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Portland Water Bureau

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Proposed Washington Park Reservoir Project Type IV Land Use Review Application: Council Hearing Final Decision Scheduled for June 10

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In order to comply with federal and state mandates, and ensure a healthy, resilient, and secure water system, the Portland Water Bureau is moving forward with a project to update the Washington Park reservoir site in southwest Portland.

After giving unanimous tentative approval on May 13, the Portland City Council will make a final decision on the Portland Water Bureau’s Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project Type IV Land Use Review (LUR) application on Wednesday, June 10 at 2 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers at 1221 SW 4th Avenue.

Members of the public are welcome to attend. However, no public testimony will be heard as the public comment and testimony period closed on May 7. Opportunity for public input included the Historic Landmarks Commission meeting in March 2015 and the City Council hearing in April 2015.

The initial Type IV LUR application proposes the removal of the Weir Building (screen house), portions of lower Reservoir 4’s basin, and upper Reservoir 3’s basin in Washington Park. The gatehouses, dams, and other historic features will be protected and restored.

Proposed Project
The Water Bureau’s Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project proposes to build a new below-ground reservoir in the same general footprint as the existing upper Reservoir 3, with a reflecting pool on top.

The lower Reservoir 4 will be disconnected from the public drinking water system and a lowland habitat area/bioswale and a reflecting pool will be constructed in the basin. Much of the Reservoir 4 basin and the slope to the west are needed to provide landslide abatement; the slope will be restored to its pre-reservoir condition.

The new below-ground reservoir in the place of Reservoir 3 will be constructed so that it is outside of the moving edge of the landslide, which will help protect it from damage.

The project addresses major reservoir issues, including recurrent landslide damage, compliance with federal law, seismic vulnerability, and deterioration of the 120-year-old structures.

In December 2014, the Water Bureau submitted the first (Type IV) of three LUR applications to the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services (BDS) for the proposed Washington Park Reservoir Project.

On February 9, BDS deemed the Type IV LUR application complete, issued a Request for Response, and officially opened the public comment period and set the dates for the Historic Landmarks Commission meeting and the first City Council Hearing.

On March 30, a public meeting was held before the Historic Landmarks Commission to review the Type IV LUR application. During the public meeting, BDS presented the Staff Report and Recommendation, the Water Bureau discussed the project, and members of the public offered testimony. The Commission voted 3 to 1 in support of the initial LUR application and forwarded their recommendation to the City Council.

On April 23, the first of three City Council hearings was held. During the hearing, members of the public had the opportunity to offer testimony. At the hearing’s conclusion, the City Council agreed to allow the record to remain open through May 7.

On May 13, City Council held a second hearing for the purpose of deliberations on the application. The record had previously been closed, and no testimony was accepted. After deliberating, Mayor Charlie Hales and the City Council gave unanimous tentative approval to the Type IV LUR application.  

The next step will be a final decision by the Mayor and Council at a hearing on Wednesday, June 10.

Type III LUR Application Package
In spring 2015, the Water Bureau will submit a second LUR application package that includes two Type III applications: 

The LUR package will propose the construction of a new covered reservoir, reflecting pools, lowland habitat area/bioswale, walkways, and historic preservation and rehabilitation actions. 

The second LUR application process will also include public comment periods and public hearings to ensure public notification and the opportunity to comment before a final land use decision is rendered.

Before work permits are issued or construction begins, all three LUR applications must be approved.

The LUR applications are a result of a robust public involvement process that included multiple public open houses, nine Community Sounding Board meetings that guided design for the required visible features of a new reservoir in Washington Park, five public meetings before the Historic Landmarks Commission, and three City Council hearings.

Additional Information & Contacts
For detailed project information, visit the project webpage or contact Water Bureau Public Information staff at 503-823-3028 or by e-mail. Visit the Bureau of Development Services’ website or call 503-823-7300 for more information on the land use review application process.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Portland Water Bureau Submits its Water Management and Conservation Plan Five-Year Progress Report

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Cover of Water Management and Conservation Plan

On May 4, 2014, the Portland Water Bureau submitted its Five-Year Progress Report to the Oregon Water Resources Department (WRD).

The Progress Report describes the bureau’s progress in implementing required conservation measures and meeting benchmarks contained in the bureau’s 10-year Water Management and Conservation Plan (WMCP) which was approved in May 2010. The bureau is required to have an approved WMCP as part its groundwater right permit extensions.

WRD is inviting public comment on the Progress Report until June 11, 2015. If you are interested in providing comments on the Progress Report, please contact Lisa Jamarillo at

For more information, contact Rebecca Geisen, Water Bureau Project Manager, at 503-823-7493 or by e-mail.

