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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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UPDATED News Release: Environmental Services' nine-week sewer repair project finishes May 20 along downtown’s Yamhill-Morrison light rail corridor

UPDATE (May 15, 2017) - Sewer repair work is closing SW Yamhill Street between 5th Avenue and Broadway today and portions of tomorrow with local access provided. In the final week of Environmental Services' sewer repair project, the traveling public is advised to expect intermittent block closures along the SW Yamhill-Morrison work corridor between SW First and 13th avenues. Closures will involve one or two blocks at a time. The public is advised to follow signage and directions by flaggers when present. The exact time frame for closures will be determined by field conditions. Crews are racing to complete repairs before May 20 in time for the reopening of the MAX light rail line.

UPDATE (April 25, 2017) - Crews have finished root removal, videotaping of conditions, and cleaning of public sewer pipes along the Yamhill-Morrison corridor. They are gearing up for the major sewer lining during TriMet's April 30-May 20 MAX improvement project and light rail closure. This period will allow crews to work from manhole to manhole to install lining within the sewer pipes to reinforce their structural integrity. Watch TriMet's video of its planned improvements and how work will take place above ground and underground. For additional information, please visit:

 *** Original news release below ***

Note: Videos below show an inside view of the sewer pipes on the corridor with tree root damage and fractures. They are also viewable on YouTube:

 (March 15, 2017) – Environmental Services this week begins a nine-week project to repair public sewer pipes along the Yamhill/Morrison light rail corridor in downtown Portland that are 100 to 140 years old and in deteriorating condition. These pipes are part of downtown Portland’s essential infrastructure.

After more than a century of use, the pipes are showing signs of cracks, breaks, holes, and root and grease obstructions, putting them at risk of structural failure. The repairs will protect the public and our environment by reducing the possibility of sewage releases to buildings and streets. 

“Rather than wait for a structural failure, we’re taking a preventive approach,” said Environmental Services Director Mike Jordan. “Our investment to repair sewers that were built as long ago as 1880 will improve the reliability of the city’s system in the downtown core, prevent disruptive sewer failures, and protect public health, businesses and our environment.”

Environmental Services and its contractors will clear out obstructions and install new linings on the pipes along the Yamhill/Morrison corridor from SW First to 13th Avenue. That work will extend the life of the pipes for another 60 years or longer.  Instead of digging up the street to make repairs, crews will use a less disruptive technology and access pipes from manholes. The $3.3 million investment for the corridor also is employing an estimated 46 private sector contract workers during the project.

While one-to-two-block segments of the constructions zones will at times be closed to motor vehicle traffic, flaggers will always provide local access to people who live, work or need to conduct business at properties in the construction corridor.

Pre-construction will begin March 15, and the most challenging work along the corridor will take place during TriMet’s Morrison-Yamhill MAX Improvements project April 30 to May 20 when light rail service will be offline. 

“By coordinating with TriMet and working within its planned light rail closure, we can maximize the amount of urgent sewer repair work needed and minimize disruption to the public,” Jordan said. “By working together, we are getting two projects done at one time, and we’re sharing resources to set up traffic controls, equipment storage and safe working zones.”

To condense several months of work into a short nine-week window, crews also will be working 24/7 with approval from the Portland Noise Office. The noisiest work will be done during daytime. During the entire project, businesses will be open and Environmental Services teams are working with businesses to accommodate their needs as best as possible. For example, Environmental Services will not be working along SW First and Yamhill this week to accommodate Paddy’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Project updates will be posted to and to, a hub of downtown construction activities and impacts. Environmental Services also will post updates on a project hotline: 503-823-5315 and on Twitter @BESPortland.

The project will conclude on time on May 20 so that TriMet can reopen light rail service as scheduled.

The Bureau of Environmental Services works with Portland residents and businesses to protect water quality, public health, and the environment through wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. @besportland

 Media contact: Diane Dulken 503-823-6724