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Portland Water Bureau

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

GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

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Tuesday Water Trivia

Crews installing new water mainWhen you turn on your facuet to pour a refreshing glass of cold water, do you ever stop to think about how that that water made it to your house?

From repairs to preventative maintenance, our crews are responsible for maining a vast and complicated underground system of pipes and mains that deliver hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to homes and businesses every day.

If the Portland Water Bureau stretched pipes end to end, to which city would it reach?

(A) Las Vegas
(B) Missoula
(C) Chicago

Answer:

(C) Chicago

More than 2,200 miles of pipe deliver water throughout the Portland metropolitan area. That's a lot of pipe that water rate payers maintain. Some mains are 100-years-old -- that's calling "aging infrastructure" in the bureau's budget discussions.

Learn more about our water system here.

Changing History at Mt. Tabor Park: A Project Update

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Times are a changin’. From Washington Park to Mt. Tabor, how does a government agency preserve history while adhering to federal drinking water regulations?

The short answer is: Thoughtfully and with input from all our partners – neighbors, the public, our contractors, regulatory agencies, and in-house Water Bureau experts. The long answer is what follows.

Background

On June 3, 2013 the Portland City Council announced that the city will move forward to meet the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule compliance deadline. This rule, also known as the LT2 rule, affects uncovered finished drinking water reservoirs.

It was agreed that the Water Bureau would disconnect the Mt. Tabor reservoirs from the potable water system by the end of 2015. The Water Bureau met the requirement in December of that year by physically separating the reservoirs from all connections to the distribution system.

With the reservoirs disconnected, extensive piping work was required to reroute and intertie the conduits and mains that formerly fed the reservoirs in order to maintain system functionality.  The majority of the work was done inside Mt. Tabor Park, including the installation of approximately 1,000 feet of 48-inch diameter steel main part of which went through the park’s dog off-leash area. Altogether, construction work was conducted in seven areas of the park, most of them in high- traffic pedestrian and bicycle paths.

Mt. Tabor Dog Park ImprovementsThe Water Bureau made every effort to alert park users about construction impacts or road and trail closures using signs, email and via the bureau’s website.

While there were a few hiccups (weather related delays), the project went very well. Here at the bureau, we are very appreciative of the patience shown by park users and local residents.

What’s Next for the Reservoirs?

Reservoir #5 with view of downtown Portland, taken 1935

Reservoir #5 with view of downtown Portland. Photo taken circa 1935.

While the reservoirs no longer supply drinking water to city residents, they continue to be an asset to the City and are an integral and historic part of Mt. Tabor Park.

As part of the Land Use Review, the Water Bureau worked with City Council and the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA) to determine how the reservoirs and historic architectural features would be operated and managed over the next four years. Now that the reservoirs are not part of the water system and no longer generate electricity, oversight of the dams has shifted from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to the State of Oregon Water Resources Department. 

The Water Bureau and members of the MTNA are charged with exploring alternative methods to maintain clean water at historic levels, and to maximize the number of days the reservoirs are full, in order to preserve the character of the reservoirs and the park in the most efficient and sustainable manner possible.

Besides maintaining the reservoirs, the City of Portland has committed $4 million over the next four years to begin restoration of the historic integrity of the reservoirs and their buildings, walls and fences.  A project team comprised of Portland Water Bureau and Parks Bureau staff and representatives of the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association and the Friends of Mount Tabor Park are managing the implementation of the activities related to the Mt. Tabor Reservoirs Historic Preservation Project.

More Information

Watch for more information on this project at www.portlandoregon.gov/water/mttabor

Attend the Tuesday, May 2 Meeting of the Portland Utility Board

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Portland Utility Board meetingThe Portland Water Bureau is committed to providing our customers with the highest quality water in the country. To do this, we work closely with our partners to make sure we deliver on our promise to provide fresh, clean water from forest to faucet.

One of these partners is the Portland Utility Board (PUB).

