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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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SW Main-Taylor Sewer Repair Project


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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 April 27, 2020

Environmental Services is designing a project to repair 10,765 feet, or two miles, of aging public sewer pipes in downtown Portland. The existing pipes were built between 1867 and 1927. Having provided 100 to 150 years of service, the pipes are showing signs of cracks, breaks, holes, offset connections, and root and grease obstructions. Upgrading the pipes will ensure that they provide safe and reliable sewer service and reduce the possibility of basement flooding and sewage releases to 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 in SW Main, SW Salmon, and SW Taylor streets between SW Naito Parkway and SW 13th Avenue.

Project Map

The bold lines on the map below indicate proposed pipe work locations. All pipes are located within the public right-of-way. The map also shows where the pipes are located in relation to the center of the street. For example, on SW Taylor Street between SW 11th and 12th avenues, one pipe is north of the center line and another pipe is south of center.

Locations labeled "sewer extensions" are proposed additions to the public sewer system to enable adjacent property owners to directly and independently connect their private sewer line to the public sewer.

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 March 2021. Construction is anticipated to begin in June 2021 and take about a year to complete.

Sewer Improvements

The SW Main-Taylor Sewer Repair Project is being designed to accomplish the following sewer improvements:

  • Repair 10,765 feet, or two miles, of aging public sewer pipes in SW Main, SW Salmon, and SW Taylor streets between SW Naito Parkway and SW 13th Avenue
  • Upsize or relocate 1,000 feet of sewer pipes in SW Main Street to accommodate increased sewage and stormwater flows
  • Clear roots and flush debris from approximately 11,000 feet of public sewer pipes
  • Repair, replace, or add maintenance access holes as needed
  • Install cleanouts on sewer service laterals to high-rise buildings to enable future sewer maintenance access
  • Repair or replace active sewer service laterals for individual property connections
  • Assist and support customers with nonconforming sewer connections to achieve the recommended sewer connection for their property

In addition, Environmental Services will collaborate with the Portland Water Bureau where possible to replace their water lines with earthquake resistant pipe.

Working with the Community – How You Can Help Us

During the design phase, Environmental Services will work with the community to provide information about the project need and identify the project's likely community impacts. Downtown property owners, businesses, and residents can inform the City's decisions and help the project team with the following:

  • Identify project stakeholders, including property managers, facility managers, and business operators
  • Identify local issues, community concerns, special events, and access needs
  • Develop reasonable solutions to community concerns and construction impacts
  • Provide input on regular daytime (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and nighttime (6 p.m. to 7 a.m.) construction work hours
  • Provide information about private property sewer connections and plumbing facilities
  • Identify and meet the needs of individual downtown businesses, residents, property owners, and property managers

Project outreach staff will be canvassing the project area to talk with the community about the project and gather input.

Site Visits and Building Investigations

Environmental Services and its contractors may need to enter buildings in the project area to gather information that will help them design and construct necessary sewer repairs. They may need access for any or all of the following activities:

  • Locate, inspect, and evaluate sewer and stormwater pipes and connections, cleanouts, sump pumps, and other private plumbing facilities
  • Determine basement and sub-basement layouts, utility vault locations and elevators, parking garage layouts, and other private property features
  • Survey existing sewers on private properties
  • Identify and mark utilities in areas surrounding the sewer
  • Collect and analyze soil and water samples

Environmental Services and its contractors will coordinate with building managers and property owners to schedule site visits, arrange access, and conduct investigations as needed.

Proposed Construction Methods

The city's goal is to repair the majority of pipes using trenchless methods, which will avoid having to dig deep and long trenches in downtown streets to replace whole pipes. The multiple underground utilities in the downtown area make open trench excavation almost impossible.

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
  • Directional Drilling, or other method to be determined, to construct sewer extensions and service laterals
  • Pipebursting or Directional Drilling to upsize or relocate 1,000 feet of public sewer pipes in SW Main Street
  • Open Trench Excavation to dig small trenches so that crews can replace short sections of broken pipe that cannot be lined
  • Vactor Excavation to install cleanouts so that crews can access sewer connections to buildings connected to the public sewer and maintain sewer service during repairs

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

Current Project Activity

Over the next several months, crews will conduct a variety of activities throughout the project area, including the following:

  • Inspect mainline public sewers using closed-circuit television cameras and assess their condition
  • Inspect maintenance access holes and assess their condition
  • Locate sewer service laterals that connect properties to the public sewer, determine which laterals are active, and assess their condition
  • Survey public right-of-way boundaries, utility vaults, and other landmarks
  • Locate underground utilities and coordinate with utility companies on how to protect them during construction
  • Survey trees adjacent to sewer construction and develop a tree trimming and tree protection plan
  • Remove roots and flush debris from sewer pipes

These activities may temporarily disrupt and delay traffic and will occur over time, not all at once.

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 Main-Taylor Sewer Repair 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 SW Main-Taylor 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 SW Main-Taylor is your project of concern.
  • Email city outreach staff.
  • For maps and information about 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.