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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

More Contact Info

Survey and Utility Locates

Survey crews mark locations of right-of-way boundaries, utility vaults and other landmarks during project design, pre-construction and construction. They may also work on the sidewalks and streets in front of your property to measure the elevation of your first floor and see if the house has a basement. Occasionally, crews may contact individual property owners if they need to access their properties.

Sometimes crews use large trucks to dig holes in the right-of-way or street to locate utilities that may be close to or in the way of a sewer/stormwater pipe or other structure. The industry term for this work is “potholing,” meaning a hole is dug to locate the utility. When potholing is complete, holes are filled and temporary pavement is applied to streets, if needed. Streets are typically permanently paved at the end of construction.

This work may temporarily close traffic lanes or prohibit on-street parking and may cause brief periods of noise, dust and mild vibration. When potholing is complete, work crews fill the holes and apply temporary pavement to streets, if needed. Permanently paving street typically happens at the end of construction.

NW Natural, Portland General Electric, the Portland Water Bureau, Comcast and other utilities, use paint or colored flags in landscaped areas to mark the locations of their underground lines before construction starts. The chart on the left illustrates what the various colors mean.