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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 7, 2019Button. Click to sign up for email updates

Environmental Services will soon begin construction on a project to repair or replace up to 6,800 linear feet, over one mile, of public sewer pipes and manholes 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 water quality, public health, and the environment by reducing the possibility of sewage releases to buildings and streets.


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 and west, and SW Harbor Drive to the east. The project also includes work on W Burnside and SW Columbia streets.

Project map


Pre-construction activities are anticipated to begin this February or March. Major pipe repairs will follow in the spring when weather is more conducive to pipe lining work. The project is expected to take about a year to complete.

Before the major pipe repair work begins, crews will be in the area preparing for construction. Pre-construction activities may include inspecting pipes and manholes to verify conditions, locating underground utilities and marking them with paint on sidewalks and pavement, fencing trees for protection, tree trimming, setting up traffic controls, moving equipment and materials into the area, and setting up the sewer bypass system necessary to maintain sewer service during repairs.

Approved Night Work

Regular work hours will be 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays as needed. To reduce public impacts and complete the work as quickly as possible, the Portland Noise Office granted Environmental Services a Noise Variance to enable the construction contractor to work both days and nights. Work at each location will take less than a week, including up to three nights to complete the pipe lining sewer repair work. The noisiest work will be done during the day.

Equipment that generates noise will include sewer cleaning trucks, compressors, light trucks, generators, pumps, and ventilation fans. Night work will require lighting of the work zone.

Construction Methods

This project will include both trenchless and trench excavation construction methods:

  • Cured-in-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP) to repair the main line sewer pipes
  • Sawcutting and jackhammering to install cleanouts in some locations
  • Digging trenches to replace some sewer service lateral connections to buildings

The CIPP sewer pipe lining process will insert a liner to strengthen and reinforce the pipes, making them last for many years. Pipe lining work will occur after 6 p.m. and before 7 a.m., when flows in the pipes are low. Doing this work at night will reduce traffic congestion and allow time for the sewer pipe lining to harden. Some setup and inspections will occur during the day.

The CIPP process will occur in phases:

  • One day to set up the bypass service that will provide uninterrupted sewer service to adjacent buildings
  • One night to line the sewer pipe and cure the lining so it hardens in place
  • One day or night to reinstate the sewer service lateral connections to adjacent buildings
  • One day or night to line the service laterals and remove the bypass service

This project will also require sawcutting and jackhammering to install cleanouts in multiple locations. Cleanouts are typically installed near the curb, but may also be placed in the sidewalk or near the building. They will be used to maintain sewer service during repairs and to provide access for future maintenance. This noisier work, along with any trench excavation, will be done during the day.

Click here for more details and photos about construction methods.

What to Expect during Construction

You can expect the following activities and impacts when construction begins:

  • Work Hours: Regular hours will be 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. To complete the pipe lining, crews will work both days and nights.
  • Traffic Delays: Expect traffic delays in and near the work area.
  • Temporary Street Closures: Street closures may be required for manhole access and the sewer bypass pumping system. Where needed, local access will be provided by flaggers.
  • Driveway Access: Construction may temporarily block your driveway when crews are working in front of your property.
  • No Parking: Little or no on-street parking will be allowed in and near work zones, especially during work hours.
  • Equipment Storage: Equipment and materials may be stored on streets overnight.
  • Services Maintained: Sewer, water, and other utilities are expected to remain in service during construction.

Businesses and residents should expect periods of inactivity between phases of work, ranging from a few days to a few weeks. In areas where the repair requires a trench, temporary pavement will be applied to the site until permanent pavement can be applied at a later date.

For More Information

Environmental Services is committed to keeping residents and businesses informed. We encourage you to sign up now for the project’s email update list.

  • Visit this project webpage for updates using the shortcut
  • Sign up for email updates by clicking the SIGN UP button on this page.
  • 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.

Project Overview

Including the project description, map and schedule

Community Outreach

Check out current and previous communications about the project