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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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Fall To Do: Keep Your Water Meter Accessible and Clear of Debris

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Every day, a Water Bureau meter reader will visit more than 500 meters. Keeping the meter area clean and clear helps them do their job safely and efficiently. Unfortunately, if your meter is obstructed by objects such as cars, trailers, trash and recycling bins, and landscape bark or gravel, a meter reader will have to return to do their job.

So what happens if a meter reader can't properly access your meter?

First, you'll receive a reminder in the mail asking you to check your meter. If your meter continues to be inaccessible, you may be charged a fee if staff needs to return to re-read or if we need to hire someone to remove the obstruction.

By keeping your meter box clear, you can avoid this charge. Additionally, a clear box makes it easy to ensure that the lid fits properly, is safe, and can be quickly turned off in an emergency.

Make some time over the long holiday weekend to check your meter and follow these tips for keeping it free and clear.

Clear Away Trees, Bushes, and Plantings

  • Trim bushes, trees and grass that block the way or cover the meter.
  • Minimize plants in the area which meter readers must travel through to get to your meter.
  • Remove all branches hanging lower than six feet over the meter box.

Watch Your Pets

  • Keep pets away from the path that leads to your meter.
  • If you have a guard dog for security, please let us know so that we can make sure that our meter readers and other utility personnel are aware of this. We may ask that you arrange to confine the dog during the day that your meter will be read.

Please also ensure your house address is clearly displayed on your residence. This also assists emergency personnel who may need to find your home in a hurry.

More Information

Click here for additional information about water meters or contact Customer Service at 503-823-7770.

How the Water Bureau Is Working to Help Customers in Need

For more than twenty years, the Portland Water Bureau has been one of the few utilities in the nation to offer a low-income financial assistance program.

Presentation:Low-Income Services – Proposed Enhancements

Portland Water Bureau:
Low-Income Services – Proposed Enhancements

View a working draft of the presentation.

And, in the next few months, more low-income Portlanders will benefit from improvements the bureau is proposing to that program.

That's because today, the Water Bureau is meeting with the Portland Utility Board’s (PUB) Subcommittee on Low-Income Services to present a draft of proposed enhancements to its financial assistance services. The proposals are designed to strengthen the bureau’s existing menu of utility bill assistance services in response to a changing Portland.

A few of the improvements include:

  • Creating a larger discount for households in poverty
  • Increasing the value of the existing crisis voucher
  • Designing a new financial assistance program to help renters in crisis in multi-family units

These changes are in alignment with the recent City Auditor’s review of the bureau’s financial assistance program and thoughtful recommendations on helping more low-income Portlanders pay their water, sewer, and stormwater bills.

Thank You to Our Community Partners

Age-Friendly Cities • AARP
Elders in Action • Latino Network
Self Enhancement Inc. • Human Solutions
El Programa Hispano
IRCO Asian Family Center • NAYA
Impact Northwest • Neighborhood House
Independent Living Resources

Working Together to Reach More Customers in Need

These financial assistance improvements are the result of close collaboration between the Water Bureau and its community partners.

Thank you to our community partners for working alongside bureau staff to figure out ways to reach more Portlanders.

What’s Next?

Following today’s presentation to the PUB subcommittee, the bureau will present the proposals to the full utility board on Dec. 5 for further review.

6 Reasons We’re Thankful This Year

With Thanksgiving almost here, we want to take a few minutes before we begin hogging all the turkey (or tofurkey) to share some of the reasons why we’re thankful this holiday season.

Why are you thankful? Share your reasons with us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

1. The bounty and wealth of our water system: Bull Run and the Columbia South Shore Well Field.

Bull Run Watershed Columbia South Shore Well Field

The Bull Run Watershed and Columbia South Shore Well Field are where Portland gets it drinking water. Together, they produced a whopping 34.1 billion gallons of drinking water from 2015 to 2016. That’s a lot to be thankful for!

2. Rain or shine, our beautiful Bull Run.

Bull Run Reservoir 1

Bull Run Reservoir 1 is never a disappointment, even on a rainy day.

3. A water supply that produces water AND electricity.

Hydroelectric power plant

On an average day, Reservoirs 1 and 2 serve up about 100 million gallons of water to residents across the Portland metro area.

