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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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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

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