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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.

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Practice Earthquake Safety with The Great Oregon ShakeOut on Oct. 18

Join the Portland Water Bureau along with thousands of other Portlanders in The Great Oregon ShakeOut this Thursday, Oct. 18a 10:18 a.m.!

The Great Oregon ShakeOut is an earthquake preparedness drill that provides an opportunity to practice what to do during an earthquake. It is important to know what to do to protect yourself from debris and other hazards during an earthquake.

During the drill (or when shaking starts during a real quake): 

  • DROP down onto your hands and knees.
  • COVER your head and neck, and if possible your entire body, under a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, then — and only then — drop and cover near an interior wall or next to low-lying furniture that won’t fall on you.
  • HOLD ON to your shelter or your head and neck until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around. Wherever you are, protect yourself. You may be in a situation where you cannot find shelter beneath furniture.
  • After a real earthquake, once the shaking stops, EVACUATE the building and gather at your designated meeting point. Be prepared for aftershocks. 

Experts say it is just a matter of time before the Pacific Northwest could experience a significant earthquake. Taking time to prepare and know what to do is important. 

Are You Prepared for an Earthquake?

One very important way to prepare for emergencies is to keep enough clean water on hand in case our water system is damaged. We can endure lack of food for much longer than we can go without water. Clean, safe, high-quality water is our legacy in the Northwest.

But what happens if water lines are damaged and you can’t just turn on the tap?

How much water do you need to survive a local disaster or emergency?

How can you ensure a supply of safe water for your family?

Discover how to start building an emergency water supply to keep you and your family in water in the event of an emergency.

Washington Park Reservoir Improvement Project: October 2018 News

Discover what's new at the Washington Park worksite.

Illustration of reservoir shaftsIllustration of the shafts being drilled to support the
new reservoir.

Drilling shafts, underway now, is a simple concept: dig a hole, drop some rebar in, and fill it with concrete. Crews on this project must do all this on a grand scale and meet exacting standards.

Each shaft has a specific diameter and depth unique to its exact location on the site. Some shafts are as narrow as three and a half feet, and others as wide as five feet. Depths vary as well with the deepest being at 100 feet.

Drilling the shafts requires an incredible degree of precision, it must be drilled straight down without cutting at an angle.

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A post shared by Portland Water Bureau (@portlandwaterbureau) on Oct 4, 2018 at 3:11pm PDT

For each shaft, a rebar cage (weighing between 12,000 and 32,000 pounds) must be built to fit its dimensions and extended a determined distance above the shaft to allow for integration into the floor slab when built. The cages are built at the old Reservoir 4 site, transported over to the new reservoir site, raised by a crane to a vertical position, and then lowered into the drilled shaft. Each cage is equipped with centralizers that keep it centered in the hole.

Each shaft will require 15 to 45 cubic yards of concrete, meaning two to six concrete truck loads. Depending on the location of the shaft, trucks will either navigate their way to the bottom of the site or to a position on the ledge between the two retaining walls to deliver their load. The concrete will be pumped into the shaft using a tremie pipe which is pulled out of the hole as the concrete level rises.

Tower Crane Installation

The first tower crane began arriving, in sections, Monday, Sept. 24, and installation was complete Thursday, Sept. 27. Located adjacent to SW Sacajawea Blvd., the crane features a boom that can be moved, stowed, and operated at upward angles to avoid the surrounding trees.

The tower crane consists of four main parts: base, tower, slewing unit and boom. The base is bolted to a large concrete pad with a foundation of four deep drilled shafts. The base connects to the tower, which gives the crane its height. Attached to the top of the tower is the slewing unit—the gear and motor—that allows the crane to rotate. Rising above the slewing unit are booms. The tower is 137 ft. up to the slewing unit. From the base of the crane it’s 80 ft. to the bottom of the reservoir site. This crane will deliver equipment and supplies to the areas where they are needed inside the reservoir.

Crane assemblyA four person team of steel workers constructed the tower crane, along with two assist crane operators and ground support.

A Reliable Future

The Portland Water Bureau is building a new 12.4‐million gallon, seismically reinforced underground reservoir within the footprint of the former Reservoir 3 (upper) with a reflection pool on top, while retaining the historic look and feel of the original. The new reservoir has been engineered to withstand ongoing landside encroachment and potentially catastrophic effects of a major earthquake. The new reservoir will supply water to Portland’s west side and serve 360,000 people, including all downtown businesses and residents, 20 schools, five hospital complexes, and more than 60 parks. This system of water conveyance and storage makes Portland a livable and thriving community, ensuring public health and economic viability.

The first phase of construction focused on reshaping the site. Now in the second phase, the focus will be building the new reservoir structure.

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Coming Attractions

Over the next year, you can expect several changes to occur in the activity around the construction site.