But before water flows from Bull Run into town to provide water to homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses, it does double duty, generating enough electricity to service an average of 8,000 homes for a year.

4. Living in a city that values our history and prepares for the future.

Mt Tabor Historic Reservoir Willamette River Crossing

From historical preservation at Mt. Tabor to the Willamette River Crossing – a seismic upgrade project designed to keep water flowing downtown in the event of an earthquake – we’re keeping one eye on the past and another toward the future. Because we don’t just work here, we live here, too.

5. Our dedicated employees.

From our call center specialists to our civil engineers, Water Bureau employees are working hard behind computer screens and in front of backhoes to keep water flowing to nearly a million people, and over 14,000 fire hydrants, across the Portland area.

Winter is known as “main break” season to our Maintenance and Construction crews. That’s because cold weather can cause old water pipes to bust, sending water into streets and sidewalks.

This winter, protect your home’s plumbing from cold weather and be our eyes and ears if you spot water in the street.

6. You, our customers.

Yep, we’ve saved the best for last.

We are thankful for you –  our customers and our neighbors – who put their trust in us to deliver high-quality water, day in and day out.

Thank you for your continued trust. We’re committed to continue our work to keep a clean supply of water flowing to your homes and businesses.

Share Your Attitude of Gratitude

This Thanksgiving, tell us what you’re thankful for. Share your gratitude on Facebook and Twitter.

Join Our Team: Water Quality Inspector II

Are you interested in putting your skills to work at an award-winning public utility?

The Portland Water Bureau is hiring a Water Quality Inspector II for its Operations Division.

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.

Current Opportunity at the Water Bureau

Position   Term   Salary   Closing Date/Time Join Our Team 
Water Quality Operator II Full-time $26.31–$34.01 Hourly Mon. 12/22/17 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time  Apply Here!

Learn More About the Water Bureau


For more information regarding career opportunities at the Water Bureau, contact (503) 823-3515 or e-mail.

Nov. 28, 2017: Cryptosporidium Monitoring Update

Water Bureau scientist examines water sampleOn Nov. 27, Portland Water Bureau received results for Cryptosporidium, a potentially disease-causing microorganism as part of ongoing monitoring from the Bull Run Watershed intake. One Cryptosporidium oocyst was detected from a 50-liter sample on Nov. 22. Cryptosporidium was last detected from the Bull Run Watershed intake on Nov. 8, 2017.

The bureau continues to use the Bull Run as its primary source of drinking water. The Portland Water Bureau does not currently treat for Cryptosporidium, but is required to do so and is working to install treatment. At this time, customers are not being asked to take any additional precautions.

About Cryptosporidium

Exposure to Cryptosporidium can cause cryptosporidiosis, a serious illness. Symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and stomach pain. People with healthy immune systems recover without medical treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with severely weakened immune systems are at risk for more serious disease. Symptoms may be more severe and could lead to serious or life-threatening illness. Examples of people with weakened immune systems include those with AIDS; those with inherited diseases that affect the immune system; and cancer and transplant patients who are taking certain immunosuppressive drugs.

EPA has estimated that a small percentage of the population could experience gastro-intestinal illness from Cryptosporidium and advises that customers who are immunocompromised and receive their drinking water from the Bull Run Watershed consult with their healthcare professional about the safety of drinking the tap water. The Portland Water Bureau and Burlington, City of Gresham, City of Sandy, City of Tualatin, Green Valley, GNR, Hideaway Hills, Lake Grove, Lorna Portland Water, Lusted, Palatine Hill, Pleasant Home, Raleigh, Rockwood, Skyview Acres, Tualatin Valley, Two Rivers, Valley View and West Slope Water Districts receive all or part of their drinking water supply from the Bull Run. To learn if your drinking water comes from Bull Run, please contact your local drinking water provider.

Public health surveillance during and after a similar series of low-level detections from January through March of this year did not see an increase in Cryptosporidium-related illness.

Water Sampling Results

The public and the media are encouraged to view all sampling results posted to the City’s website at The bureau will notify the media and public immediately should further test results indicate a risk to public health and precautions are necessary.

Water Quality Information

Customers with questions regarding water quality can call the Water Line at 503-823-7525.