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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

More Contact Info

Downtown Urgent Sewer Repairs Project

Updated October 29, 2019Button. Click to sign up for email updates

Environmental Services is designing a project to make urgent repairs to 3,600 feet of public sewer pipes in downtown Portland that are in very poor condition. Originally installed between 1867 and 1917, most of the pipes were built within two to three decades after Portland was founded in 1845. These pipes require immediate attention and are at a high risk of collapsing, which would have severe consequences to the Portland Downtown Neighborhood, the Central Business District, and the Downtown Core. Urgent repairs now will extend their service life, increase their resiliency to earthquake damage, and help prevent sewage releases into downtown buildings and streets.

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 boundary is SW Ankeny Street to SW Market Street between SW Naito Parkway and SW 12th Avenue.

The bold lines on the map below indicate pipe work locations. They also show where the pipes are located in relation to the center of the street. For example, on SW Taylor Street between SW Park Avenue and SW Broadway, one pipe is north of the center line and another pipe is south of center.

Project Map

To avoid circling around construction to find parking, please use SmartPark garages. The nearest SmartPark garages are illustrated on the project map above.


Project design will continue through January 2020. Contractor selection will occur between February and May 2020. Construction is anticipated to begin in June 2020 and take about six months to complete.

Construction Methods

The public sewer pipes in this project have defects that require immediate attention to avoid their collapse. The city's goal is to repair the majority of pipes using trenchless methods, such as pipe lining. Some areas that cannot be lined will require spot repairs, where crews will dig small trenches to replace short sections of pipe. This approach will avoid having to dig long trenches in downtown streets to replace whole pipes later.

The proposed construction methods include the following: 

  • Cured-in-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP) to install liners that seal cracks and restore the pipes to near-new condition
  • Open Trench Excavation (Open Trench) to dig small trenches so that crews can replace short sections of broken pipe that cannot be lined
  • Open Trench to install cleanouts so that crews can access sewer connections to buildings connected to the public sewer and maintain sewer service during repairs
  • Horizontal Directional Drilling at one location to upsize a 15-inch diameter pipe to 20 inches and relocate it away from a water main

For more details about each method, including photos from previous projects, click here.

Proposed Night Work

To reduce public impacts and complete the work as quickly as possible, Environmental Services is proposing to work both days and nights. Daytime construction hours will be from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays as needed. Nighttime construction hours will be from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Work at each location is expected to take less than a week, including up to three nights to complete the CIPP pipe lining work.

The noisier work – to dig small trenches for spot repairs, to install cleanouts, and to dig a pit for horizontal directional drilling – will be done during the day. CIPP pipe lining work will be done at night when levels of sewage and stormwater flows in the pipes are lower and less likely to compromise the lining.

Equipment that generates noise will include vactor trucks (sewer cleaning trucks), compressors, light tower trucks, generators, pumps, and ventilation fans.

Submit comments to Noise Office

Portland noise code allows construction from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Work after 6 p.m. and before 7 a.m. and all hours on Sundays requires a noise variance from the Portland Noise Office. Environmental Services will apply for a noise variance to enable the construction contractor to work both days and nights.

Your comments about the proposed schedule to work both days and nights are valuable. You can submit them to the Portland Noise Office by letter, email, or telephone. Please submit your comments by Friday, November 8 to:

Portland Noise OfficeUtility locate markings
1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 110
Portland, OR 97204
Phone: 503-823-7350

What's Happening Now

Over the next several months, crews will be conducting a variety of activities including pipe and manhole inspections, root removal, pipe cleaning, and survey work throughout the project area. These activities may temporarily disrupt and delay traffic and will occur over time, not all at once.

Survey crews will paint markings on street pavement, curbs, and sidewalks to identify underground utilities. See the graphic to the right for what each color means.

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 Downtown Urgent Sewer Repairs Project from the dropdown menu.
  • Visit this webpage using the shortcut
  • If you have a question about the project, call the hotline at 503-823-5315, stating that Downtown Urgent Repairs 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 Downtown Urgent Repairs 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.

Community Outreach

Check out current and previous communications about the project

Project Overview

Including the project description, map and schedule