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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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NW Thurman Sewer Reconstruction

Updated May 3, 2019Button. Click to sign up for email updates

Environmental Services is designing a project in Willamette Heights to reconstruct about 4,800 feet of public sewer pipes. The project will also construct, repair, or replace 36 manholes, 15 storm drain inlets, and 96 service laterals that connect private properties to the public sewer. These improvements will relieve basement sewer backups at 31 properties and increase the capacity of the 100-year-old sewer system to handle combined sewage and stormwater.


Project design will continue into the summer of 2019, followed by the contractor selection process in the fall. Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2019 or early 2020 and take a year to complete.


The map below illustrates where this project will construct sewer improvements. The primary construction method for each pipe segment is noted.

Project Map

Construction Methods

Contractors will use open trench excavation and cured-in-place-pipe lining (CIPP) to construct sewer improvements.

This project will abandon sewer pipes and manholes under the Balch Gulch Bridge and divert sewer and stormwater flows away from the bridge to the existing system at the intersection with NW 30th Avenue. The project will upsize the sewer line north on NW 31st Avenue and east on NW Vaughn Street to NW 30th to accommodate the flows from this diversion. This improvement will avoid compromising the integrity of retaining walls, a water line, the bridge abutment, and bridge pier supports, and improve future access to the system for maintenance.

Sewer construction may also require removing buried trolley track rails and ties to install new sewer pipes. After a construction contractor is selected in the fall of 2019, the contractor will propose the removal methods, a sequencing plan for construction activities, and a general schedule.

Click here for details and photos of construction methods.

Anticipated Traffic Controls

Contractors will develop traffic control plans before construction begins, but you can expect the following traffic controls and impacts:

  • Traffic Delays: Expect traffic delays in and near the work zones.
  • Local Access: Access will always be maintained, but construction may temporarily block a driveway when crews are working in front of a house.
  • Lane Restrictions: At least one lane with two-way traffic on NW Thurman west of 31st will always be maintained, with flaggers during work hours to control traffic and assist pedestrians.
  • Cross-Street Closures: Work at intersections on NW Thurman may require temporary cross-street closures, with local access the next block up from the closure on that cross street.
  • Street Closure: Work in the intersection of NW Thurman and 31st may require a temporary street closure of NW Thurman. If closure is necessary, a signed detour will be in place, and work hours will be restricted.
  • Pedestrian Access: Crosswalks, sidewalks, and other pedestrian access will be maintained to the full extent possible. If closures are necessary, signage will indicate the alternate way for pedestrians to proceed.
  • On-Street Parking Restrictions: Parking will be removed in and near work zones to create a safe work environment and to stage equipment and materials. The project team is exploring ways to minimize the impact of reduced parking in the area.
  • Work Zone Limits: Length will be limited to one block and one intersection at a time.
  • Equipment Storage: Equipment may be stored on streets overnight, except on the detour route.
  • Garbage Pickup: Access to garbage and recycling bins for haulers will always be maintained.
  • TriMet Impacts: The bus turnaround area at NW Thurman and Gordon should not be affected, but the project team is working with TriMet on how a potential street closure on NW Thurman at 31st and a detour might affect their service route.

Sewer Extension in NW Aspen

This project will extend the public sewer in NW Aspen Avenue to provide properties a new connection to the public sewer. Staff will reach out directly to property owners in the southern section of NW Aspen Avenue just north of NW Savier Street to obtain information that will help engineers determine sewer service connection locations for those properties.

The northern segment on NW Aspen Avenue just below NW Belgrave Avenue has been removed from the NW Thurman project. To keep it in the project would likely cause schedule delays due to the new private development and its land use review process. Therefore, Environmental Services will address the northern segment extension in a different design process and coordinate with the private developer, the Bureau of Development Services, and adjacent property owners as needed. Whether or not that extension can be constructed during the Thurman sewer reconstruction project is unknown at this time.

Coordination with Transportation

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is coordinating landslide recovery work on NW Thurman Street. PBOT will not complete their street restoration work in 2019, but Environmental Services will still proceed with sewer construction. The alignment for the new sewer will be designed and constructed to avoid conflict with the PBOT restoration area. For questions about PBOT's landslide recovery work, please contact Geren Shankar at 503-823-4793.

As is standard with all sewer projects, Environmental Services will coordinate with PBOT on street permits, street restoration requirements, and safe traffic controls. Any pavement disturbed by this project will be restored per PBOT's guidelines.

Report Basement Backups

If your basement sewer backs up or your property or street floods, please report it immediately to the city’s 24/7 Maintenance Operations hotline at 503-823-1700. They will log the issue in a tracking database, visit the location to investigate the issue, make emergency repairs where necessary, and use this information to help plan future improvements to the system. This information will also be used to improve the local surface drainage conditions where possible. Please report an issue as it is happening so responding crews can observe it. We also encourage you to call the hotline to report locations where there is a history of local surface drainage issues.

For More Information

If you would like more information about the project or have questions and concerns you’d like to discuss, please call or email:

Cheryl Kuck
Community Outreach
Phone: 503-823-7898

If you have a concern or question about a pipe repair near you, please be sure to include your name, property address, and project name (NW Thurman) in your voicemail and email so we can provide you more details about what to expect in front of your property. Also, please write "NW Thurman" in the subject line of your email. Click SIGN UP to sign up for periodic email updates.

Project Overview

Including the project description, map and schedule

Community Outreach

Check out current and previous communications about the project