What is the Portland Utility Board?

Created in 2015, the Portland Utility Board is a group of volunteer community members who advise City Council on water, sewer, stormwater and solid waste financial plans and rates. Acting as a citizen oversight body for the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services, the Portland Utility Board meets once per month to develop advisory plans that establish fair and equitable rates and promote the long-term financial stability of the Water Bureau.

Attend the Next PUB Meeting

Come see how the Portland Utility Board works for you by attending a monthly meeting. The next PUB meeting will be held tomorrow! Meeting information is below.

Date: Tuesday, May 1
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Location: The Portland Building, Room C

For more information about the Portland Utility Board, including meeting minutes and agenda, visit https://www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/68272.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY 04/26/17: Water Main Work Impacts Southeast Foster Road at Southeast 107th Avenue for next three working days

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PORTLAND, OR — Portland Water Bureau crews will be performing water main work on Southeast Foster Road at Southeast 107th Avenue Thursday, April 27; Friday, April 28; and Monday, May 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

One lane of Southeast Foster Road in each direction will be closed on Thursday, April 27. One westbound lane will be closed on Friday, April 28 and Monday, May 1.

Traffic and flaggers will direct travelers around the work zone.

The traveling public is reminded to stay alert and use caution as traffic may suddenly slow or stop. To avoid traffic delays, motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes around the work site.

Portland Water Bureau’s Interstate Facility Receives LEED® Green Certification

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If an earthquake were to happen tomorrow, the maintenance, construction, and operations personnel at our North Interstate Facility buildings would be able to access the equipment and tools they need to respond to the City’s water emergencies.

Interstate Shops and Stores buildingIn 2015, two new buildings were unveiled at the Water Bureau’s Interstate Facility site. These new buildings replaced the aging brick buildings – along with the leaky roofs and other poor building conditions that came with them – that once housed the bureau’s essential maintenance equipment and personnel. The original facilities, the oldest of which was built in 1925, were constructed without earthquake resiliency and energy efficiency in mind.

But now, the new facilities – just like our operations personnel – go the extra mile.

Not only would the Interstate Facility be able to remain operational in the event of an earthquake, the two new Interstate Maintenance Facility buildings have been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold certification by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

Energy-Efficient Design Saves Money and Reduces Carbon Emissions

David Gray
David Gray, the Water Bureau's Capital Project Manager, led the LEED Certification process

LEED-certified buildings are resource efficient: They use less water and energy and reduce greenhouse carbon emissions. As an added bonus, they save money in the form of reduced operating costs. LEED is the foremost program for the design, construction, and operation of green buildings.

The new Interstate Facility achieved LEED certification for implementing “green” construction solutions aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

Among the green features is a solar array, eco (green) roof, and a unique system of stormwater infiltration galleries that retains all stormwater on site and slowly releases it into the ground. No stormwater on the site enters the city sewer system.  As a result of careful design, the two buildings’ overall energy expenses are projected to be reduced by 30 percent.

“LEED certification identifies the Water Bureau’s Interstate Facility as a showcase example of sustainability and demonstrates their leadership in transforming the building industry,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “Buildings that achieve LEED certification are lowering carbon emissions, creating a healthier environment, and reducing operating costs while prioritizing sustainable practices.”

Thank You to Our Project Partners

Contractors for the design and construction of the project were MWA Architects, Hoffman Construction Company, ABHT Structural Engineers, Lango Hanson Landscape Architects, Interface Engineering, KPFF Consulting Engineers, and MEC Electrical Engineering.

One new building is the Shops, Stores, and Warehouse building which supports the maintenance, construction, and operations for the complex infrastructure that delivers drinking water to the Portland metro area. It is rated a Category 4 Essential Facility by the International Building Code. This means that when a major earthquake or other catastrophic event hits our region, the building will remain functional so that Water Bureau staff will be able to focus on restoring Portland’s water service.