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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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Employees’ Unique Artwork Showcased; David Rosenak Wins Employee Art Exhibit People’s Choice Award

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All the Art that Fits display

In December, the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) unveiled the 18th annual “All the Art that Fits” art exhibit. An annual favorite for the City of Portland and Multnomah County employee artists and visitors, the display showcases employee artwork in the lobby of the Portland Building.

During the exhibit, RACC invited visitors to vote for their favorite works. This year, artwork submitted by the Portland Water Bureau’s own David Rosenak won the RACC People’s Choice Award!

 David Rosenak wins the RACC People’s Choice Award
"Untitled" oil on plywood artwork wins David Rosenak the People's Choice Award (left), David drawing in his studio (right, photo courtesy of the Oregonian)

David, an employee in the Finance and Support Services Group, spent more than a-year-and-a-half working to complete the oil on plywood panel. A labor of love, his black and white piece depicting a cityscape is extremely detailed and dramatic. This piece, along with additional paintings by David, will be featured in the Portland Art Museum in spring 2015.

Artwork by Bob Goldie (left) and Carrie Popenuk (right)

Six additional extremely talented Water Bureau employees also contributed their creative works to display, ranging from photography to mixed media and marquetry, ink on paper, and canvas work.

Artwork by Sarah Fine (left) and Lori Snyder (right)

They include Dylan Abel, Bob Goldie, and Leigh Kojiro in the Engineering Services Group, Sarah Fine in the Resource Protection and Planning Group, and Carrie Popenuk and Lori Snyder in the Customer Services Group.

Artwork by Dylan Abel (left) and Leigh Kojiro (right)

Congratulations to David for receiving the People’s Choice Award and a big thanks to Dylan, Bob, Leigh, Sarah, Carrie, and Lori who submitted unique artwork and truly deserve to be recognized for their craft!

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

UPDATE: Powell Butte Reservoir 1 to Undergo Routine Maintenance Cleaning

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On the afternoon of February 26, Portland Water Bureau operating engineers completed the draining of Powell Butte Reservoir 1 into Johnson Creek. Reservoir 1 is now completely emptied and will undergo a routine cleaning and inspection to ensure sanitary and structural integrity.

The draining process began on February 9 and lasted just under three weeks. Throughout the entire operation, the flowrate of water into Johnson Creek was monitored 24-hours a day by the Water Bureau’s Water Control Center. Water Bureau operating engineers routinely tested the water for temperature, pH, and chlorine residual, ensuring that acceptable discharge parameters and environmental regulatory requirements were met. No chlorine residual was detected at any time during the discharge.

The reservoir will now receive a thorough cleaning and inspection.

Portland Water Bureau operating engineers are in the process of slowly draining water currently in Powell Butte Reservoir 1 into Johnson Creek.

Since the draining process began on Monday, February 9, operating engineers have been routinely testing the water for temperature, pH, and chlorine residual. No chlorine residual has been detected. 

On Thursday, February 19, draining into the creek from the reservoir will begin occurring 24-hours a day, instead of just during normal work hours. This decision culminated from a reduction in stream flow and a low chance for precipitation.

The flowrate of water into Johnson Creek will continue to be monitored 24-hours a day by the Water Bureau’s Control Center. Routine testing of the water will carry on throughout the operation to ensure acceptable discharge parameters and environmental regulatory requirements are met.

In an estimated 15 days, Powell Butte Reservoir 1 will be completely emptied and will undergo a routine cleaning and inspection to ensure sanitary and structural integrity.

On Monday, February 9, the Portland Water Bureau will begin conducting a routine maintenance draining and cleaning of Reservoir 1 at Powell Butte Nature Park in Southeast Portland. 

Water Bureau operating engineers will slowly drain the approximately eight-million gallons of water currently in Reservoir 1 into Johnson Creek. The engineers will be on site during work week hours to supervise the operation.

The flowrate of water into Johnson Creek will be monitored 24-hours a day by the Water Bureau’s Control Center. Frequent testing of the water for turbidity, temperature, pH, and chlorine residual will occur throughout the operation, ensuring acceptable discharge parameters and environmental regulatory requirements are met.  

Once the draining is complete, the reservoir will undergo a thorough cleaning and inspection.

Reservoir 1’s draining is estimated to be complete by Wednesday, February 25.

Powell Butte Reservoir 1 was built in 1979-1980 and became operational in 1981.Powell Butte Reservoir 1, along with the newly operational Reservoir 2, are valuable assets to the water infrastructure. The two 50-million gallon underground tanks will help provide sufficient drinking water storage capacity to meet anticipated future growth in demand for water.

The Water Bureau follows strict guidelines and maintenance schedules to ensure the reservoirs are kept at optimal levels of operation. The underground reservoirs receive a thorough cleaning and inspection every five years to ensure structural and sanitary integrity.

For questions regarding reservoir maintenance, please contact Tim Hall, Public Information, at 503-823-6926 or by e-mail at:  

Visit the project webpage at:

Lindsay Wochnick
Public Information

Have You Tested Your Home’s Plumbing for Lead?

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Does your home plumbing contain lead?

