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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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Happy National Engineers Week! Get to Know Dan, a Water Bureau Civil Engineer

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This week, the Portland Water Bureau is celebrating National Engineer Week by highlighting our engineers in their own words.

Meet Dan, a Civil Engineer and native Minnesotan who’s been with the Water Bureau for more than 10 years.

Tell us a little about your background and what made you want to choose engineering as a career.

I have Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota. The first eight years of my career were primarily focused on geotechnical engineering. I was then hired by the Water Bureau, where I have worked for the past 10 years.

My first interest in engineering came from my grandpa who was a Civil Engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. As I progressed through my schooling I enjoyed sciences and mathematics courses.  The progression into engineering was natural.

Measuring landslide movement of the Washington Park LandslideDescribe your typical day. What do engineers eat for breakfast? What do you do as soon as you get to the office? What takes up most of your time?

My typical workday includes a bowl of either oatmeal or yogurt with granola, both with fresh fruit. A review of emails and a to-do task list is generally made during my breakfast. This winter, a lot of my time has been given to looking at landslides and determining if there is a risk to our water system. Otherwise, my day is spent assisting our construction management team for the Washington Park Reservoir Improvement Project. This includes answering requests for information and responding to submittals.

What has been one of your favorite projects to work on?

That would be the Washington Park Reservoirs Improvement Project which is currently under construction. I have been working on this project since 2009. During the planning phase, I managed the preliminary geotechnical investigation. During the design phase, I was a co-project manager with Jerry Moore. I am currently a design liaison to the construction management team.

How has the industry changed since you began your career?

The use of technology has become a huge part of day-to-day work. As a young engineer, I often performed the majority of calculations by hand. Computers where utilized to some extent but were slow and challenging calculations often froze programs. Today, one can perform thousands of calculation in a matter of seconds.

When I first started my career, one generally communicated with others outside of the office once a day either by telephone or email. But today, we communicate numerous times per day through a variety of means: telephones, cells phones, text messages, email, conference calls, and video meetings. With that said, the one thing that has not changed is that the best path to becoming a good engineer is experience over time.

What attributes does a successful engineer have?

Being able to communicate to a wide variety of people is essential. It is not only engineers that you will be working with on any given project. A typical project will require interacting with members of the public, neighborhood associations, Water Bureau operations groups, contractors and environmental permitting agencies.

Stella, Dan's family pupWhat do you love about working at the Water Bureau?

I take pride in being a part of an organization that provides quality water to the public. I have been fortunate to be able to work on the new Powell Butte, Kelly Butte, and Washington Park reservoirs.

What is one piece of advice that you have for someone entering your field now?

Work on your people skills. Building relationships and the ability to work with others will be the key to a successful career in engineering. Typical interactions will not be limited to other engineers, but will include members of the public, contractors, planners, regulators and even politicians.

What is your favorite pasttime?

Anything outdoors. I am an avid snowboarder and I enjoy hiking, camping, and surfing.

Family and/or pets? What are their ages and/or names?

I have been married for over 14 years to my wife, Melissa, and we have an 8-year-old daughter, Josie.  We also have a golden retriever named Stella.

Join Us at This Saturday's Fix-It Fair at Madison High School

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Water Bureau employee at the Fix-It FairThe Portland Water Bureau is a proud sponsor of the City of Portland’s Fix-It Fairs.

A Fix-It Fair is a free event with exhibits and workshops that cover topics including water and energy savings, food and nutrition, recycling, home weatherization, gardening and growing food, yard care and composting, and transportation.

Attendees can also sign up for a free lead in water test kit, enjoy a free lunch, get free professional childcare, and enter to win hourly door prizes. Visit the Portland Water Bureau’s table to get money-saving water tips and information on how you can protect your home plumbing during these last chilly days of winter.

Fix-It Fairs are presented by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability with support from the Energy Trust of Oregon, Pacific Power, the Portland Water Bureau, KUNP Univision, and KBOO.

Look for the Portland Water Bureau at the next Fix-It Fair! Information is below.

Date: Saturday, Feb. 25
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Location: Madison High School, 2735 NE 82nd Ave., Portland

For more information about Fix-It Fairs, visit

March Water Quality Trivia

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Glass of waterWhich of the following actions will help you maintain high quality drinking water inside your own home?

  1. Clean faucet screens (aerators) a few times per year at kitchen and bathroom faucets.
  2. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water faucet.  Use cold water and heat the water as needed.
  3. If a faucet has not been used for several hours, run the cold water for 30 seconds to two minutes before using it for drinking or cooking.
  4. Install a backflow device on your irrigation system to prevent backflow contamination to your potable water supply.


All of the above.

Ensuring the delivery of high quality water is a shared responsibility between the Portland Water Bureau and our customers. The Water Bureau monitors and maintains the drinking water system up to and including the water meter. Beyond the water meter into the house is the responsibility of the customer.

Water Quality Questions or Concerns

Contact the Portland Water Bureau’s Water Line at 503-823-7525. The Water Line is available 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

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How to Read Your Sewer, Stormwater, and Water Bill

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Base charges. CCF. Water volume. Whether you’re a residential or commercial water customer, the first step in changing the way you use water – and saving money by reducing your usage -- is by understanding how much water you use today. And the best place to find this information is on your monthly water bill.

So what does it all mean?

Fortunately, you don’t need an advanced degree or decoder ring to become the master of your water bill. Use our helpful brochure titled “Understanding Your Sewer, Stormwater, and Water Bill” to get the information you need to understand the different charges and usage information on your bill.

Click here to view the brochure.

More Ways to Understand Your Bill and Conserve Water

Discover more ways to understand your bill and find resources to conserve water and save money by using the links below.

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Join Our Team: Electrical/Instrumentation Systems Supervisor and Operating Engineer II

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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.

Current Opportunities at the Water Bureau

Position   Emp. Type   Salary   Closing Date/Time Join Our Team 
Electrical/Instrumentation Systems Supervisor  Full Time  $6,422.00 - $8,630.00 Monthly

Mon. 3/24/17 4:30 PM Pacific Time

 Apply Here!
Operating Engineer II Full Time $25.05 - $32.37 Hourly

Thurs. 3/17/17 4:30 PM Pacific Time

Apply Here!

All completed applications for this position must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. on the closing date and hour of this recruitment. E-mailed and/or faxed applications will not be accepted.

Learn More About the Water Bureau


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