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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.

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Get to Know Your Watershed at Slough 101

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Slough 101 Workshop

Saturday, March 12
9 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Water Pollution
Control Lab
6543 N. Burlington Ave.
Portland, OR 97203

Join the Columbia Slough Watershed Council on Saturday, Mar. 12 for Slough 101, a FREE workshop about the Columbia Slough watershed and its unique story.

Sponsored by the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services, Slough 101 covers local history, water, wildlife, and current issues in the watershed.

Explore watershed health, environmental issues, and recreation opportunities in North and Northeast Portland, Gresham, and Fairview, and participate in hands-on groundwater activities, water quality testing, and macroinvertebrate (aka: stream critters) identification.

Light refreshments will be provided. The workshop is suitable for adults and teens, age 14 and older.

Pre-registration is required. Register online or call 503-281-1132.

For more information, visit the Columbia Slough Watershed Council’s Activities and Events webpage.

The Columbia Slough is a 60-mile long remnant of lakes, wetlands, and slow-moving channels in the southern floodplain of the Columbia River. Today the 40,000 acre watershed contains 24,000 homes, 4,500 businesses, and is home to 1/10 of all the jobs in Oregon. The region’s secondary water source, the Columbia South Shore Well Field, also lies deep below the eastern half of the watershed. 

As habitats are modified throughout the Portland metropolitan region and the entire Northwest, the Slough’s importance as a component of our regional system of greenspaces grows. The Slough is one of the largest urban waterways contained wholly within the metropolitan urban growth boundary. This vast ribbon of habitat and open space can be explored by foot, bicycle or canoe and kayak.

The Slough and its watershed represent an irreplaceable resource, both for the region and for north and northeast Portland, Gresham, Fairview, Troutdale, and Wood Village. Learn more here.

Maintaining Critical Valves at Pump Station and Tank Sites

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Operating engineers exercise a critical gate valve a pump station and tank in southeast Portland.

The Portland Water Bureau's Operations Group and Asset Management Team are proud to report on a new Critical Valve Maintenance Program for the Water Bureau’s pump station and tank sites.

Valves are a critical part of the Water Bureau’s distribution system. While some valves are operated routinely as part of tank cleanings and pump maintenance, other valves are not exercised as often. This information led Operations staff to work closely with Asset Management, GIS, and CADD groups to develop a strategic approach to operate and maintain the valves that are critical to our operations.

The goals of the Critical Valve Maintenance program include: 

  • Identifying and operating all of our critical pump station/tank valves
  • Creating a standard and accurate facility site plan for each site
  • Updating the GIS system with accurate data
  • Documenting critical valve condition assessment records

The process of defining the program goals, identifying critical valves, and creating a standard template for facility site drawings began a couple of years ago. Most of the planning effort has been completed. The Operations Group has now created a special operations field team to lead the field efforts of this program. The team is now in the process of locating critical valves in the field, verifying final site drawings for accuracy, operating each critical valve fully open/closed, documenting each valve’s condition, and creating corrective maintenance work orders for any valves in need of repair.

This program has targeted critical valves at 65 pump station and tank sites. Each of these sites has numerous valves, such as tank isolation valves and pump control valves. The goal is to operate the critical valves at each of these sites at least once every seven years, or nine sites annually. With upwards of 20 valves per site, this workload equates to hundreds of critical valves being operated each year.

To date, the team has completed two pump station/tank sites and operated 46 critical valves. In addition, the facility site drawings have been finalized and GIS revisions have been completed for these sites.

Chief Engineer Teresa Elliott Named 2016 Newsmaker

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Portland Water Bureau’s Chief Engineer Teresa Elliott was honored today as a “2016 Newsmaker” by the Daily Journal of Commerce. She was selected as a person helping to build our city in 2016. Teresa was named the Water Bureau’s first woman Chief Engineer in August. She is the City of Portland’s second woman Chief Engineer.

Teresa demonstrated her commitment to developing community-based solutions when she worked closely with a group of passionate neighbors during her oversight of the Water Bureau’s open reservoir disconnection project. In November, she accepted the Spirit of Portland Award on behalf of the Water Bureau for outstanding dedication to positive change in our community, jointly with the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association. Commissioner Amanda Fritz nominated the Portland Water Bureau and the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association for this award, recognizing their success in negotiating an agreement on disconnecting the open reservoirs in Mt. Tabor Park. The open reservoirs at Mt. Tabor were taken offline by the Dec. 31, 2015 deadline.  

As Chief Engineer, Teresa oversees a team of 125 engineers and support staff. Teresa’s passion, which brought her to the Water Bureau in 1996, is her vision for a seismically resilient water system. Teresa was on one of the two Water Bureau teams who went to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to help put their water system back together. That experience and a long career in overseeing projects that fortify our infrastructure locally and abroad, have helped the Portland Water Bureau earn a reputation as a statewide leader in seismic resilience work.

Teresa discussed her passion for earthquake preparedness and the Water Bureau’s upcoming projects on a recent episode of Think Out Loud titled Earthquake-Proofing Portland's Water on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Congratulations, Teresa! We can’t wait to see what you will do next.

Water Quality Trivia

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Under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Total Coliform Rule (TCR), all public water systems are required to test treated water throughout the distribution system for the presence of total coliform bacteria.  Which of the following statements is false?

- Coliform bacteria are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indicator that other potentially-harmful bacteria may be present in the water.

- The Portland Water Bureau collects routine TCR samples from 90 sampling stations throughout the City of Portland.

- Water is collected and analyzed from each sampling station once per month.

C is false. Of the 90 routine TCR sampling stations, 74 are tested every other week, 15 are tested weekly, and one (1) is tested four (4) days per week.  On average, around 235 samples are collected each month.

We're Here to Help!
For questions regarding water quality or water pressure, contact us Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by phone or e-mail:

UPDATE -- TRAFFIC ADVISORY 03/08/16: SE 49th Avenue Between SE Salmon & SE Hawthorne Streets Closed to Through Traffic Due to Water Main Work

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MARCH 9, 2016

While the Portland Water Bureau was working on a water main improvement project this morning on SE 49th Avenue between Southeast Salmon and Southeast Hawthorne streets, water pressure in the surrounding neighborhood was temporarily affected.

The situation is now resolved and the Water Bureau apologizes for any inconvenience.

Please note that approximately 29 households and one apartment complex are out of water service until 4 p.m. today, Mar. 9, 2016 while work is being completed. Affected residents have been notified.

Water Bureau staff is available to answer questions and concerns about water quality or pressure. Please contact the Water Line from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, at 503-823-7525 or If you have an emergency after these hours, please contact the after-hours number at 503-823-4874.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as the Portland Water Bureau works to improve the city’s century old water system.

MARCH 8, 2016

From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow, Mar. 9, 2016, Southeast 49th Avenue between Southeast Salmon and Southeast Hawthorne streets will be closed to through traffic in both directions while the Portland Water Bureau’s Maintenance & Construction crews conduct water main work.

Street closure due to water main workFlaggers will direct Southeast 49th Avenue residents safely through the project worksite. Sidewalks on Southeast 49th Avenue will remain open.

Approximately 29 households and one apartment complex will be out of water service for five to seven hours while work is completed. Affected residents have been notified.

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 project worksite.

Crews will return to the site on a future date to complete paving, which is dependent on weather.