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 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.
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.
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.
The SW Main-Taylor Sewer Repair Project is being designed to accomplish the following sewer improvements:
In addition, Environmental Services will collaborate with the Portland Water Bureau where possible to replace their water lines with earthquake resistant pipe.
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:
Project outreach staff will be canvassing the project area to talk with the community about the project and gather input.
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:
Environmental Services and its contractors will coordinate with building managers and property owners to schedule site visits, arrange access, and conduct investigations as needed.
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:
For more details about each method, including photos from previous projects, click here.
Over the next several months, crews will conduct a variety of activities throughout the project area, including the following:
These activities may temporarily disrupt and delay traffic and will occur over time, not all at once.
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:
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.