance activities and repairs throughout the Downtown-Old Town area.

Get Portland MovingDowntown Open for Business

The Central Business District is the site of multiple projects to repair and replace aging sewers, rail lines, bridge structures, streets, and other infrastructure. Projects with long-term benefits will cause short-term disruptions to residents, businesses, and visitors. Environmental Services coordinates with multiple agencies to schedule and complete construction, minimize disruptions, and help people get to where they are going. For information about other projects that will affect travel in and around the Central Business District, visit www.MovePDX.net.  

To avoid circling around construction to find parking, please use SmartPark garages.

Community Outreach

Environmental Services is committed to ensuring the community is informed and engaged prior to and during the work associated with each of its Downtown-Old Town sewer repair projects. Community outreach staff will use a variety of communication tools to provide timely notifications about project design and construction activities and potential impacts. Outreach methods will include the following:

  • Direct mail
  • Hand-delivered fliers to downtown properties
  • On-site, in-person property visits and conversations
  • Regular email notifications
  • Social media posts
  • Project webpage updates
  • Phone hotline and message line
  • Sidewalk reader boards
  • Presentations to downtown business and neighborhood associations

If you would like more information about downtown sewer repairs, please call or email:

Cheryl Kuck
Community Outreach
Phone: 503-823-7898
Email Cheryl Kuck