1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204
The City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services is continuing our work to repair and replace critical sewer and stormwater infrastructure. Environmental Services will continue to provide information and updates on construction schedules and activities during the COVID-19 emergency.
Updated July 30, 2020
Environmental Services is preparing to construct urgent repairs to 3,600 feet of 140-year-old public sewer pipes in downtown Portland that are in very poor condition. At a high risk of collapsing, the pipes require immediate attention to protect public health, buildings, and streets from sewage releases and flooding.
Originally installed between 1867 and 1917, most of the pipes were built within two to three decades after Portland was founded in 1845. The collapse and failure of these pipes would have severe consequences to the Portland Downtown Neighborhood, the Central Business District, and the Downtown Core. Urgent repairs now will make them last another 65 years, 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.
To avoid circling around construction to find parking, please use SmartPark garages. The nearest SmartPark garages are illustrated on the project map above.
Crews will spend another three weeks or so inspecting pipes, taking closed circuit television video of mainline sewer pipes and service laterals, and locating where adjacent buildings are connected to the public sewer.
In August, crews will begin major pipe repair work. Before repairs begin, crews will install tree protective fencing, set up traffic controls, stage equipment and materials, and install sewer bypass systems to ensure uninterrupted sewer service to adjacent buildings.
The project is expected to be completed in early 2021.
To inspect the public sewer pipes, crews first flush the pipes with water to clear debris from them. Then they insert a video camera to document the condition of the pipe and locate sewer service lateral connections. Crews typically park trucks and equipment near manholes to do this work. You can expect minor traffic delays, on-street parking removal near manholes, and lane restrictions that last about a day at each location.
A sewer service lateral is a pipe that connects a building’s private sewer line to the mainline public sewer pipe. Knowing exactly where and how buildings are connected to the public sewer is important for conducting pipe repairs, and for providing a bypass system to ensure that sewer service is maintained during pipe repairs.
If crews cannot locate a building’s sewer service lateral, they will need to coordinate with building owners and property managers for access to the building. Building access will allow crews to investigate sewer and stormwater pipes, determine basement layouts and utility vault locations, and plan any necessary private plumbing modifications to complete public sewer repairs.
Crews will conduct the pre-construction video inspections during daytime hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday if needed.
When the pipe repairs begin in August, crews will work a combination of daytime and nighttime hours, Monday through Friday, and Saturday if necessary. Pipe repairs are anticipated to take less than a week at each location, including up to three nights to complete the pipe lining process.
As with all sewer construction projects, work schedules may fluctuate due to weather, conditions underground, subcontractor schedules, availability of materials, and other factors. In downtown Portland, those other factors require coordination with multiple partners, including but not limited to the following:
To repair most of the sewer pipes, the City will use Cured-in-Place Pipe Lining (CIPP). Working from a manhole, crews insert a flexible liner inside the old pipe. Crews then inflate the liner and use hot water, steam, or ultraviolet light to cure the liner, forming a rigid, smooth surface that seals cracks and restores the pipe to near-new condition.
Much of the pipe lining work will be done overnight from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. Some locations may be done during the day so as not to disturb people sleeping at night.
A few locations will require digging in the street to replace a broken pipe or to install a sewer access cleanout to complete the repairs. This noisier work will be done during the day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
More details about Cured-in-Place Pipe Lining and Open Trench Excavation are available at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/methods.
You can expect the following activities and impacts during construction:
Environmental Services will inform residents and businesses about project activities and respond to questions and concerns in a timely manner. The following resources will help you stay informed and report concerns:
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.