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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.

Customer Service: 503-823-7770


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Raise Your Awareness & Drive Safely Through Utility Construction Work Zones

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Project in N Portland

For many public and private utility workers in Portland, their ‘office’ is actually a construction work zone on a city street. To keep these workers and others safe, the Portland Water Bureau encourages the public to drive carefully through all work areas. 

Caution in construction zones is vital for the safety of City of Portland workers as well as for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. To stay safe, the Water Bureau has these important tips: 

  • Know the work zone signs. Orange warning signs are there to help you and others move safely through roadway construction areas.
  • Obey flaggers. Flaggers are trained to move traffic safely through work zones, so pay attention to their directions and obey their instructions.
  • Obey posted speed limits. Speeding through a work zone is a major cause for accidents and injuries. Many states, including Oregon, have significantly increased fines for speeding in a work zones. Pay attention for reduced speed limits and slow down.
  • Watch other drivers and objects. Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment and workers. Watch out for sudden stops, merging traffic and other work zone dangers.
  • Stay focused and avoid distractions. Do not use cell phones or text while driving. Avoid eating and other activities which may take your focus from the road, this includes looking down to change the radio station.
  • Expect the unexpected. Stay alert for lane or road surface changes, possible mobile work zones and erratic driver and bicyclist behavior.
  • Keep your cool and be patient. Work zones are necessary to improve the roads for everyone and to meet community needs.
  • Find another way. If you know in advance that there will be construction on a street , during the construction use an alternate route to avoid traffic delays. 

Remember, everyone plays a role in maintaining a safe work zone during utility street construction.

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Kelly Butte Reservoir Construction Complete, Scheduled to Go Online Spring 2015

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January 2015 aerial photo of Kelly Butte Reservoir worksite
Early January 2015 aerial photo of Kelly Butte Reservoir worksite

On schedule and in just over two years, the Portland Water Bureau and Hoffman Construction Company crews have completed construction of the 25-million gallon underground reservoir, overflow basin, and an intricate network of underground piping, multiple vaults, and valve structures at Kelly Butte in southeast Portland.

The underground reservoir’s 394-foot by 296-foot floor, walls, 252 supporting columns, and roof were strategically poured during 2013 and 2014.

Functional testing of the new reservoir and valves will be complete within the next few months.

Backfill around reservoir
Crews backfilling around the reservoir

Crews are now working to backfill around and on top of the underground reservoir with onsite earthwork. During February and March, the reservoir and piping are scheduled to undergo disinfection.

Improving the Landscape

A year ago, crews removed non-native and invasive plants, dead and diseased trees, and unfortunately a few healthy trees to accommodate the footprint for the new underground reservoir. On the east and north side of the butte, the tree canopy that is dominated by Douglas-Fir and Big Leaf Maple trees was largely left intact. 

Within the next couple months, the Water Bureau and Hoffman Construction crews will undertake a comprehensive re-vegetation management project on the butte.

Re-vegetation plan at Kelly Butte
Re-vegetation plan at Kelly Butte

An important part of the approved land use review application, the project includes the strategic planting of more than 1,660 trees and 7,250 shrubs across the entire site.

Planting areas will be maintained so that the newly planted trees and clusters of shrubs are free to grow.

To help prevent and mitigate soil erosion, especially on the hillside slope, crews seeded ground cover plants which have already begun sprouting across the butte.

What’s Next

  • Conduct site landscaping and restoration efforts, including mitigation plantings.
  • Install permanent gates and fencing around the reservoir.
  • Develop maintenance roads, providing access to the reservoir and supporting structures.

The entire project is slated for completion by the end of 2015.

The Kelly Butte Reservoir will serve Portland's east side and be a stopover to supply water to the Washington Park reservoir and southwest Portland area water storage tanks.

For additional information on the Kelly Butte Reservoir project, visit

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Superbowl Weekend - Tackle the Toilet

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In case you haven’t heard, there is a big event this weekend – the superbowl.  Whether you tune in or not, there’s one bowl we should all keep our eyes on: the toilet bowl. 

The most common place to find a leak in a home or business is the toilet. While it might seem like a minor problem, toilets can waste lots of water over time, affecting the environment and your pocketbook.

Checking for toilet leaks is easy. Use these “Three Rs” to tackle your toilet and start saving water and money inside your home:

  1. REMEMBER to check your toilet for leaks twice a year. Tying the schedule to easy-to-remember annual events (like the Super Bowl in the winter and the 4th of July in the summer) is a great way to ensure it gets done. To check for leaks, add 10 drops of food coloring inside your toilet tank and wait 10 minutes. If the dye color shows up in your toilet bowl, you have a leak.
  2. REPAIR leaks that can be fixed by do-it-yourselfers using inexpensive replacement parts. Check out this short video on how to repair a leaky toilet from our partners at the Regional Water Providers Consortium.
  3. REPLACE older toilets with a WaterSense high-efficiency one. Older toilets can use up to four times more water per flush. The Portland Water Bureau currently offers a $50 rebate for replacing an old toilet or urinal with a high-efficiency model. Commercial, residential and multifamily properties are eligible. The old toilet or urinal MUST be recycled at an approved recycling center. For complete rebate details visit:     

So go ahead, tackle that leaking toilet this weekend! 

Water Efficiency Team

Join Our Team: Water Resource Program Specialist

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If 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.

Join our team!

Water Resource Program Specialist (Program Specialist)

Closing Date/Time: Monday, February 9, 2015 at 4:30 PM Pacific Time
Salary: $4,881.00 - $6,507.00 Monthly
Job Type: Full Time
Location: Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Ave, Oregon

The City of Portland is recruiting for a Water Resources Program Specialist in the Portland Water Bureau’s Resource Protection and Planning Group. The Water Resource Program Specialist will assist multiple program managers within the Source Protection section, which is responsible for protecting drinking water quality in the Bull Run Watershed and the Columbia South Shore Well Field.

For additional information and to apply for the Water Resource Program Specialist position, START HERE.

Water Bureau Submits FY 2015-16 Requested Budget; Focused on Keeping Rates Low and Maintaining City’s Critical & Aging Infrastructure

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

As the steward of the city’s 120-year old water system, the bureau works to develop and recommend 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. 

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 annual 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.

Together, the BAC members and bureau staff reviewed, discussed, deliberated, and worked to develop a consensus budget. Their challenge was to propose a budget that:

  • Balanced the infrastructure and service needs of the city’s aging and complex water system,
  • Complied with state and federal regulations relating to clean water, and was
  • Understanding of the economic issues facing both residential and business customers throughout the Portland metropolitan area.

To access the Water Bureau’s Requested Budget, including an overview from Commissioner Nick Fish, visit

For more information on the Water Bureau’s FY 2015-16 budget process, visit

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information