If your home was built between 1970 and 1985, lead solder may have been used to join the pipes. Lead can also be found in brass plumbing fixtures and components. Lead is a major health threat to children and pregnant women, and a lead-in-water test is the only way to know if your plumbing is adding lead to the water.

The Portland Water Bureau provides FREE lead-in-water test kits to all of our customers. Order yours from the LeadLine either online or by calling 503-988-4000.

What is the Portland Water Bureau doing?

In Portland, the primary source of exposure to lead is from lead-based paint and dust. However, lead may be present in tap water, especially in homes built between 1970 and 1985. The main source of lead in water in the Portland area is household plumbing. Lead is rarely found in regular testing from the Bull Run Watershed. There are also no known lead water mains or service lines in the drinking water distribution system.  To reduce the amount of lead that enters the water from home plumbing, the Water Bureau adjusts the pH of the water, which can reduce the presence of lead in tap water by more than half.

What can you do?

Follow some easy steps to avoid possible exposure to lead from plumbing, including:

  • Avoid using water that has been standing in your household pipes for cooking, drinking, and making baby formula. When a faucet is not used for several hours, run the cold water tap until the water feels noticeably colder (about 30 seconds to 2 minutes), which brings in fresh water from the distribution mains. 
  • Consider using a filter: Check whether it removes lead. Not all filters do.
  • Consider buying low-lead fixtures. As of January, 2014 all pipes, fittings and fixtures are required to contain less than 0.25% lead. When buying new fixtures, consumers should seek out those with the lowest lead content.

To learn more about all lead hazards, order a FREE lead-in-water test kit, find locations for FREE blood lead level screening for children, or learn more about other lead poisoning prevention resources in the Portland area, contact the Multnomah County Health Department LeadLine at 503-988-4000 or

Sarah Messier
Water Quality Information

TRAFFIC ADVISORY 02/12/15: Water Bureau Installs Large Piping Connections on SE 68th at SE Division Street, Traffic Routed Around Work Between SE 66th and SE 69th Avenues

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A contractor for the Portland Water Bureau is currently installing large piping connections on SE 68th Avenue at SE Division Street. The work requires that one eastbound lane on SE Division Street be routed around the work zone, between SE 66th and SE 69th avenues, while under construction.

Traffic on SE 68th Avenue, between SE Division and Mt. Tabor Park is open to local access only. Detour signs are posted and sidewalks remain open for pedestrians.

The new piping is part of the water system improvements required to connect two of the city’s large water conduits to the Westside supply line. The first conduit was connected in March 2014 on Southeast 67th Avenue. The second conduit is being connected now, as only one conduit can be worked on at one time.

Typically, work hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. This work is slated for completion in spring 2015. Motorists are encouraged to find alternate routes.

Terry Black
Public Information

Washington Park Reservoir Project Initial Land Use Review Application Complete; Public Comment Period Open & Hearing Scheduled

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Request for ResponseIn 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 December 2014, the Water Bureau submitted the first of two Land Use Review (LUR) applications (Type IV) to the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services (BDS) for the proposed Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project.

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.

On February 9, 2015, BDS deemed the initial Type IV LUR application complete and issued a “Request for Response.” The Request for Response officially opens the public comment period and includes dates of upcoming public hearings.

Public Comment Period Open

The public is now invited to review and submit comments on the Water Bureau’s initial Type IV LUR application.

A copy of the land use application submitted to BDS will be posted on the Water Bureau’s project webpage at Note that BDS maintains the official application record, which tracks updates and revisions over time.

Comments received by Monday, March 9, will be part of the official record and included in the staff report presented during the upcoming Historic Landmarks Commission public hearing. Comments can be e‑mailed to, faxed to 503-823-5630, or mailed to the below address. Please reference Land Use Review number LU 14-249689 in any communications.

Hillary Adam 
Land Use Services, Bureau of Development Services
RE: LU 14-249689
1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 4500
Portland, OR 97201

Public comments after March 9 can be mailed to the Historic Landmarks Commission at 1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 4500, Portland, OR 97201 or faxed to 503-823-5630.

Testify at Public Hearings

A Historic Landmarks Commission public hearing will be held on Monday, March 23 at 1:30 p.m. on the second floor of 1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Conference Room 2500A.

During the hearing, the Commission will listen to public testimony and review the initial Type IV LUR application and staff report that includes mailed, faxed, or e-mailed public comments. After the hearing, the Commission will forward a letter with recommendations to the Portland City Council.

The City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Thursday, April 23 to make the final decision on the initial LUR application.
The Water Bureau will post signage along the perimeter of Washington Park that includes the official notification of the two scheduled public hearings.

Next Steps

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 comments 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 LUR applications must be approved. This includes the initial Type IV LUR application and the Type III LUR application package.

The LUR applications are a result of a robust public involvement process that included multiple public open houses and nine Community Sounding Board (CSB) meetings that guided design for the required visible features of the Washington Park project.

Project Details

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 basin and the slope to the west are needed to provide landslide abatement; the slope will be restored to its pre-reservoir condition. Reservoir 4 will be disconnected from the public drinking water system and a lowland habitat area/bioswale and a reflecting pool are also proposed in the Reservoir 4 basin. Work will primarily be within the Historic District.

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

Additional Information & Contacts

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