  • Second Tower crane will be installed Spring 2019.
  • Community site tours return in spring 2019. Watch for dates in email updates and on the webpage: wpreservoirs
  • Virtual tour is online at the project webpage:

Join Our Team: Management Analyst, Senior Risk Specialist, Water Treatment Engineer (Engineering Associate)

Portland Water Bureau logoIf you're interested in joining an award-winning public utility where employees thrive on the pride of delivering a life-essential product with world class customer service, the Portland Water Bureau might be just the place for you.

The Water Bureau is a recognized leader in the utility industry. We've achieved this success by investing in the very best people and empowering them to find new and better ways to meet our customer's needs.

The Water Bureau currently employs approximately 560 people. All current job postings with the City of Portland are posted online, and updated weekly. We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Current Opportunities at the Water Bureau

Position   Emp. Type   Salary   Closing Date/Time Join Our Team 
Management Analyst Full Time $5,595–$7,460 Monthly Mon. 10/29/2018 11:59 PM Pacific Apply here!
Senior Risk Specialist Full Time $5,877–$7,838 Monthly Fri. 10/26/2018 11:59 PM Pacific Apply here!
Water Treatment Engineer (Engineering Associate) Full Time $32.32–$43.32 Hourly Mon. 10/29/2018 11:59 PM Pacific  Apply here!

Learn More About the Water Bureau


For more information regarding career opportunities at the Water Bureau, contact (503) 823-3515 or e-mail.

How Different Would Your Day Be Without Water?

National Preparedness Month ended on Sunday, Sept. 30th. But that doesn’t mean having water—during an emergency or not—is any less important now that September is over.

Think about it: How different would your day be without water?

Maybe your bedhead look is back in fashion, but most of us crave that morning shower. At the least you’d want to be able to flush your toilet and brush your teeth. For those of us who need a cup of coffee to face our mornings, we’d be stopped in our tracks.

Today, we’re asking you to imaging your day without access to our region—and our world’s—most precious resource: water.

A day without water can be scary to imagine but it doesn’t have to become a reality if we prepare together.

Learn more about safely storing water for an emergency so you can imagine a day without water without it ever becoming a reality.

MEDIA RELEASE 09/24/2018: Bull Run Drinking Water Supply Not Treated for Cryptosporidium

While small amounts of Cryptosporidium were detected coming from the Bull Run source starting in 2017, Cryptosporidium has not been detected in Portland’s drinking water since April 10, 2018. Over the next nine years, the Portland Water Bureau will be installing a new treatment plant to remove Cryptosporidium from Bull Run drinking water.

Until the filtration plant is online, the Portland Water Bureau is also committed to continued monitoring of the Bull Run and a range of actions to maintain public health protections. This includes informing the public of the potential risks of Cryptosporidium in drinking water and Portland’s plan for filtration by sharing the following information with the public on a quarterly basis.  

The Portland Water Bureau does not currently treat for Cryptosporidium but is required to do so under the drinking water regulations. Portland is working to install filtration by 2027 under a compliance schedule with the Oregon Health Authority. In the meantime, Portland Water Bureau is implementing interim measures such as watershed protection and additional monitoring to protect public health. Consultation with public health officials has concluded that at this time, customers do not need to take any additional precautions.

Exposure to Cryptosporidium can cause cryptosporidiosis, a serious illness. Symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and stomach pain. People with healthy immune systems recover without medical treatment. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with severely weakened immune systems are at risk for more serious disease. Symptoms may be more severe and could lead to serious life-threatening illness. Examples of people with weakened immune systems include those with AIDS, those with inherited diseases that affect the immune system, and cancer and transplant patients who are taking certain immunosuppressive drugs.

The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that a small percentage of the population could experience gastrointestinal illness from Cryptosporidium and advises that customers who are immunocompromised and receive their drinking water from the Bull Run Watershed consult with their health care professional about the safety of drinking the tap water. The Portland Water Bureau and Burlington, City of Gresham, City of Sandy, City of Tualatin, Green Valley, GNR, Hideaway Hills, Lake Grove, Lorna Portland Water, Lusted, Palatine Hill, Pleasant Home, Raleigh, Rockwood, Skyview Acres, Tualatin Valley, Two Rivers, Valley View and West Slope Water Districts receive all or part of their drinking water supply from the Bull Run. To learn if your drinking water comes from Bull Run, please contact your local water provider.

Under the direction of Commissioner Amanda Fritz, the Portland Water Bureau plans to seek public feedback on the type of filtration and other details of the project prior to moving forward with a future filtration plant. Opportunities to provide input will be announced in the next few weeks.

The public and the media are encouraged to view all sampling results posted to the City’s website at The bureau will notify the media and public immediately should further test results indicate a risk to public health and if precautions are necessary.

Customers with questions regarding water quality can call the Water Line at 503-823-7525.