Mayor's Proposed Budget Supports Water Bureau Requests; Budget Adoption Scheduled for June 18

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As the steward of the city’s 120-year old water system, the Portland Water Bureau developed and recommended to the Portland City Council and our customers a budget that allows it to continue to meet its mission of providing clean, safe, and affordable drinking water to our customers.

Requested Budget Submittal
On February 2, the FY 2015-16 Portland Water Bureau Requested Budget was submitted to the City Budget Office.  

A Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) -- comprised of representatives of key stakeholders that included members of the community and labor representatives -- worked alongside Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff and Group directors and managers to develop the consensus FY 2015-16 budget per City of Portland guidelines. Representatives of the Portland Utility Review Board (PURB) and the Citizens‘ Utility Board (CUB) also participated in the process along with members of the public.

Mayor’s Proposed Budget
On May 5, Mayor Charlie Hales released the FY 2015-16 Mayor’s Proposed Budget. The proposed budget supports the following Portland Water Bureau requests

Rate Increase Position & Staff Realignment Position Supporting PUB
Increase rates by seven (7) percent. Position authority for an additional 1.0 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) for a second full-time ranger position in the Bull Run Watershed, additional  0.50 FTE office support specialist II (OSSII) and the elimination of a full-time permanent OSSII position. Provide funding for a position in the City Budget Office that will directly support the Portland Utility Board (PUB) administratively and analytically, funding to be equally shared with the Bureau of Environmental Services.

Rate Ordinance
The first hearing before City Council for the FY 2015-16 Water Rate Ordinance was May 21 and the second reading was on May 27. City Council approved the Water Rate Ordinance authorizing water and water related rates and charges beginning July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.

The approved retail rate increase is seven (7) percent and will increase the volume rate from $3.682 per hundred cubic feet (ccf) to $3.940 per ccf (or $0.258 per ccf). The base (billing) charge for quarterly billed residential customers will increase from $11.13 to $11.91 (or $0.78) per month. The typical residential customer using 5 ccf per month will pay $31.61, an increase of $2.07 per month, or seven (7) percent greater than the current bill.

Public Involvement
Each year, members of the public are invited to be engaged and provide feedback in the budget development process both for the city and for individual bureaus. For the FY 2015-16 budget, public participation opportunities included:

  • Citywide budget events were held in March, April, and May 2015. Events included a City Utility Rate Review meeting, Community Budget Forums, and a Budget Committee Public Hearing.
  • The second annual City Utility Rate Review meeting occurred on March 12. Members of the public were invited to provide feedback and pose questions regarding the FY 2015-16 proposed drinking water and sewer-storm water rates.
  • The Water Bureau also convened the BAC to guide the bureau's budget-making process. BAC meetings were open to the public and occurred in October, November, and December 2014 and in January 2015.

Next Steps
The City Council is scheduled to adopt the FY 2015-16 Budget on Thursday, June 18. For additional information on budget events, visit the City Budget Office’s webpage.

Annual Drinking Water Quality Report Released Online

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2015 Drinking Water Quality ReportThe Portland Water Bureau has posted its annual water quality report online. The federally-required report outlines how, from forest to faucet, Portland is continuing to deliver clean and safe drinking water for the city of Portland.

In the report, customers can learn why Portland has some of highest quality drinking water in the country, and general information about Portland’s drinking water system. The report, which summarizes water quality results for 2014, outlines that Portland’s drinking water met all public health standards.

“I hope everyone takes a moment to read the report online. This information is extremely important,” said Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff. “Delivering high quality drinking water to our customers is the Water Bureau’s top priority. This report details what goes into delivering water to your tap.”

The Portland Water Bureau is mailing a postcard this week to inform every customer about the availability of the report online. Customers are able to request a paper copy, either online or by phone. The report is available in large font for the visually impaired. Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese and Spanish and can be found online or by calling the Portland Water Bureau Water Line at 503-823-7525.

The report is available online at:

TRAFFIC ADVISORY 06/04/15: Traffic, bike and pedestrian traffic controls in place on 1900 block of North Interstate Avenue

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The sidewalk will be closed to pedestrians, and the bike and motor vehicle lanes will shift to the west on North Interstate Avenue between North Tillamook Street and the intersection of North Interstate and North Larabee avenues. These traffic controls will begin June 8, 2015 and will be in place for two-three weeks. Hours of operation are 7 am to 3 pm, Monday-Saturday.

A contractor for the Portland Water Bureau will be removing the brick face of the bureau’s building at 1900 North Interstate. To protect the public, a construction barrier will be moved close to the sidewalk curb and the bike and motor vehicle lanes will be shifted to the west to make room for both types of vehicles.

Motorists and bicyclists are urged to use alternate routes, remember to drive slowly, and exercise caution when traveling in the construction area.

Project information can be found online at