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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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Sept. 11 Update on the Eagle Creek Fire and Bull Run Watershed

Eagle Creek Fire Updates Sept 11th

Incident Command, the lead agency in fighting the Eagle Creek Fire, tells us that as of Sept. 11, 2017, based on infrared imagery data from the early morning of Sept. 11, the fire has burned approximately 100 to 150 acres inside the Bull Run Management Unit, but not inside the actual Bull Run watershed. This is less than one percent of the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit.

Protecting the Bull Run remains a top priority of the fire response. At this time, the fire is not near the drinking water reservoirs or water supply infrastructure. Water from the Bull Run continues to be safe to drink. 

Unified Command notified the bureau today that firefighters have surveyed the southern and southwestern boundary of the fire closely Sunday evening to get a closer look at the approximately 100—150 acres that have burned within the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit. All indications show that area is currently mostly smoldering or burning with very low intensity.

Unified Incident Command has established firelines along existing road systems within the northern edge of the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit along the southern flank of the fire. “Firelines are constructed to prevent fire growth and to minimize impacts to values at risk,” said Beale Monday, Operations Section Chief, Southwest Incident Management Team 2. The bureau is managing watershed gates to provide access to firefighters.

Unified Command will continue to monitor the area as the weather shifts through Tuesday to lower humidity and occasional gusts of up to 25 mph from the east.

Water quality monitoring continues in the Bull Run and the water remains safe to drink. Only essential duties are being carried out within the watershed this week. Very few people have essential duties within the watershed this week. Those staff have already been notified.

Please take a look at the Water Bureau’s Frequently Asked Questions, which posted yesterday and continue to be updated. 

What Do Pirates and Groundwater Have in Common?

Aquifer Adventure

Buried treasure!

Columbia South Shore Well FieldGroundwater from the Columbia South Shore Well Field is an important part of the drinking water supply for Portland and the metro region. Groundwater helps meet higher summer water demands and provides drinking water during emergencies or when Portland’s primary water source, the Bull Run Watershed, is not available. The well field also makes Portland’s water system resilient in the face of drought and climate uncertainty.

This question is asked every year at Aquifer Adventure, a family festival that celebrates both pirates and an important drinking water resource. This annual event, now in its 14th year, focuses on groundwater protection and water conservation, including tips and tools for use at home as well as fun activities for all ages.

Co-sponsored by the Portland Water Bureau and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, Aquifer Adventure will be held on Saturday, September 16, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The free, all-ages festival will feature hands-on activities including a treasure hunt and tasty aquifer ice cream. What the heck is aquifer ice cream? You’ll have to find out for yourself!

Participants can also enjoy the wooded trail along the Columbia Slough before joining a canoeing tour of the slough. With its long reach of water trails, mountain views, and diverse wildlife, the slough is a vital asset to the community.

Aquifer Adventure is held each year at the Portland Water Bureau canoe launch at NE 166th Avenue and Airport Way in Portland. All activities at the event are free, and food items will be available for purchase.

Pirate dress, pirate lingo, and pirate swagger are highly encouraged.

Date: Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Cost: Free! No registration is required.
Location: Portland Water Bureau Canoe Launch at NE 166th and Airport Way, Portland, OR, 97230 (follow signs for parking)
Additional Information: Available at

Sept. 12 Update on the Eagle Creek Fire and Bull Run Watershed

September 12th Eagle Creek Fire Updates

The fire perimeter near the Bull Run did not change substantially overnight. The Eagle Creek Fire is 11 percent contained.

As of Sept. 12, 2017, based on infrared imagery data from today, the fire has burned approximately 100 to 150 acres inside the Bull Run Management Unit. The fire has not entered the actual Bull Run watershed drainage area. Current estimates tell us that less than one percent of the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit has been burned at the northern edge. The Bull Run reservoirs and water supply infrastructure are not near the areas that are currently estimated to have been burned. Protecting the Bull Run is a top priority of the fire response.

Based on this data, the Portland Water Bureau has developed an updated fire perimeter map. Please check the map periodically for updates to the fire perimeter in relation to the Bull Run watershed.

The Water Bureau continues to monitor turbidity (measurement of sediment suspended in the water) in the Bull Run water source. These measurements continue to show low turbidity levels. The water continues to be safe to drink. In past fires near the watershed, falling ash did not have a measurable impact on turbidity. The bureau has not found any measurable water quality differences since the fire started. The bureau is planning for additional monitoring to further investigate any effects of the fire on water quality.  Results for the additional monitoring are expected back next week.

Weather will continue to be closely monitored for the next 48 hours as conditions continue to be dry and windy. The forecast for late Thursday, into Friday, shows a likelihood of west to east winds and the possibility of showers. There’s hope for more substantial precipitation nearly next week.

Keep referring to the Portland Water Bureau’s Frequently Asked Questions, which will be updated as new information becomes available.