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The City of Portland, Oregon

Nick Fish (In Memoriam)

City of Portland Commissioner

phone: 503-823-3589


1221 S.W. 4th, Room 240, Portland, OR 97204

Fish Team Tour the Bull Run Watershed

October 4, 2016

On Friday, the Fish team went on a tour of Portland’s Bull Run Watershed.

The protected Bull Run Watershed is located 26 miles from downtown Portland and is 147-square-miles of heavily-protected land on the western edge of Mt. Hood. 

Drinking water from the Bull Run first flowed to Portland in 1895. As Portland’s main drinking water source, the Bull Run provides nearly one million Oregonians with some of the best drinking water in the world.

Outstanding Water Bureau guide and historian Briggy Thomas led the tour, and Sarah Poet made sure we got everywhere safely.

We started our tour along a winding road with stunning views of Mt. Hood, took a short hike to the headwaters of the Bull Run River, and stopped for lunch at Bull Run Lake. After lunch we got an inside look at the Bull Run Dam, surviving a 150-step climb back up to the bus, followed by stops at Dam Two and the lower end of the Bull Run River, where we scoped for fish in the river.

Along the way, we learned a number of fun facts:

  • The footprint of the watershed and the City of Portland are almost exactly the same—roughly 145 square miles.
  • The US Forest Service owns most of the protected area, which has benefitted from several pieces of federal legislation designed to protect the quality of our water.
  • The Bull Run receives approximately 135 inches of precipitation annually, compared to just 36 inches in Portland.
  • There are around 250 species of wildlife in the watershed, including deer, elk, cougar, black bear Chinook and coho salmon.

 Interested in visiting the Bull Run? Visit the Water Bureau’s website for more information and to register.

 Short hike along the Bull Run River  Lunch at Bull Run Lake
 Bull Run Dam 1 Dam 2
 Last stop of the tour Lower end of the Bull Run River