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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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SW Caruthers-Mill Sewer Repair Project

Updated January 16, 2020Button. Click to sign up for email updates

Environmental Services continues construction on a project to repair or replace more than one mile of public sewer pipes in downtown Portland that are in deteriorating condition. Some of the pipes were among the first built in Portland, before the 1880s. These improvements will protect reduce the possibility of sewage releases to buildings and streets and help protect the Willamette River watershed.

This project is part of the larger Downtown-Old Town Sewer Repair Program managed by Environmental Services to assess the condition of and repair the public sewer system serving Downtown and Old Town Portland. The program represents millions of dollars in investments. Ultimately, these improvements will extend the life cycle of downtown sewer infrastructure by more than 50 years.


The project is generally located in the Portland State University (PSU) area and is bounded by SW Mill Street to the north, I-405 to the south, SW 16th Avenue to the west, and SW Harbor Drive to the east. The project also includes work on W Burnside and SW Columbia streets.

Project map - construction update

General Schedule

Construction is expected to be completed by June 2020.

Look-Ahead Construction Schedule

Below is the anticipated construction schedule for the next two weeks. This schedule may change due to emergencies, weather, conditions underground, subcontractor schedules, materials availability, and other factors.

Portland State University posts campus-wide impact notices at

The Rest of This Week (January 16-17)

Crews will repair service lateral pipes using Cured-in-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP). This work will take place at night at the following locations:

  • SW 4th Avenue between SW Lincoln Street and SW Harrison Street
  • SW Sherman Street between SW Water Avenue and SW Naito Parkway

Week of January 20

Crews will repair service lateral pipes using Cured-in-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP). This work will take place at night at the following location:

  • SW Sherman Street between SW Water Avenue and SW Naito Parkway

Week of January 27

No work is scheduled this week due to materials and subcontractor availability.


Cured-in-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP)

The primary construction method to repair public sewer pipes in this project is Cured-in-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP). The CIPP lining process occurs in phases, with work at each location expected to take less than a week.

When heat (steam) is used to cure or harden the liner during CIPP, people who are nearby may smell an odor that is often described as being similar to plastic or glue. The odor is from the chemical styrene, which is in the resin of the liner. The resin is the part of the liner that reacts with heat and hardens.

While unpleasant for some, the amount of airborne styrene generated by the CIPP process is not a health risk at the levels observed by the City of Portland and tested and monitored by an independent industrial hygienist. The odor dissipates quickly once the process is complete.

How You Can Help Prevent Unpleasant Odors in Your Home or Building

If your building is connected to the sewer line being repaired, you can help prevent the styrene odor from entering your home or building by pouring water down all floor drains, sinks, and tubs to ensure that a water barrier is maintained in each drain’s “P-trap.” If this does not prevent odors from entering your home, you may need to temporarily seal the drain by placing a plastic bag filled with water over the drain or taping over it. These temporary measures will prevent the backflow of odors.

If there is already a strong odor in your home, opening windows can improve ventilation and help diminish these odors. If the odors are stronger outdoors, closing windows can prevent these odors from entering your home or business.

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 SW Caruthers-Mill Sewer Repair Project from the dropdown menu.
  • Visit this project webpage for updates using the shortcut
  • If you have a question about the project, call 503-823-5315, stating that Caruthers-Mill is your area of concern. Your call will be returned by the next business day.
  • If you have a nighttime construction noise complaint, call 503-823-1338, stating that Caruthers-Mill is your project of concern.
  • Email city outreach staff.
  • For a list and maps of other downtown sewer projects, visit

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